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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    She must have missed/ should have missed the train.

    I know that should sometimes expresses possibility. With this in mind, can each of the underlined structures be used in the following situation? If yes, is there any difference in meaning?

    - Where is Sally? She must be/ should be here now.
    - I don’t know what’s happened to her. She must have missed/ should have missed the train.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: She must have missed/ should have missed the train.

    Say:

    She should be here now. (You were expecting her to be at that place at that time. If you say "She must be here now" you think she is there.)

    Say:


    She must have missed the train. (You think that is what happened. If you say "She should have missed the train" she didn't miss the train, but you think she should have.)

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: She must have missed/ should have missed the train.

    May I say 'She might have missed the train' to express possibility?

    Not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: She must have missed/ should have missed the train.

    Yes.

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    #5

    Re: She must have missed/ should have missed the train.

    As far as I know, "should" can be used to express possibility only in certain cases. The first thing that comes to mind is conditional clauses:

    a) Should he pop in, thank him for what he's done.
    b) If they should be late, don't allow them to enter.
    c) If you should decide not to go on the trip, you will get a full refund.

    When we say something like "she should be here in ten minutes" , it is called probability - she is being expected to come. And, again, as far I know, "probability" doesn't necessarilly mean the same as "possibility".

    Not a teacher.

  4. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: She must have missed/ should have missed the train.

    Quote Originally Posted by Weaver67 View Post
    And, again, as far I know, "probability" doesn't necessarilly mean the same as "possibility".

    Not a teacher.
    As I view it, probability is a "strong" possibility. My initial question can be rephrased as "Can 'should have done' express probability"?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  5. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: She must have missed/ should have missed the train.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    Say:
    If you say "She should have missed the train" she didn't miss the train, but you think she should have.)
    I know that. But is it the only possible meaning of this phrase? Can it mean "Perhaps she missed the train" in some context? Can it express probability/possibility?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  6. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: She must have missed/ should have missed the train.

    'By now, he should have finished the task.'
    Can it express possibility/probability?

    Not a teacher.

  7. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: She must have missed/ should have missed the train.

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    Can it mean "Perhaps she missed the train" in some context?
    No.

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    #10

    Re: She must have missed/ should have missed the train.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    'By now, he should have finished the task.'
    Can it express possibility/probability?
    To my mind, it means only that he was expected to, but that has not happened. I can't "feel" anything of probability/possibility here. That, however, may well be for the reason that I am not an English teacher nor a native English speaker.
    Last edited by Weaver67; 15-Oct-2014 at 12:56. Reason: A typo

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