Modal Verb Must

sheilamontreal

Member
vietnamese
[moderator note: these two posts were split out into a new topic. They were originally posted on the following thread: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=672415 . Please start a new thread when the topic veers away from the original poster's question.]

I want to continue caféolé's question about the modal verb MUST .
I know from my English grammar book that one of its meaning is "very likely to happen/to be true".
But all the examples I got had a BE after MUST or MUST HAVE DONE:
SHE MUST BE YOUR NEW TEACHER.
THEY MUST HAVE STAYED IN THE CABIN LAST NIGHT.

What I want is examples which indicate probability only with MUST NO be after it ,no MUST HAVE DONE format either.
Because, in my mind, only MUST+BE & MUST HAVE DONE imply presumptive certainty.
Thank you!
 
  • Trinibeens

    Senior Member
    NYC
    U.S. English
    I want to continue caféolé's question about the modal verb MUST .
    I know from my English grammar book that one of its meaning is "very likely to happen/to be true".
    But all the examples I got had a BE after MUST or MUST HAVE DONE:
    SHE MUST BE YOUR NEW TEACHER.
    THEY MUST HAVE STAYED IN THE CABIN LAST NIGHT.

    What I want is examples which indicate probability only with MUST NO be after it ,no MUST HAVE DONE format either.
    Because, in my mind, only MUST+BE & MUST HAVE DONE imply presumptive certainty.
    Thank you!
    How are these?

    "He has no job, no interests, and doesn't attend school. He must lack [purpose/ambition/motivation]."

    "Each day, the sun must rise, only to set again."
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I think the way you have phrased your question is a bit puzzling sheilamontreal, so I'm not sure if I understand your point. It makes no difference whether "must" precedes to "be" or "have" or any other form; it still has the same meaning. Looking for examples with out these will not change this, they are only there out of grammatical necessity as "must" in this usage is almost always indicating probably states. Here is an example without these:
    "The baby is crying. She must want feeding."
    But it still indicates a state.

    "Must" here does not describe "presumptive certainty" (if I understand what that means); it is speculation but the speaker feels there is a high likelihood that the statement is true. The baby may not want feeding (it may want changing). The couple may not have stayed in the cabin, they may have done something else that the speaker didn't think of. The statements are likely but not certain.
     
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