can't seem to

can't seem to

Apparently unable to or incapable of doing something. I've been over these figures three times, but I just can't seem to get them to add up. He couldn't seem to figure out how to work the machine.
See also: seem

can't seem to

Be apparently unable to, as in No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to concentrate on this book. This phrase gives added emphasis to a negative statement, as in the example. [Late 1800s]
See also: seem
References in classic literature ?
Well now, I can't seem to," said Matthew, as he opened the yard gate to let the cows through.
They don't SELL this hot water; no, you go into the great Trinkhalle, and stand around, first on one foot and then on the other, while two or three young girls sit pottering at some sort of ladylike sewing-work in your neighborhood and can't seem to see you --polite as three-dollar clerks in government offices.
I can't seem to locate your farm," he said, "though I've been to Temperance and used to live up that way.
That is the way with those Goobra people - they can't seem to let a chance go by to throw it in your face that their day is three hundred and twenty-two of our years long.
Beauty contests have become an integral part of our culture, whether they be beauty pageants or beauty polls, and it's a pity that we can't seem to make up our minds about them.
I am a 32-year-old divorced woman with a sensible career, a house and two beautiful children, yet I can't seem to shake myself out of this situation I am in.
So Charlie Hunnam is the new Christian Gray in 'Fifty Shades of Gray,' but a lot of people can't seem to accept it
We all live in villages of our own, but ours just can't seem to win, and their villages are full of men with 13 wives and sharp knives.
Kipp and YouGov bring you exclusive insights into the reasons behind why we can't seem to save up or even want to.
Summary: Volatility rises after the RBA rate decision and UK production data crosses the wires; but the market can't seem to maintain momentum.
2 -- used to make a statement less forceful or more polite <I can't seem to recall where we met.
Some nights we'll execute and play well, and some nights we can't seem to figure it out," Afflalo said.
Humor blends with practical, life-tested advice for handling different types of employee issues, from the clueless incompetent to the party-time performer who can't seem to separate work from fun.
I'VE heard of repeat prescriptions and the countless repeats on the TV, but now we are treated to repeat letters in Voice of the North courtesy of Mr Harrison of Ingoe, who like others in this newspaper can't seem to think up anything new with the arguments against wind power.
Problem is, she can't seem to come up with anything original or notable.
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