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    #1

    The difference between the two sentences?

    1. He must not be a teacher.
    2. He must not have been a teacher.

    My understanding is For the first one, the fact that he is a teacher must not be existing. The second, he must not be a teacher till now at least. However, after 1 month for instance, he can be.

    Is that correct?

    thanks.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The difference between the two sentences?

    No, I'm sorry, your understanding is not at all right.

    In both cases, there is something he said or did that made you believe his profession is not teaching.

    In the first case, you are thinking about him now. (He didn't object when you wrote "I seen it"? He must not be a teacher. -- Anyone who is a teacher would object. He didn't object, so I conclude he's not a teacher.)

    In the second case. you are thinking about him at at time in the past.

    In neither case is he likely to be a teacher soon.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: The difference between the two sentences?

    Okay. Then that raises another question.

    1. He was not a teacher. VS. He has not been a teacher. In both cases, it is talking about that he was not a teacher IN THE PAST; however, what is the difference in terms of timing? I thought the first one indicates that he was not a teacher at a time in the past but he might be a teacher NOW. In the second case, he has not been a teacher till now.

    Is that correct?

    Thanks,
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 14-May-2014 at 09:17. Reason: Unnecessary quote deleted.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: The difference between the two sentences?

    Zoey,
    We don't create a sentence and then say "When would this sentence work?"
    We start with a situation, a context. Then we say "What sentence describes this?"

    1. He was not a teacher. -- At this time in the past, he wasn't a teacher. True. We have no idea what he's doing now. It's possible he went back to school to become a teacher. Or he may be an astronaut, an architect, or dead. There is NO information in "He was a teacher" to tell us what he is doing now.

    "Hey that guy over there - he looks like that guy we met on the train to Paris?"
    "Oh yeah, he was so nice. What was his name? David?"
    "Yeah, David. That's right. What was he again? Was it a teacher?"
    "No, he wasn't a teacher, but something similar to that. He was... oh yeah, he was corporate training."
    "Right - David in corporate training... and he shared his chocolate with us. Wonder whatever happened to him."

    How do you think you'd use "He hasn't been a teacher"? What situation might apply?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: The difference between the two sentences?

    First of all, I really appreciated your such a detailed and vivid explanation. I understand what you are saying. That is true. Well, actually, the reason I am asking this question is that in our textbook, there is a definition of a term which is about an official group of members. And some limitations apply to the professional backgrounds of the members. For instance, "two out of the members must not be licensed attorneys; or must not have been licensed attorneys." And I am not sure what exactly does the limitation mean in terms of timing. Thus, I made up the original sentences which we are talking about.

    Thanks again!

    BTW, I like that interesting dialogue though does not make any sense. Haha..:)

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Zoey,
    We don't create a sentence and then say "When would this sentence work?"
    We start with a situation, a context. Then we say "What sentence describes this?"

    1. He was not a teacher. -- At this time in the past, he wasn't a teacher. True. We have no idea what he's doing now. It's possible he went back to school to become a teacher. Or he may be an astronaut, an architect, or dead. There is NO information in "He was a teacher" to tell us what he is doing now.

    "Hey that guy over there - he looks like that guy we met on the train to Paris?"
    "Oh yeah, he was so nice. What was his name? David?"
    "Yeah, David. That's right. What was he again? Was it a teacher?"
    "No, he wasn't a teacher, but something similar to that. He was... oh yeah, he was corporate training."
    "Right - David in corporate training... and he shared his chocolate with us. Wonder whatever happened to him."

    How do you think you'd use "He hasn't been a teacher"? What situation might apply?

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: The difference between the two sentences?

    If you didn't understand the dialogue, then you didn't understand what I was trying to say.
    They must not now be, nor may they have ever been, attorneys. No present lawyers. No past lawyers.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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