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  1. #1
    GentleBoy is offline Newbie
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    Arrow Using must in second conditional




    How should we use "must" in second conditional.

    Example - "If I saw her ,I must have spoken to her".

    Is this correct ? If it is so ,it doesn't follow the rule of second conditional.
    Please explain.

    Last edited by GentleBoy; 06-Mar-2013 at 18:00.

  2. #2
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    Re: Using must in second conditional

    We need a lot more context to be sure. If you mean something like "If, as you say, I did actually see her, then it is logically certain that I spoke to her", you sentence is correct.

    If however, you are talking about a hypothetical future seeing, and consequent obligation to speak, then it needs to be, "If I saw her, I would have to speak to her".

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    GentleBoy is offline Newbie
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    Re: Using must in second conditional

    Alright. But actually I have 2 questions now.

    Question No 1:

    My original question was using "would have" in second conditional is a mistake , as I have heard from my teacher. Is it always true?

    For example - " If I saw her, I would have spoken to her . " -- This sentence is wrong because in this way neither this is in second conditional form nor in 3rd conditional form.
    It should be actually "If I saw her, I would spoke to her .".

    Following this rule I am wondering how the sentence " If I saw her, I must have spoken to her. " is correct? Because it is neither in 2nd conditional form nor in 3rd conditional.

    Question No 2 :

    As you have stated in case of " hypothetical future seeing " the sentence can be " If I saw her, I would have to speak to her. " . But in my opinion here the better option is 1st conditional i.e " If I see her, I must have to speak to her" . Am I right?


    Thanks a lot for your reply.
    Last edited by GentleBoy; 06-Mar-2013 at 18:02.

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Using must in second conditional

    For example - " If I saw her, I would have spoken to her . " -- This sentence is wrong because in this way neither this is in second conditional form nor in 3rd conditional form .
    It should be actually "If I saw her, I would spoke to her ."
    "If I saw her, I would speak to her."
    Following this rule I am wondering how the sentence " If I saw her, I must have spoken to her. " is correct ? Because it is neither in 2nd conditional form nor in 3rd conditional.
    It doesn't fit into the tradition categories at all. We need to interpret 'if' as 'accepting that'.
    As you have stated in case of " hypothetical future seeing " the sentence can be " If I saw her, I would have to speak to her. " . But in my opinion here the better option is 1st conditional i.e " If I see her, I must have to speak to her" . Am I right ?
    No. "If I see her, I will have to speak to her" or, possibly, "If I see her, I must speak to her".

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Using must in second conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by GentleBoy View Post
    My original question was using "would have" in second conditional is a mistake , as I have heard from my teacher. Is it always true?
    Usually, but not always- we can say If I were you, I wouldn't have said that. It sounds odd to say If I had been you as there's still no chance of this being true. However, your example doesn't work IMO.
    Last edited by 5jj; 03-Mar-2013 at 18:45.

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    GentleBoy is offline Newbie
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    Re: Using must in second conditional

    Thanks a lot.
    Last edited by GentleBoy; 06-Mar-2013 at 18:03.

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    GentleBoy is offline Newbie
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    Re: Using must in second conditional

    Thanks a lot for replying my long questions. One thing I realized there are rule in English grammar but they are not usually applied strictly always.
    Last edited by GentleBoy; 06-Mar-2013 at 18:03.

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    Re: Using must in second conditional

    You are confusing rules and situations, GentleBoy. All of these are fine, and no 'rules' are broken:

    If I see her (possible future event), I will speak to her.
    If I see her (possible future event), I will have to speak to her/I must speak to her.

    If I see her (regular event), I speak to her.
    If I see her (regular event), I have to/must speak to her.

    If I saw her (not very likely future event), I would speak to her.
    If I saw her (not very likely future event), I would have to speak to her.

    If I had seen her, (counterfactual past event), I would have spoken to her.
    If I had seen her, (counterfactual past event), I would have had to speak to her.

    If I saw her (accepted past event/events), I spoke to her.
    If I saw her (accepted past event) I must have spoken to her (= it is logically certain that I spoke to her).

    In the blue sentences there is an obligation to speak to her. In the red sentence there is an assumption that I spoke to her.

  9. #9
    GentleBoy is offline Newbie
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    Re: Using must in second conditional

    Alright Sir. Please don't mind. I am asking so many questions on this.

    Let's leave it for now. I am thinking of some some situation/context which are not here in the examples. But better I should prepare a well defined set of questions on this and ask you. I need some time.
    I will get back soon. Hope you don't mind. Thanks again.
    Last edited by GentleBoy; 06-Mar-2013 at 18:04.

  10. #10
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    Re: Using must in second conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by GentleBoy View Post



    How should we use "must" in second conditional .

    Example - "If I saw her ,I must have spoken to her".

    Is this correct ? If it is so ,it doesn't follow the rule of second conditional .
    Please explain .

    It all depends on what you're trying to say to the person you're talking to.

    The way I see it, if you are trying to use the 2nd conditional, you'll have to replace "must" with "have to". Although, a couple of years ago I read somewhere about the usage of "must" in the past tense by some writers of the past. In any case, we are better off using modern language, lest the words we use sound dated.

    If I saw her, I would have to speak to her.

    This means that "if it ever happens that I see her (maybe again), I will have to speak to her" and implies that I either "haven't seen her ever in my life" or "haven't seen her lately".

    Now compare this sentence to the following one:

    If I had seen her, I would have had to speak to her.

    This, obviously, has something to do with the past. In other words, if I had seen her (at the party yesterday), I would have had to speak to her. (but I didn't see her at the party yesterday, and, even though it was my obligation to talk to her, I didn't talk to her as I didn't get a chance to).

    Now consider this sentence here:

    If I had seen her, I must have spoken to her. SHOULD BE -> If I saw her, I must have spoken to her. (If I did actually see her (e.g., at a party a week earlier))

    This implies that there is a possibility that the guy spoke to her, but that's possible only if he had actually seen her at the party. (Note from 5jj: No. See my response to your next post below] THANK YOU, SIR. I GET IT NOW. If I had seen her, I would have had to speak to her is the way to go.

    I really hope my post is well-worded and helpful enough.
    Last edited by Bennevis; 04-Mar-2013 at 23:44. Reason: wanted to show I get it now

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