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  1. #1
    AlainK Guest

    Default 'Mustn't' in question-tags

    What question-tag should be used in the following sentence : "He must live here."

    Is "He must live here, mustn't he?" correct?

    What about "He must live here, doesn't he?" ? Is this use of the auxiliary possible ? If so, what difference in meaning is there between the two?...

    Thanks in advance for your replies.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: 'Mustn't' in question-tags

    The first is fine, and you could also say 'must he not', but the second doesn't work for me. You might find it in some regional variants, but it would be marked wrong in an exam.

  3. #3
    AlainK Guest

    Default Re: 'Mustn't' in question-tags

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The first is fine, and you could also say 'must he not', but the second doesn't work for me. You might find it in some regional variants, but it would be marked wrong in an exam.
    Thanks a lot.

    Actually, the second one is what a fellow teacher tells his pupils it is what they should use. I disagreed with him, but I wanted to check it from a native speaker.

  4. #4
    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: 'Mustn't' in question-tags

    Quote Originally Posted by AlainK View Post
    Thanks a lot.

    Actually, the second one is what a fellow teacher tells his pupils it is what they should use. I disagreed with him, but I wanted to check it from a native speaker.
    Actually, I find both to be fine. I think the first would be British English and the second would be American English. Since Canadian English straddles the fence between the two, we would accept both but probably use #2 more often than #1.

  5. #5
    AlainK Guest

    Default Re: 'Mustn't' in question-tags

    Quote Originally Posted by Naamplao View Post
    Actually, I find both to be fine. I think the first would be British English and the second would be American English. Since Canadian English straddles the fence between the two, we would accept both but probably use #2 more often than #1.
    Thank you very much for this very interesting contribution: once again, same language but different

    Maybe there's a kind of logic in it: the answer to "He must live here, mustn't he/ doesn't he" could be "Yes, he does / No, he doesn't". So perhaps the second solution focuses more on an expected answer, whereas the first one is more about the agreement on what has been supposed by the initial statement...

    I'm not sure I'm very clear, but thanks for your input anyway.

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