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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    They had to pay for it

    Hello,

    I've got a rather strange question. I'm wondering if the phrase "They had to pay for it" strongly implies that they did pay. Do I have to add "...but they didn't" to show that it did not happen?
    Unfortunately, I cannot provide any context. It is a test question where a student has to determine if the action happened when compared to other structures (they couldn't have paid, they shouldn't have paid etc)

    Thank you.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: They had to pay for it

    For me, "They had to pay" does indeed strongly suggest that they did pay. If they didn't, then I would say, "They should have paid".

  3. VIP Member
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    #3

    Re: They had to pay for it

    Context is king.

    "Their child dropped a bottle of perfume while they were shopping and they had to pay for it."

    This I read that they did indeed pay. Contrast:

    "They were going to go into the museum, not realizing that they had to pay for it."

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