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    #1

    They are not allowed to vote. An Indian must not vote

    Dear teachers,

    Yesterday I read the Michael Gold’s essay “Indian Massacre” where I noted two similar sentences written in different way.

    “It would be dangerous for them. You see, if these Indians were found out, they might be deported back to where they come from. Yes, strange as it may seem, these Indians, whose forefathers once owned this continent, now haven’t single right to life or liberty.

    They are not allowed to vote. They are placed in the same categorie as children, idiots, criminals and the foreign-born. They are so-called “wards of the government,” which literally means, slaves. They are not supposed to leave the terrible reservations where the white man’s government drove their forefathers with murderous guns.”

    An Indian must not vote, or think, or feel, or act like a free and mature citizen.

    Would you be kind enough to explain to me the difference in the construction of the sentences in bold?

    I know that the modern Americans abstained from using the modal verb “must” especially in the negative form together with the infinive because that expresses “prohibition”.

    He must not = He has no right. He is forbidden.

    When they want to say that there is no necessity of doing something they use another modal verb – need – in the negative form, e.g.

    “Must we read the second chapter today?”
    “No, you needn’t read it” (there in no need, no necessity)

    But

    “May we smoke in the corridor?”
    “No, you mustn’t.” (you are forbidden)

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards

    V

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    #2

    Re: They are not allowed to vote. An Indian must not vote

    To me, the first is a true and enforceable prohibition, while the second is a moral imperative (in the eyes of the writer).

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    #3

    Re: They are not allowed to vote. An Indian must not vote

    Hi Tdol,

    Thank you for your helpful particularization.

    Regards

    V

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