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    #1

    must or can

    One of the few things you _______ say about English people is that they talk a lot about the weather.
    A. need B. must C. should D. can

    I chose 'can', but the given answer is 'must'. I don't know why. Could I ask native speakers to help explain this test item. Thank you in advance.


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    #2

    Re: must or can

    (C)an: 'must' does not strike me as a good choice.

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    #3

    Re: must or can

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    One of the few things you _______ say about English people is that they talk a lot about the weather.
    A. need B. must C. should D. can

    I chose 'can', but the given answer is 'must'. I don't know why. Could I ask native speakers to help explain this test item. Thank you in advance.
    In my opinion the only one which definitely will not do here is (A) need (because you would have to use need to). Regarding (D) can it sounds a bit strong here (like be able to). So letters B and D sound okay. And if the speaker is confident about his statement, and wants everybody to agree with him, then (B) must is a must.


    If these were not the only possible options, I think that may and might are the best options.

    PS Not a native speaker

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    #4

    Re: must or can

    Thank you both. Let's wait and see what native speakers have to say.
    Thank you again.

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    #5

    Re: must or can

    still waiting ...

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: must or can

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    One of the few things you _______ say about English people is that they talk a lot about the weather.
    A. need B. must C. should D. can

    I chose 'can', but the given answer is 'must'. I don't know why. Could I ask native speakers to help explain this test item. Thank you in advance.
    'must' is wrong unless you take the stance that whenever you are talking about English people you have to mention that they talk a lot about the weather. And that's not true. There's no obligation to do this.
    It's also wrong to say that you 'should' or 'need to' say this about English people. ('Need' is wrong anyway, since it doesn't fit grammatically).
    The only correct answer is 'can'.

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    #7

    Re: must or can

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    One of the few things you _______ say about English people is that they talk a lot about the weather.
    A. need B. must C. should D. can

    I chose 'can', but the given answer is 'must'. I don't know why. Could I ask native speakers to help explain this test item. Thank you in advance.
    What is one supposed to do here? I mean, what are the 'rules' of the exercise?
    Is it explicity stated that there is one and only one right answer? Is the student supposed to mark the right one? What if the exercise read: "Choose the wrong answer" ?

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    #8

    Re: must or can

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    What is one supposed to do here? I mean, what are the 'rules' of the exercise?
    Is it explicity stated that there is one and only one right answer? Is the student supposed to mark the right one? What if the exercise read: "Choose the wrong answer" ?
    No, it's a fairly common test. Choose the one correct, or most correct, term.
    The main problem is that such tests are often written by non-native speakers who do not know the right answers from a native-speaker's point of view.
    Another problem is that not even native speakers agree on the right answer sometimes, so the test isn't valid.
    Another problem, especially with modal verbs, is that they can have so many meanings that, when setting a test, some of those meanings are not immediately apparent to the tester, but are to students.

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