He thought it <must><had to> be the king’s musicians passing by

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Senior Member
Hello to all,

Thanks for reading my post.


An English textbook for junior high school students in China, co-published by DC Canada Education Publishing and Hebei Education Press

Sample sentence:

One morning as the giant was lying awake in his bed, he heard lovely music coming through the window. He thought it <must><had to> be the king’s musicians passing by.


Would it be possible to use "had to" instead of "must"?

Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!

  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England

    At least in my kind of English, must and had to can both equally well indicate an inference from evidence here. Had to is perhaps a little more informal.

    I use must in the past tense in indirect speech and thought. I think that there are some varieties of English which are not very comfortable with doing this.

    Most current varieties of English are uncomfortable with using must in the past tense in contexts other than indirect speech and thought.
    Last edited:
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