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This question first came to me when I saw the sentence:

私は懐中電灯が見つけられません。
I can't find my/the torch. (speaker is in the dark).

I am aware that られます is another way of saying able to but can you say

私は懐中電灯が見つけできません。

instead?

Can the two be used interchangeably?

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  • 見つけできません is ungrammatical. It should be 見つけることができません. See this link: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/2689/… Commented Dec 25, 2021 at 10:45
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    @user3856370 - I don’t understand why that answer in the linked question got so many upvotes.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Dec 25, 2021 at 12:50
  • @aguijonazo Hmm, maybe I should have read through all the answers before linking. I suspect that it's a combination of historical accumulation and the fact that it was endorsed by Derek Schaab who seems to have been a well respected contributor in the past. Would you say there was any element of truth to the most upvoted answer? Commented Dec 25, 2021 at 13:20
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    @user3856370 - No.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Dec 25, 2021 at 17:03
  • Check this answer: japanese.stackexchange.com/a/39307/45630
    – Nameless
    Commented Dec 25, 2021 at 19:14

1 Answer 1

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懐中電灯が見つけできません is ungrammatical, because the only word できる can directly follow is a suru-verb such as 運転, 発見 and 勉強. 見つけ is not a suru-verb (you cannot say 見つけする).

If you really want to use both 見つける and できる, you have to say 懐中電灯見つけることができません. In your case, it's simplest and most natural to say 懐中電灯が見つかりません.

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