General Writing and Grammar Help/I have looked______

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Question
Dear Ted:

Do the following sentences sound good English?

I have looked up many dictionaries but I have not found the meaning of the word "XYZ."

I have looked in many dictionaries but I have not found the meaning of the word "XYZ."

If not, would you please rephrase them for me?

Also, would you please give me some alternatives?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

This will be the last question I will answer today .. . and maybe tomorrow.  The weather is getting very bad.  We are in the midst of a blizzard.

*******

I have looked up many dictionaries but I have not found the meaning of the word "XYZ."

**** NO.  Do not use the first one.  You have NOT looked up dictionaries.  You have looked for a WORD in dictionaries.

I have looked in many dictionaries but I have not found the meaning of the word "XYZ."

*** This sentence is correct.


If not, would you please rephrase them for me?

Also, would you please give me some alternatives?

ALTERNATIVES:

If your looking is now over, put the sentence into the past tense.  I looked in many dictionaries but did not find the meaning of the word "XYZ."

After checking in several dictionaries, I am still unable to define the word "XYZ."  [That's because it was not there.]

Ted

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

Experience

I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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