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I'm trying to say that the item will be found in the near future, but has not been found yet. Which way of saying is correct in this context?

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A question like this would probably be better suited for English Language Learners. –  J.R. Jun 30 '13 at 14:49
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They're both correct, like any pair of sentences connected by Whiz-Deletion. –  John Lawler Jun 30 '13 at 15:16
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3 Answers 3

Neither option says anything to suggest that it "will be found in the near future", nor even that it will ever be found. Both phrases are merely referring to the lost item itself and have nothing to do with whether it might ever be found.

Having said that, both phrases are apparently correct English — but that may depend on the rest of the sentence.

You can alternatively, for example, use either of the following:

the lost item
the missing item

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The OP's examples could refer, for example, to the prize in a treasure hunt, which is neither lost nor missing; merely able to be found. –  TimLymington Jun 30 '13 at 16:22
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You might write:

The gold watch that is to be found.

That would emphasise the intent of finding a single, specific gold watch.

Whereas:

The pot of gold to be found [at the end of the rainbow].

This form is somehow more general — it applies to any pot of gold found at the end of any rainbow.

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The pot of gold that is to be found at the end of any rainbow is perfectly grammatical and means the same thing. But it's two syllables longer. –  John Lawler Jun 30 '13 at 15:15
    
Giving more time for wizards to delete the pot of gold. –  Edwin Ashworth Jun 30 '13 at 15:32
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In many contexts, you might refer to the item as mislaid...

mislay Unintentionally put (an object) where it cannot readily be found and so lose it temporarily
- I seem to have mislaid my car keys.

Words like lost, missing are okay so long as the context makes it clear do in fact you expect to find whatever it is. But to my mind only mislaid inherently implies currently lost, but will be found.

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+1 Good thought! –  TrevorD Jun 30 '13 at 18:41
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