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    • Join Date: Dec 2005
    • Posts: 13

    Question "past obligation"

    I know there's no past form for the modal "must". When you want to express an obligation in the past, you use "had to".
    Present: I must work harder. Past: I knew I had to work harder.
    But I have a problem with the negative form. How can you transform a sentence like "You mustn't smoke" into a past sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence?

    "You didn't have to smoke" means that you didn't have any obligation to smoke. What I want to express is that it was forbidden to smoke.

    Thanks for helping.

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
    • Posts: 8

    Re: "past obligation"

    "you couldn't smoke" ??? I don't know if that helps.

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    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    Re: "past obligation"

    ...weren't allowed to smoke
    Smoking was prohibited

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
    • Posts: 13

    Re: "past obligation"

    Thanks for your help.

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