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    #1

    Should VS Must

    Dear teachers,

    1) If I say:

    a) It's 7 p.m., he should be at home now.
    b) It's
    7 p.m., he must be at home now.

    Both modals can be used here, right? But what's the nuance between them? What's exactly the difference between ASSUMPTION and DEDUCTION.

    2) But in the following example, these modals cannot be interchangeable and "SHOULD" can't be used here, right? What "should" would mean here: OBLIGATION?

    Phineas, as he heard this, remembered former days in which he had ridden about Saulsby Woods, and had thought them to be anything but hateful. “Is Saulsby shut up?” he asked.
    “Altogether, and so is the house in
    Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You would find Mr Kennedy altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now. He was here in the spring, for a week or two — in England, that is; but he stayed at an hotel in London. He and Laura live at Dresden now, and a very sad time they must have / should have.”

    3) now, "MUST HAVE" can be replaced by "MUST BE HAVING" and the meaning wouldn't change. But what about changing "SHOULD HAVE" into "SHOULD BE HAVING"? Would it make a difference?

    Thank you very much for your help.
    Hela
    Last edited by hela; 22-May-2005 at 15:17.

  1. Steven D's Avatar
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    English Teacher

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    #2

    Re: Should VS Must

    1) If I say:

    a) It's 7 p.m., he should be at home now.
    b) It's 7 p.m., he must be at home now.
    1) If I say:

    a) It's 7 p.m., he should be at home now. - I feel certain that he is at home now.

    b) It's
    7 p.m., he must be at home now. - I think that he is at home now. I feel confident in saying that he is.

    Sentence a is not as strong of a statement as sentence b. I think the speaker feels stronger about the chances of him being at home in sentence b.


    1) If I say:

    a) It's 7 p.m., he should be at home now. - I think it's advisable for him to be home now. Context would tell us why the speaker is suggesting this. Maybe he/she is talking about a child.

    b) It's
    7 p.m., he must be at home now. - It's possible to use "must" to express obligation in this way, but I think the sentence would be different.

    It's 7 pm, and he must go home now. He has a lot to do at home. - example

    He must be at home by 7 pm. We have some things to do. - example
    Last edited by Steven D; 22-May-2005 at 19:23.

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    #3

    Re: Should VS Must

    Thank you, teacher. And what about the other points?

    See you.
    Hela

  2. Steven D's Avatar
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    English Teacher

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    #4

    Re: Should VS Must

    Quote Originally Posted by hela
    Thank you, teacher. And what about the other points?

    See you.
    Hela
    Okay, here's what I say:


    Phineas, as he heard this, remembered former days in which he had ridden about Saulsby Woods, and had thought them to be anything but hateful. “Is Saulsby shut up?” he asked.

    “Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You would find Mr Kennedy altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now. He was here in the spring, for a week or two — in England, that is; but he stayed at an hotel in London. He and Laura live at Dresden now, and a very sad time they must have / should have.”

    3) now, "MUST HAVE" can be replaced by "MUST BE HAVING" and the meaning wouldn't change. But what about changing "SHOULD HAVE" into "SHOULD BE HAVING"? Would it make a difference?

    Yes, "must be having" can replace "must have" in this case.

    I don't think "should" fits with the meaning the writer intended to convey. It's a grammatical possibility, however. And yes, the progressive form "should be having" can replace "should have" if the meaning and the context permit it.

    Using "should" will work if one is predicting with only some certainty that they are now having a very sad time. In this way, "should" functions in the same way as the stronger and more certain modal "will" does. - "...and a very difficult time they will/should be having now." Of course, "should" wouldn't be used to say it's advisable for them to have a sad time. I think "must" is the most appropriate modal for that sentence.

    It's possible to use "should" in place of "would", but it's not common. It sounds rather formal. It's possible that "would" could be used at the end of that sentence, which would then lead one to believe that "should" is possible as well. However, I don't think this is likely, and it's rather impractical. Then again, I don't what the author originally wrote. This is my view of it though.

    Here's how "would" is possible in that sentence: I imagine they would now be having a very sad time. - or: I imagine they would now have a very sad time. So if we see that it's possible to use "would" in that way, we can also see how "should" can be used in place of "would". But as I said, I think this is rather uncommon in the context of normal, ordinary contemporary English. Others might view this differently. But that's how it is for me.

    Last edited by Steven D; 22-May-2005 at 19:24.

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    #5

    Re: Should VS Must

    Thank you very much indeed, X Mode.

    All the best,
    Hela

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