Please have a look at this sentence:
Barter has many disadvantages. Certain goods may be difficult to carry. They may not ___ long, or may be impossible to devide into smaller units
I have two questions:
Which should be chosen to fill in the blank:
Please pay attention to the underlined phrase. Is it incorrect? should it be changed into:
or may be impossible to be…
or may be unable to be…
or it is impossible to devide them into…
Though I am not quite sure, I think this rephrasing is correct or almost correct.
Barter has many disadvantages. Certain goods may be difficult to carry. They may not stay long, or may be impossible to be divided into smaller units.
That’s my take.
I’d choose “they may not last long”, meaning that they will go off pretty soon (become inedible due to natural decomposition)
they are impossible to divide into smaller units = it is impossible to divide them into smaller units
just my 2 cents
I agree that ‘last long’ is a typical collocation when referring to ‘goods’. A little google search gave me some hits now.
You can say “They may not last long”, or perhaps even better “They may not keep long” to mean that they (the goods) may be perishable.
The best version in the context of the sentence is the original version:
or may be impossible to divide
Of your three other options, Nessie, only the third one might work. However, if you use that one, you also lose the parallel structure.