would/should

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  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I think I've mentioned this before, Ofriendragon, but it's worth repeating. Look at the entire context and think about the logic of both sentences. The second sentence is there for a reason - if you think of someone who is usually on time, it makes sense to say that he "should" be here soon.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm a bit surprised that there is such a consensus about this. Certainly C is a correct answer, but I could easily say 'He must be here soon' and here's an example of a conversation in a book which uses the expression: it's early in the first chapter, about the fifth paragraph -the first conversation in the book: http://www.fullbooks.com/Barriers-Burned-Away1.html

    Here's another example:

    "I don't want any help. I only don't want to be washed into the mill-head."
    They both laughed, and Evesham began again entreating her to let him take her to the house.
    "Hasn't thee a coat or something I could put around me until Shep comes?" said Dorothy. "He must be here soon."

    I found it here - http://www.online-literature.com/mary-foote/1614/


    So I'd say that D was possible too.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I see. Would sounds like Peter is willing to come here.

    Thank you.
    Not really, OFD. If you put would into the sentence you seem to have lost an if-clause somewhere.

    He would be here, if he were not so busy.

    Would to indicate willingness is very idiomatic and rather old-fashioned, almost biblical - I would you went to see the prophet. And takes the subjuntive often, it seems!
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I'm a bit surprised that there is such a consensus about this. Certainly C is a correct answer, but I could easily say 'He must be here soon'...
    Both links are to old publications, Thomas. I've certainly seen "must" used in this way in old novels but in the context of both sentences in OFD's example and in terms of coming up with the correct answer on a quiz, I'm pretty sure that D. would be marked as incorrect.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Both links are to old publications, Thomas. I've certainly seen "must" used in this way in old novels but in the context of both sentences in OFD's example and in terms of coming up with the correct answer on a quiz, I'm pretty sure that D. would be marked as incorrect.
    Maybe it is a little old-fashioned, Dimcl, but only a little so, to my ear - I could easily say it myself. I agree that the second sentence confirms the meaning, but it's the meaning that the phrase carries by itself.

    I don't doubt that D would be marked as wrong, but strictly speaking, in my view, it's perfectly correct.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I don't have any theological objections to "He must be here soon."
    But in the full context, taking into account the additional comment after the target sentence (see post #4) I think that only should fits this time.
     
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