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Hello,

Could you please help me with my English since I'm still studying it?
Suppose I am at a self-service till in a grocery store. I am scanning some grocery items until one item can't be scanned by the machine. After a short while, a customer assistance representative approaches me. I came up with the following to likely say to him/her:

A. The machine doesn't scan this one item.

B. The machine didn't scan this one item.

C. The machine is not scanning this one item.

D. The machine was not scanning this one item.

E. The machine can't scan this one item.
F. The machine couldn't scan this one item.
G. The machine is unable to scan this one item.
H. The machine was unable to scan this one item.

1. Which of the above are appropriate to say in the given situation?
2. Does the use of present tense over past tense or vice versa change the machine's ability to scan in light of then and now meaning sentence G, for example, suggests the machine is not working then and now at the time of speaking, while H suggests it was not working then but is working now at the time of speaking, considering the scenario above?
3. If you were me, what would you most likely to say among the above statements?
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Thank you for that clarification.

Sometimes I find learning English theoretically confusing because in some cases, same forms/tenses express different meanings. Well, practice makes perfect. Emotion: smile
AnonymousSuppose I am at a self-service till in a grocery store. I am scanning some grocery items until one item can't be scanned by the machine. After a short while, a customer assistance representative approaches me. I came up with the following to likely say to him/her:

A. The machine doesn't scan this one item.

B. The machine didn't scan this one item.

C. The machine is not scanning this one item.

D. The machine was not scanning this one item.

E. The machine can't scan this one item.
F. The machine couldn't scan this one item.
G. The machine is unable to scan this one item.
H. The machine was unable to scan this one item.
My previous questions on this were already answered and I'm thankful for that. I just thought of the following additional possible responses:

K. The machine won't scan this one item.

L. The machine wouldn't scan this one item.

Questions:

1. Do you think these are also appropriate response in the given scenario?
2. What's the difference in meaning between wouldn't scan& didn't scan in the context above?
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1. I would say they are both possible. The first makes a prediction about the machine's inability to scan that one item (based on the recent events). The second is about an unrealized past event.

2. When you say 'wouldn't scan', to me, this is almost like saying that the machine didn't want to scan that item.

Compare

I asked Mary for some money but she didn't give me any because she had left her purse at home.

I asked Mary for some money but she wouldn't give me any because she said she had already given me 10$ 2 days before (=she didn't give me any money because she didn't want to).
Thanks Ivanhr for your explanation. It was so kind of you.
It's perfectly clear to me now especially the difference between 'wouldn't' and 'didn't'.

I really appreciate it.
This is how I would approach the scanner problem. The phrase ".....this one item" actually creates a sense of confusion to me as an observer. Does it mean the scanner was working normally prior to that particular item?If that is the case, all answers are grammatical and possible depending on the specific context.

In any case, if I run into problem with self-serve check out scanner, I would just state the fact that the scanner doesn't work and let the store staff figure out what the real problem is. Based on this approach,then, all are possible. But I will less likely to use G, and H.
AnonymousA. The machine doesn't scan this one item.

B. The machine didn't scan this one item.

C. The machine is not scanning this one item.

D. The machine was not scanning this one item.

E. The machine can't scan this one item.
F. The machine couldn't scan this one item.
G. The machine is unable to scan this one item.
H. The machine was unable to scan this one item.

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Ivanhr2. When you say 'wouldn't scan', to me, this is almost like saying that the machine didn't want to scan that item.
Ivan,
Sometimes, literal interpreation such as your can be confusing to leaners, especially for those who do not live in an immersed English environment. We have many examples in our daily live in which we will find ourselves saying "the elevator door won't open", "the engine won't start" or "the computer won't boot up". In these context, "won't" does not mean "refusal" but "failure" to perform a normal task /routine.
IvanhrI asked Mary for some money but she wouldn't give me any because she said she had already given me 10$ 2 days before (=she didn't give me any money because she didn't want to).

In human context, you are correct; "won't" / "wouldn't" can be translated as refusal.
IvanhrWhen you say 'wouldn't scan', to me, this is almost like saying that the machine didn't want to scan that item.
Well, that's often the way it seems!

And failure to scan one item out of many doesn't usually mean the machine is broken -- it means that item wasn't coded into the system properly or perhaps the bar code is wrinkled or dirty.

Just to complicate things -- although I think all of the original choices are possible, I would usually say "This item won't scan." For reasons I can't quite explain, it seems to me that "this item won't scan" is a legitimate way to express "this item won't allow itself to be scanned." (Anyway, I say it all the time and no one has ever replied, "No, the item isn't supposed to scan -- it's supoposed to be scanned.")
In a similar way, if my computer printer is generally working correctly but I can't get it to print a specific document, I would say "this document won't print."