must surely


Senior Member

Example (1) is taken from a grammar book by R. Huddleston.
I checked the acceptability of (1) about ten years ago.
At the time seven out of eleven people accepted it.
I would like to ask the acceptability again in order to know the change of usage.

(1) Look at those clouds: it must surelyrain before we get home.

  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Hi, Casino.

    The sentence sounds a little odd to me although I wouldn't call it wrong. I'd use "will" instead of "must" in that sentence: Look at those clouds. It will surely rain before we get home.

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I wonder what you are really puzzled about, Casino.

    Is it the order of the words? or their suitability to the circumstances?

    I have no problem with the order of the words, but wouldn't use them in those precise circumstances, because they sound so theatrical.

    It must surely rain suggests a sort of exasperation during a long drought. It can easily express disbelief that it hasn't rained for so long.

    If, because of the look of the sky, I think it's going to rain immediately, I'd be much more likely to say It's bound to rain soon.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    It is an acceptable structure, but I share the reservations already expressed about choosing to use it.
    < Previous | Next >