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She must be on time. <a strong belief for the future>

Discussion in 'English Only' started by shorty1, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. shorty1

    shorty1 Senior Member

    Korean
    Hello, folks.

    #1. She will be on time for sure.

    #2. She must be on time.

    Is it possible to use #2 as the same meaning instead of #1?

    I doubt whether 'must' is generally used as a strong belief for the future.

    Thank you so much.
     
  2. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    No, they don't have the same meaning, and your doubt is well founded. Do you have any more context, shorty1?
     
  3. shorty1

    shorty1 Senior Member

    Korean
    Thank you Beryl from Northallerton. :)

    Let me take an example.

    A: The party will begin in 30 minutes.
    I guess she will be late because the road is slippery.
    B: Don't worry. She must be on time.

    In this case, 'she must be on time' instead of 'she will be on time.' sounds natural to you?

    I found the usage of 'must' refering to a strong belief for the future in the dictionary but very rare.
    Eg) The bus must be coming soon. (webster)

    So I wonder if English native speakers generally use 'must' as a strong belief for the future.
     
  4. AlabamaBoy Senior Member

    Alabama, USA
    American English
    I would say it is correct and it means "She just has to be on time." (I am counting on it.)

    I would not say that "must" is generally used in this way. It would probably only be used where it would not be confused with any other meaning of "must." The tone of voice used when this sentence is spoken would give a big clue to the meaning.
     
  5. shorty1

    shorty1 Senior Member

    Korean
    Thank you AlabamaBoy. :)

    I will accept that your point is that it is possible depending on the context.
     
  6. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    A: The party will begin in 30 minutes.
    I guess she will be late because the road is slippery.
    B: Don't worry. She must be on time.

    This doesn't make much sense to me.

    In a context such as this, there are (probably) two reasons that I'd say 'She must be on time. '

    1 - if I had good grounds for believing that she will be on time.
    2 - if I were seeking to convey my anxiety that she might be late, ie. stressing the importance of her being on time. Like: 'she really has to be on time!'

    Neither of these seem to apply here ... in fact it's quite the opposite.

    wrt*1 - I've just been given good grounds for believing that she might be late.

    wrt*2 - I would not preface the expression of my anxiety with the words 'don't worry'.

    *[wrt = with respect to]
     
  7. shorty1

    shorty1 Senior Member

    Korean
    Thank you Beryl from Northallerton for explaining this in detail.

    I've totally understood what you mean. :)
     

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