1

What happened last night? Trent told me you were in a really bad mood. What's going on? Why couldn't you just have (had) a good/nice evening with him?

I have two questions:

  1. Would it be more natural to include "had"?

  2. Do "good" and "nice" mean the same here? Are they equally natural here?

3
  • I'd put adverbial just in between auxiliary have and the Past Participle: Why couldn't you have just had a nice evening with him? Personally, I don't much like We've had a good evening, because it clashes with greeting / leave-taking Good evening. Jun 14 '20 at 14:43
  • ... but actually, pleasant is even more popular than nice in that context. Jun 14 '20 at 14:43
  • Does my post answer your question?
    – user116746
    Jun 14 '20 at 15:08
1

Would it be more natural to include "had"?

Why couldn't you just have a good/nice evening with him means why could you not have a good/nice evening with him in the future.

Whereas

Why couldn't you just have had a good/nice evening with him means why could you not have a good/nice evening with him sometime in the past.


Do "good" and "nice" mean the same here? Are they equally natural here?

A nice evening sounds more natural and grammatically correct than a good evening.

3
  • So the one with "had" is the more natural choice here?
    – ertariga
    Jun 14 '20 at 15:13
  • @ertariga depends on what you want to say. If you want the past tense, then add 'had'. Otherwise, leave it out.
    – user116746
    Jun 14 '20 at 15:21
  • @ertariga please accept my answer if it answered your question satisfactorily.
    – user116746
    Jun 15 '20 at 7:31

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