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  1. #1
    banderas's Avatar
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    Default Question tags must

    Dear Teachers,

    I wonder what is the question tag to:
    "It must be his decision, ................."
    Musn't it?, meaning "right?".
    I am in doubt because of the nature of the modal verb "must".
    I must, I don't have to. NOT I must not.
    I can, I can't.
    I should, I shouldn't etc
    How about "must", then?

    To make it more complicated, let me give you another example:
    You must be waiting for my sister, aren't you OR musn't you?, meaning "right?".

    Any ideas, please?

    Regards
    Banderas
    Last edited by banderas; 22-May-2008 at 02:52. Reason: typo

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Question tags must

    Hi banderas

    As usual, as a Brit and mentor, but not a teacher, my belief is as follows:

    "It must be his decision, mustn't it?"
    Try to think of it as being "Must it not be?"

    Equally well....

    You must be waiting for my sister, mustn't you?
    but:
    You are waiting for my sister, aren't you?

    Does this help?

    Regards
    NT

  3. #3
    banderas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question tags must

    Quote Originally Posted by Neillythere View Post
    Hi banderas

    As usual, as a Brit and mentor, but not a teacher, my belief is as follows:

    "It must be his decision, mustn't it?"
    Try to think of it as being "Must it not be?"

    Equally well....

    You must be waiting for my sister, mustn't you?
    but:
    You are waiting for my sister, aren't you?

    Does this help? It sure does!

    Regards
    NT
    Hi, Neillythere,
    thank you for your opinion.
    Are the question tags with "must" commonly used? I have an impression that even some native speakers are not quite sure how to make the question with it and as a consequence they avoid doing so. What do you think? I do not hear it at all.

  4. #4
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Question tags must

    Quote Originally Posted by banderas View Post
    Dear Teachers,

    I wonder what is the question tag to:
    "It must be his decision, ................."
    Musn't it?, meaning "right?".
    I am in doubt because of the nature of the modal verb "must".
    I must, I don't have to. NOT I must not.
    I can, I can't.
    I should, I shouldn't etc
    How about "must", then?

    To make it more complicated, let me give you another example:
    You must be waiting for my sister, aren't you OR musn't you?, meaning "right?".

    Any ideas, please?

    Regards
    Banderas
    I wrote this without looking at NT's response to give a NA perspective. To my mind, at least in these examples, 'must' doesn't tag easily. For NaE, 'have to' would replace most, almost all [??] 'musts'.

    You must be waiting for my sister, right?

    You are waiting for my sister, aren't you?

    "It must be his decision, right?

    "It has to be his decision, doesn't it?

  5. #5
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Question tags must

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    I wrote this without looking at NT's response to give a NA perspective. To my mind, at least in these examples, 'must' doesn't tag easily. For NaE, 'have to' would replace most, almost all [??] 'musts'.

    You must be waiting for my sister, right?

    You are waiting for my sister, aren't you?

    "It must be his decision, right?

    "It has to be his decision, doesn't it?
    I agree. It's hard for me to imagine an American saying mustn't.


  6. #6
    banderas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question tags must

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    I wrote this without looking at NT's response to give a NA perspective. To my mind, at least in these examples, 'must' doesn't tag easily. For NaE, 'have to' would replace most, almost all [??] 'musts'.

    You must be waiting for my sister, right?

    You are waiting for my sister, aren't you?

    "It must be his decision, right?

    "It has to be his decision, doesn't it?
    Thank you for your contribution, Riverkid.
    I wrote a reply to Neillythere before I read your opinion. Why am I not surprised seeing what you said. Your words just confirm my supposition.
    Thanks!

  7. #7
    banderas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question tags must

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    I agree. It's hard for me to imagine an American saying mustn't.

    Hi, RonBee,
    is there an explanation for that or it is just as it is?

  8. #8
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Question tags must

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    I agree. It's hard for me to imagine an American saying mustn't.

    And Canucks too.

  9. #9
    banderas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question tags must

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    And Canucks too.
    Is it offensive for Canadians if people form other countries call you so? It might be, might it not? (I'd better use "right?").

  10. #10
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question tags must

    Quote Originally Posted by banderas View Post
    Hi, RonBee,
    is there an explanation for that or it is just as it is?
    Well, I've never heard the word spoken (that I can recall), but I imagine that "mustn't" (mussent) must have a distinctly unpleasant sound to it.


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