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    #1

    question tag

    Is the following sentence correct? I doubt.
    He must be a professional player, mustn't he?

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: question tag

    Quote Originally Posted by English4everyone View Post
    Is the following sentence correct? I doubt.
    He must be a professional player, mustn't he?
    In BrE, it's fine. You will also hear "He's got to be a professional player, hasn't he?"

    Remember though that it only works for an assumption which is felt to be close to 100% correct. We don't really use it the same way when "must" refers to obligation.

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    #3

    Re: question tag

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    In BrE, it's fine. You will also hear "He's got to be a professional player, hasn't he?"

    Remember though that it only works for an assumption which is felt to be close to 100% correct. We don't really use it the same way when "must" refers to obligation.
    So how do we make the question tag if "must" refers to an obligation?
    Example: He must study harder, . . .?

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    #4

    Re: question tag

    It's rather difficult to construct something like that because if the "must" refers to an obligation, then we would normally expect to hear it simply as a statement, not a question.

    Teacher: John's grades aren't as good as we had hoped.
    Parent: That's disappointing. What can he do to improve them?
    Teachers: Well, he must study harder and he really must do his homework on time.

    I have constructed a rather unnatural dialogue which might happen later:

    John's mother: I spoke to the teacher today. John's grades aren't very good and the teacher doesn't think he's studying hard enough.
    John's father: I think I probably know what the teacher said is required. He must study harder, mustn't he?
    John's mother: Yes, that's exactly what the teacher said. John must study harder.

    As I said before it, that sounds very unnatural to me. The conversation is more likely to go:

    John's mother: I spoke to John's teacher today. They're worried about John's grades and the teacher said he must study harder.
    John's father: OK. He must study harder - is that all?
    John's mother: No, he must do his homework on time as well.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: question tag

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    It's rather difficult to construct something like that because if the "must" refers to an obligation, then we would normally expect to hear it simply as a statement, not a question.

    Teacher: John's grades aren't as good as we had hoped.
    Parent: That's disappointing. What can he do to improve them?
    Teachers: Well, he must study harder and he really must do his homework on time.

    I have constructed a rather unnatural dialogue which might happen later:

    John's mother: I spoke to the teacher today. John's grades aren't very good and the teacher doesn't think he's studying hard enough.
    John's father: I think I probably know what the teacher said is required. He must study harder, mustn't he?
    John's mother: Yes, that's exactly what the teacher said. John must study harder.

    As I said before it, that sounds very unnatural to me. The conversation is more likely to go:

    John's mother: I spoke to John's teacher today. They're worried about John's grades and the teacher said he must study harder.
    John's father: OK. He must study harder - is that all?
    John's mother: No, he must do his homework on time as well.
    Thanks a lot for the clarification.

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    #6

    Re: question tag

    @English4everyone.

    Your thanks are appreciated, but you don't need to send them in a separate post or to quote our replies back to us.

    We are all happy to accept a simple click on the Like button as your acknowledgement of our help.


    Rover

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    #7

    Re: question tag

    I think that the 'must' (= oligation) question tag is natural if 'must' implies a suggestion rather than obligation:

    A: I am smoking far too much at the moment.
    B: Well, you must try to cut down, mustn't you?

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