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    #1

    didn't they or mustn't they ?

    I have read a question in a test and I am very confused about the answer.
    They must have come to school, ______?
    A. mustn't they B. shouldn't they C. didn't they D. haven't they
    I think that A will be the correct answer but the answer in the key is C.
    Would you please give me the best choice? Thanks a lot

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    #2

    Re: didn't they or mustn't they ?

    My choice is D.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: didn't they or mustn't they ?

    I'd use "A".

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    #4

    Re: didn't they or mustn't they ?

    Good survey question for Tdol.

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    #5

    Re: didn't they or mustn't they ?

    There appears to be some disagreement on this issue, judging from this thread.

    I browsed through Practical English Usage to see if I could find anything, but unfortunately I couldn't find the "definitive" answer (perhaps there is none). The author says on p. 334:

    However, mustn't is used in question tags (see 487-488) after must.
    It must be nice to be a cat, mustn't it?

    However, this sentence is different from the one in the opening post.

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    #6

    Re: didn't they or mustn't they ?



    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****



    Hello,

    May I add a few thoughts, not "answers."

    1. I think in "real life," many people might say something like: "They must have come to school, [am I] right?"

    2. Since this is a test, however, I would also choose "didn't they?" as the "correct" answer.

    3. While checking the Web, I noticed that one survey of British speakers indicated that "mustn't" was the favorite.

    *****

    4. Please consider:

    a. You have a car, haven't you? / don't you? (Americans prefer do.)

    b. You had a car, hadn't you? / didn't you? (Americans prefer did.)

    5. Let's say that the word "must" did not exist. How would we express that idea?

    I think (repeat: think) that we would have to say something like:

    They had to have come to school, hadn't they? / didn't they? (Again, maybe Americans might prefer did.)



    James

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