can't, mustn't

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mohammed sayed

Senior Member
You [ can't - shouldn't - couldn't - mustn't ] take photographs here. It's against the law.
What modal verb is best used here and why?
Thanks in advance.
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    All are possible, mohammed sayed, although the least likely is "couldn't". That would imply something like "you couldn't take photos here even if you wanted to".


    Senior Member
    If it's against the law, I'd say mustn't.
    I agree that this is the best choice (for me), but I think it would be more common to hear "You can't take photographs here" in general conversation in the U.S. Mustn't is much clearer; you can (e.g., you are able to) but you must not.
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