One day, we did not see the women, because the cook could not find the knife in the boot with the snake. So he ate the newspaper and spat the toad into the red pocket with the grams of tea and yo boi Giovanni, watching the insects walking on the orange but not the apple. Suddenly, the small/young girl was on the horses even though she was a twentieth century artist holding a pink beer bottle and black coffee. And the insects eating the sugar.
I think what you mean, as chatee pointed out, is "Io non posso trovare il coltello." From an English perspective, yes, that seems like the natural thing to say. I can't think of a situation in which one would normally say "I don't find the knife" (at least, not using the present tense form - "I didn't find the knife" or "I can't find the knife" sound natural).
So your question is valid - is "Io non trovo il coltello" used in the same way in Italian as "I didn't find the knife" or "I can't find the knife" would be in English (in the context of: you went to search for it, and are telling someone the results)? Can any native speakers confirm?
More specifically the choice of a present means you're still looking for it, and not finding it; it's indeed the same as when you'd say "I can't find it", while in Italian "non posso trovare il coltello" is interpreted literally as not being able to find it, regardless of having looked for it.
It would be better to say "I can't" or "I didn't" but "I don't find the knife" wouldn't be out of place if you're responding to a question that uses "don't". Consider the questions that would be asked to prompt such a response:
Did you find the knife? I didn't. -- This implies that you failed the search.
Can you find the knife? I can't. -- This implies that something prevented you from finding the knife.
Don't you find the knife? I don't. -- This implies that there was some expectation of the knife being found and it is odd that you didn't find it.
Hope this helps!
The first two sound right to me, but the third seems awkward. I might say, "Don't you see the knife?" to someone actively looking (surely one of my children, who is undoubtedly standing right in front of it if it's not in his hand). I can only imagine using find with something like "Didn't you find the knife in the drawer" or "Won't you find the knife in the dishwasher" (if no knife is offered up as a reason for not doing something else) or "Is the knife going to be found with the snake and the body in the trunk, or did you dump the evidence?"
It depends. Both spellings are valid. In some cases, only two words is correct. Here's some guidance from Grammerist:
"Can not may also mean an inability to do something, the denial of permission to do something, an incapacity to do or attain something. While considered an acceptable alternative spelling for cannot, it is used quite a bit less frequently. However, when the word not in can not is part of the construction of a term following can not, then it is rendered as two words. An example sentence: “Jenny can not only read, she can also write.” In this instance, the word not is part of the construction not only. Another case where can not would be rendered as two words: “Johnny can go to the fair or he can not go to the fair.” In this example, the word not is a part of the phrase not go to the fair, meaning that Johnny has a choice whether to go or not go. In general, it is safer to render the term as one word, cannot, except when the word not is part of the construction of a term following the word can not."
The ads on this site detract from the experience, but I've never found incorrect information there.