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      • Native Language:
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    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 1,618
    #1

    modal verbs

    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 I was wrong.

    Could I ask native speakers to help explain this test item? Thank you in advance.


    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 2,036
    #2

    Re: modal verbs

    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.
    The answer is D. can. Using "can" means that one is able to recognize this characteristic or quality: "you can say this about them".

    It is possible to use "should" and "must", but this is only from a grammatical point of view. The logical answer is D. can. This takes into account meaning and grammar.

    It is not possible to use A. need.


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #3

    Re: modal verbs

    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 I was wrong.

    Could I ask native speakers to help explain this test item? Thank you in advance.
    I think the answer should be "can."

    "One thing you must say...." is not an impossible sentence, but it would have such a limited use or application that I don't believe it could be considered the best answer.

    This is a poor test question because it has a non-unique answer. The student is left to guess what was in the mind of the test writer, and reasonable native speakers could have chosen either "must" or "can."


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #4

    Re: modal verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    The answer is D. can. Using "can" means that one is able to recognize this characteristic or quality: "you can say this about them".

    It is possible to use "should" and "must", but this is only from a grammatical point of view. The logical answer is D. can. This takes into account meaning and grammar.

    It is not possible to use A. need.
    One thing I must say about you, Pro, is how well you answer this kind of question.



    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 2,036
    #5

    Re: modal verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    I think the answer should be "can."

    "One thing you must say...." is not an impossible sentence, but it would have such a limited use or application that I don't believe it could be considered the best answer.

    This is a poor test question because it has a non-unique answer. The student is left to guess what was in the mind of the test writer, and reasonable native speakers could have chosen either "must" or "can."
    Material that teaches modal auxiliary usage does have this fault from time to time. I tend to think that "must" would not be a likely choice. I see it more simply as a choice that would be correct in a structural way but not a very logical choice or very likely choice. Why must one say it about them?

    I think "must" would be a likely choice if one were speaking of a highly commendable quality.


    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 2,036
    #6

    Re: modal verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    One thing I must say about you, Pro, is how well you answer this kind of question.

    Thank you.

    I should add, then, "need" is possible in the negative form, as in "we need not say this". This is very formal, of course, and not exactly happy sounding.



    I'd choose the "laughing" smiley, but it just looks kind of weird to me. There's something about the way it laughs. Maybe they can get an additional laughing smiley that I find more suitable. Should we start a forum petition?


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #7

    Re: modal verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    Thank you.

    I should add, then, "need" is possible in the negative form, as in "we need not say this". This is very formal, of course, and not exactly happy sounding.



    I'd choose the "laughing" smiley, but it just looks kind of weird to me. There's something about the way it laughs. Maybe they can get an additional laughing smiley that I find more suitable. Should we start a forum petition?

    LOL! They all look weird to me!

    Sure -- we can ask the Admin for more or better smileys. I'll sign. I had to do a Google search to frown at the A-man the other day.


    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 2,036
    #8

    Re: modal verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    LOL! They all look weird to me!

    Sure -- we can ask the Admin for more or better smileys. I'll sign. I had to do a Google search to frown at the A-man the other day.
    I'll start a petition in the content section.


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #9

    Re: modal verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    I'll start a petition in the content section.
    Errrr...

    Just to remind me again, because I totally know it, but I just forget for a minute -- where?


    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 2,886
    #10

    Re: modal verbs

    My answer was 'can' too, but that message you deleted and started the thread again. Provided you have feelings, imagine we swap roles and that how you would feel now in my shoes. I have a really hard time trying to come to terms with the ubiquity of such magical behaviour among some young NNES learnes. I am not going to tell you in private what I think of you, because I will be banned and that injustice I want to suffer again. Good luck with your studies.

    Thanks Definition | Definition of Thanks at Dictionary.com

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