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  1. #1
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    If you like X, you have to/should visit Y

    If you like Impressionist art, you should / have to visit the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
    According to the author of Common Mistakes at Proficiency the correct verb is should, but do you agree with this? My opinion is that "have to" is possible if you want to emphasise the idea that if you REALLY like Impressionist art, you REALLY have to visit the Musée d'Orsay. I think that I have heard similar things, but I'm in doubt now.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: If you like X, you have to/should visit Y

    I agree with your comment. I see should as a recommendation, a good idea, while have to gives more urgency to the suggestion.

  3. #3
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    Re: If you like X, you have to/should visit Y

    I agree with Chicken Sandwich and riquecohen. Remarks such as that reported by CS annoy me. It may be that a careful analysis of corpora would show that 'should' is more likely in one or more varieties of English than, for example, 'have to' or 'must' or 'ought to'. Even if that is so, it is still no justification for baldly asserting that 'should' is the correct verb.

  4. #4
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    Re: If you like X, you have to/should visit Y

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Even if that is so, it is still no justification for baldly asserting that 'should' is the correct verb.
    Well, to be 100% accurate, the exercise was:

    Tick the correct sentence in each pair.

    a. If you like Impressionist art, you should visit the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
    b. If you like Impressionist art, you have to visit the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

    The only reasonable answer, as confirmed by both of your responses, is both, but there is a difference in meaning. However, the answer simply states that only a is correct. No further explanation or clarification is given in the answer key.

    It's indeed annoying, especially because this book was published by Cambridge University Press, the same university that is responsible for the CPE exams!

  5. #5
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    Re: If you like X, you have to/should visit Y

    Of the two, a is the expected answer.

    Obviously, I don't "have to" visit anywhere, and if I can't afford to go to Paris to see the museum, I can still like that style of art work.

    If some guide on using English said "you can never say 'have to' to make a strongly felt recommendation" that would be wrong, but on a test, "should" is clearly the correct answer.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    Re: If you like X, you have to/should visit Y

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Of the two, a is the expected answer.
    I agree with you, and I also chose A. My only problem with the way this question is posed is that it implies that B is incorrect because it specifically asks to tick the correct answer in each pair. If A is correct, then it follows that B is incorrect, and that isn't true. B is the less expected answer, as you've said, but it isn't incorrect.
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 03-Sep-2012 at 21:03.

  7. #7
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    Re: If you like X, you have to/should visit Y

    It's better if you think of tests like that as asking which answer is the "most appropriate" instead of "the only possible" answer.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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