"I don't have the car tomorrow."

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My friend and colleague doesn't have a car but he often uses his dad's car; so when he drives to work he most frequently picks me up and we go together.

Last night he texted me and said: "I don't have the car tomorrow so I can't pick you up. See you at work."

I believe something is wrong with the first sentence and wonder what a native speaker of English says to mean "I don't have the car tomorrow"?

M.N

Posted 2015-03-05T15:05:45.020

Reputation: 1 595

1There's nothing wrong with it as far as this native speaker is concerned. Consider "I don't have the time tomorrow". – user8543 – 2015-03-05T15:14:22.247

1I say that all the time. My husband and I share a car. – Catija – 2015-03-05T15:18:03.137

generally if a native speaker texts you something you don't understand, you should assume they did not make a mistake. nearly all native speakers have mastered conversational english. – user428517 – 2015-03-05T18:21:25.167

@sgroves It is possible that the OP's friend is not a native English speaker. It could just be the language common between them. – Catija – 2015-03-05T21:27:55.093

wow, for some reason i thought OP mentioned his friend was a native speaker. my mistake. – user428517 – 2015-03-05T22:05:45.007

@sgroves: My friend and I are both non-native speakers of English. – M.N – 2015-03-07T19:28:14.600

As a native speaker, it took me a while to figure out why I might not say "I don't have the car tomorrow." But @sgroves should bear in mind that I still might text him something like "I dont;' hsave the car tomorow" - while I have indeed long since mastered conversational English, keyboarding often eludes my clumsy fingers. – Evelyn – 2015-03-18T08:15:51.117

Answers

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I like user8543's analogy with "I don't have the time tomorrow". In this case you're seeing the present tense being used to talk about a schedule. Here's a slightly longer example which I hope provides some of the intuition for that usage.

My wife and I share a car. She has the car on Mondays and Wednesdays, and I have the car on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tomorrow is Wednesday, so I don't have the car.

You could also imagine a conversation like:

  • Q: I'm going to need the car tomorrow, is that OK?
  • A: Yes, you can have the car tomorrow.

RuslanD

Posted 2015-03-05T15:05:45.020

Reputation: 2 122

The last part is pretty much the conversation we have every day. – Catija – 2015-03-05T21:29:21.337