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  1. #1
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    Default Modals with "not"

    Is there a rule for the word that "not" negates?
    e.g. it negates the infinitive "smoke" in "You mustn't smoke," but the modal "could" in "She couldn't have fallen asleep."
    I need an answer that can make my students understand rather than memorise the meanings of these constructions.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Modals with "not"

    Quote Originally Posted by Omarmusa123
    Is there a rule for the word that "not" negates?
    e.g. it negates the infinitive "smoke" in "You mustn't smoke," but the modal "could" in "She couldn't have fallen asleep."
    I need an answer that can make my students understand rather than memorise the meanings of these constructions.
    You smoke.
    You do not smoke ~ You don't smoke.

    Note, even though not contracts with the nearest verbal (e.g. do, must, could, etc.) it negates the act (i.e. smoke).

    You must smoke.
    You must not smoke ~ You mustn't smoke.

    You could have fallen down.
    You could not have fallen down ~ You couldn't have fallen down.

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