Chrome's webpage not found page (I'm running 39.0.2171.13 beta), says "this wepage is not found":

An image of a web page with a bitmap image of a piece of paper with a frown, with text saying, "This webpage is not found", followed underneath by the word "Details", which is underlined.

This seems wrong to me. I would say, "this webpage could not be found". "Is not found" seems to each page is always in one of two states, found or not found, and this one is in the latter, which is a fairly strange, if not completely incorrect way of thinking about things.

Is this actually wrong, or am I just used to seeing the alternate phrase from other browsers?

  • I tried clicking on "details" hoping to find a clue to the answer, but it does not respond to my clicking. Jest kiddin. – Blessed Geek Oct 15 '14 at 20:52
  • I agree it’s a clumsy phrasing. Had they used the past tense (a past passive it would have been, then), it would have made more sense, since it would then mean that the browser looked, but did not find. “This” is a strange word to use, too—obviously, if the website you were looking for was not found, then the page you’re reading isn’t the website you were looking for. “This website” by definition would mean the generic 404 page you’re currently reading, which is obviously to be found—you’re currently reading it! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 15 '14 at 21:01
  • "The IP address you have dialed cannot be reached at this time. Please hang up and try again." – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 15 '14 at 21:05
  • Does a network state change cause Chrome to retry loading the page? I thought it does on certain network events and if so, is works just fine for me. – guifa Oct 15 '14 at 23:01

I tend to agree with you.

For various reasons 'This Web Page is not found' is not suitable.

I would say 'This web page could not be found'.

My second choice would be 'This web page has not been found'.

'This web page is not found' means almost the same thing but seems to have an air of greater finality about it - almost like saying 'it does not exist'.

But these are just the finely nuanced interpretations of a native speaker and not necessarily logically implied by the grammar.


In my experience "could not be", "cannot be" and possibly "was not" seem like better phrases than "is not" in this context. They all imply past tense -we tried looking, but couldn't find it-, whereas "is not" somehow seems to imply that the browser may still be looking for the requested page (at least, it does to me), which it clearly isn't. Actually, even then I would be more inclined to go with "is not being found" over "is not found".

Consider this: "It is there" - present tense, the item is still there. "It was there" - past tense, the item is no longer there.

However, that's just my personal experience, and I'm not entirely sure whether or not "is not found" would really be grammatically incorrect.


You have to accept the validity of past-participles as state descriptors.

  • G-d is not found. He is sought.
  • The gang leader was not killed that day. The man is not killed. He is alive.
  • The house was not painted last week. The house is not painted.
  • The room is not dirty. It is not cleaned.
  • The child was not vaccinated last week. The child is not vaccinated still.
  • A couple of points: 1) In some of these examples you're choosing to interpret adjectival forms as past participles; 2) You're ignoring the overriding criterion of idiomaticity in the context of this specific situation. The fact remains that no native speaker would prefer "This webpage is not found" to a formulation like "The web page you are seeking cannot be found"; 3) I don't think all your examples are idiomatic either. For instance, most native speakers would not say "The house is not painted" (unless it had never been painted), but "The house has not been painted". – – Erik Kowal Oct 16 '14 at 2:46
  • I have a new house. The house is not painted. It was not painted last week, as planned. The man is on our hit-list and he is not killed. Using the "Native speaker" card ?? – Blessed Geek Oct 16 '14 at 3:24
  • So you're implying that drawing a distinction between what's idiomatic and what's non-idiomatic is just a dirty trick played by native speakers on those who aren't native speakers? Personally, I'd find that rather a difficult position to defend. – Erik Kowal Oct 16 '14 at 4:47
  • ??What idiomatic?? – Blessed Geek Oct 16 '14 at 6:19
  • What's idiomatic = what is idiomatic. (I assume that's what your last comment was asking about.) – Erik Kowal Oct 16 '14 at 6:55

"That" webpage - if it were "this" then it has been found and you're reading it.

  • 1
    "That" is a very poor choice in this case. If it said "that webpage" I would ask "which webpage?" and look around. – asmeurer Oct 15 '14 at 23:17
  • The question is not about this vs. that but about the use of is not found. Please note that this site is not a discussio forum; answers should address the original questio directly. I encourage you to take the site tour and to read through the help center. – choster Oct 26 '14 at 6:00

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