Have to: probability

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Poland91pl

Senior Member
Polish
hello. Is it ever ok to use " have to" instead of "must" for probability ?

Eg.
He must be home for 6 hours now- they lights have been on for at least 7 hours!

Can i use "has to" instead of must ?
 
  • rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    You hear have to in this sense occasionally. It sounds a bit rhetorical (and colloquial) and wouldn't work in your example. The Ninth has to (must) be the greatest symphony ever written. If you're not sure, say must.
    This must be John's house is normal. This has to be John's house suggests you've spent ages trying to work out whose house it is. It's unlikely that you'd say it. You'd probably put the stress on have to but not necessarily on must.
     

    Poland91pl

    Senior Member
    Polish
    You hear have to in this sense occasionally. It sounds a bit rhetorical (and colloquial) and wouldn't work in your example. The Ninth has to (must) be the greatest symphony ever written. If you're not sure, say must.
    This must be John's house is normal. This has to be John's house suggests you've spent ages trying to work out whose house it is. It's unlikely that you'd say it. You'd probably put the stress on have to but not necessarily on must.
    Is it " he must be home dor 6 hours now" or " he must've been home for 6 hours now "?
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    It depends on what you're trying to say. I'd say can't in a negative sentence.
    They only left half an hour ago, so they can't be home already.
    He can't have been home for six hours already. I tried to phone him half an hour ago and there was no reply.
    He couldn't have stolen the money because he was in Bristol at the time.
     
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