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I had to write a letter and I wrote the sentence:

For not been able to come to your birthday

Is this sentence wrong?

Is this version right/better:

For not being able to come to your birthday

English is not my native language. Thank you in advance

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Feb 2 '17 at 23:12

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Both sentences are missing something. Try this: "Sorry for not being able to come to your birthday." Or, "For not being able to come to your birthday, I blame myself alone."

The second version has a question mark but not the sense of being a question: "For ... birthday?" Try: "What do I owe you for ... birthday?"

Perhaps you needed to explain your letter by putting a note on the envelope, or the subject line of your email message. Then the fragment sets up your reason for the letter. It would be as though you are answering the question "Why do I need to apologize? "Because I missed your party."

  • I think that the punctuation there wasn't intended to be part of the second sentence, so my edit has affected this answer. – ColleenV Feb 2 '17 at 23:19
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The first sentence is incorrect. The second is correct, or you could say: For not HAVING BEEN able to come to your birthday.

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The first sentence is purely wrong while the second one sounds unfinished. The second sentence needs a subject: "I am sorry for not being able to come to your birthday"

However, there are many other ways to say it:

  • I'm sorry for not coming to your birthday.
  • I'm sorry I couldn't come to your birthday.

Instead of "I'm sorry" and "come" you can use synonyms:

  • Forgive me for not being able to be there at your birthday party.
  • I apologies for not being able to attend your birthday party.
  • Unfortunately, I couldn't celebrate your birthday with you. I'm sorry.

You can also intensify:

  • I'm deeply sorry that I couldn't come to your birthday.
  • I'm so sorry that I couldn't join the birthday party.

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