- 1 Post By riverkid
---Do you know where David is? I couldn't find him anywhere.
---Well, he ______ have gone far--his coat is still here.
This was one of China's College Entrance Examination questions. The given answer was 'can't', but I wondered if we could also choose another answer: shouldn't.
Might I ask native English teachers to help me? Thank you very much.
Re: shouldn't, couldn't
We don't normally use 'should' for pure speculation, Joham. Though 'should' occupies the same level of certainty range as 'probably/likely', it is used when we have some personal knowledge or greater in depth knowledge of a situation.
Originally Posted by joham
A: Where's your mom?
B: She should be at work.
Well, he probably/likely hasn't gone far--his coat is still here.
It's interesting to note that we have a purported present tense verb, 'can' being used [in the negative] to describe a past tense. The tenseless modal 'could' could/can also be used here.
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