I mustn't make noise.

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AllAboutUs

Senior Member
German
Hello, my friends. I saw a sentence which has the modal verb must in a grammar book.

~ My father is now asleep. I mustn't make noise.

However, I think that we should have used "have to" instead of modal verb must. But I don't know what we make the sentence by using negative form of "have to".

~ My father is now asleep. I have to make no noise. (I'm not sure it is gramatically correct.)

What do you think about it?
 
  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I would accept "'must' in "My father is now asleep. I mustn't make a noise" or "My father is now asleep. I mustn't make any noise." I could not say "My father is now asleep. I mustn't make noise."

    EDIT: aieruz's "I must make no noise" is also a possibility, but I would be more likely to say "I mustn't make any noise."
     
    Last edited:

    AllAboutUs

    Senior Member
    German
    Hi AllAboutUs,

    How do you figure?
    My grammar book says that rule to me.

    If extra informations interest us directly, we use modal "must".
    ~ I must get a good grade tomorrow. If I can't overcome, I'll fail the class.

    If extra informations don't interest us directly, we use "have to".
    ~ I have to get a good grade tomorrow. Because my mother want to see my success.
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    Alright, I see. Following that logic, must makes perfect sense, though. You don't want to wake your father, so you sort of will yourself to pay attention. You impose it on yourself. Note that the distinction you mentioned doesn't work if the verb is negated: must not means "not allowed to", while do not have to means "need not".

    "I don't have to make any noise" would mean that you can make some noise, but it's unnecessary to do so. "You don't have to make any noise to get my attention".
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    AllAboutUs, I recommend you get a new grammar book. Yours was obviously not written by a native speaker. The book is trying to explain the difference between "must" and "have to."

    There is no difference. The meaning is the same.
     

    spilorrific

    Senior Member
    English - US
    With respect, Sparky, AllAbout is trying to make sense of this sentence about having to be quiet, and the expressions are not interchangeable here.
    I must not make noise. (To me that means I must make NO noise whatsoever.)
    I must not make any/a noise.
    I don't have to make a noise. (This has a totally different meaning as explained well by Oddmania.)
    So there is a difference when negation is involved.

    I must make noise = I have to make noise. (For some reason, I am being required to make noise.)
    BUT
    I mustn't make noise. (I shouldn't make noise.) ≠ I don't have to make noise. (I can if I want to, but it is not necessary.)
     

    firstsoldier

    Member
    persian-iran
    And i should mention here if there is an internal obligation and the speaker is expressing his/her own idea it's better to use "must" rather than "have to"
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    I apologize. I must not have read this carefully. I agree that these are different:

    I mustn't make noise.
    I don't have to make noise.

    But these are not different:

    I must make no noise.
    I have to make no noise.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    And i should mention here if there is an internal obligation and the speaker is expressing his/her own idea it's better to use "must" rather than "have to"
    (A little off-topic, since this thread is about the negative "mustn't"), but I think your statement is about right - if you have in mind something like this: "I must remember to get some bread when I go to the shops". I don't know whether I would say "it's better", but it's probably "more usual".

    There are many threads on this kind of difference, and opinions vary. This British Council page has a good overview of typical use of the two verbs in BE:
    Have to, must and should for obligation and advice
     

    much_rice

    Senior Member
    English - American
    In American English, we don't use "mustn't" at all. This is how I'd say it:

    My father's asleep, I better not make any noise.

    You're correct that "have to" is the most common modal verb of necessity in (modern American) English -- and that it can't be made negative. "I don't have to" = "I am under no obligation."

    Note: "My father is now asleep" refers to the moment that he falls asleep, as though you were watching him while we was awake and pronounced this the moment he fell asleep. You probably mean simply "my father is asleep" or "my father is asleep <right> now." These last two examples refer to a lasting condition, rather than the start of one.
     

    aieruz

    Senior Member
    Basque,
    In American English, we don't use "mustn't" at all. This is how I'd say it:

    My father's asleep, I better not make any noise.


    Am I right in seeing a slip in your proposal?
    I think the sentence should go>: "......... I'd better not make any noise". or (what I like better):
    ".......... I'd better make no noise"
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    My mom would have said, "Shush. Your baby brother is asleep. You mustn't make a sound."

    Not much different, but is sounds more idiomatic to me. (USA)
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    I think the sentence should go>: "......... I'd better not make any noise". or (what I like better):
    ".......... I'd better make no noise"
    No need to change it like that - much_rice's sentence is fine.

    But don't believe him when he says we don't use "mustn't" at all in AE.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    No need to change it like that - much_rice's sentence is fine.

    But don't believe him when he says we don't use "mustn't" at all in AE.
    I half-agree...

    For me, aieruz is right about "I better"/"I'd better": I better:thumbsdown: I'd better:thumbsup:.

    As regards AmE use of "mustn't", I'm sure I've heard it. And there are several AmE-speakers in this thread who say it....
     
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