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  1. Member
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    #1

    If Fred didnít leave here before five, he mustnít be home yet.

    Theres one mistake in the following sentence. Find and correct it.
    If Fred (A)didnt leave here (B)before five, he (C)mustnt be home (D)yet.
    (from a test paper)

    The answer key is C: mustn
    t cant.
    But I think there is something wrong with the question sentence and it should be: if Fred hadnt left here before five, he couldnt have been home yet. What do you say?

    Thanks.

    Last edited by touchstone; 18-Nov-2016 at 04:33.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: If Fred didnít leave here before five, he mustnít be home yet.

    The original first clause is fine.We are not dealing with a counterfactual situation, but with a possible or real situation:

    If Fred hadn't left ..(counterfactual) - but he did leave.
    If Fred didn't leave (1. possible) - it is possible that he didn't leave.
    ...........................(2. conceded) - and we know that he didn't leave.
    Last edited by Piscean; 18-Nov-2016 at 06:23. Reason: typo

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    #3

    Re: If Fred didnít leave here before five, he mustnít be home yet.

    Thanks, Piscean. So the answer key is correct?

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: If Fred didnít leave here before five, he mustnít be home yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    If Fred didn't leave (1. possible) - it is possible that he didn't leave.
    ............................(2. conceded) - and we know that he did leave.
    How could it be possible that he didn't leave when we know that he did leave?
    We know that he did leave, so 'didn't leave' is counterfactual rather than possible.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. Piscean's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: If Fred didnít leave here before five, he mustnít be home yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    How could it be possible that he didn't leave when we know that he did leave?
    We know that he did leave, so 'didn't leave' is counterfactual rather than possible.
    There was a typo in my original post. I have now corrected it.

  6. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: If Fred didnít leave here before five, he mustnít be home yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by touchstone View Post
    So the answer key is correct?
    Yes.

  7. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: If Fred didnít leave here before five, he mustnít be home yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    If Fred didn't leave (1. possible) - it is possible that he didn't leave.
    ............................(2. conceded) - and we know that he didn't leave.
    I think we don't know if he didn't leave.
    If we know that he didn't leave, it is factual rather than possible that he didn't leave.
    I am not a teacher.

  8. Piscean's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: If Fred didnít leave here before five, he mustnít be home yet.

    We don't necessarily know. It depends on context:


    We know:

    A: What time did Fred leave? He said he was going to leave at four.
    B: He texted at half past five to say he had just left.
    A: Well, if he didn't leave before five, he can't be home yet.

    We don't know:

    A: What time did Fred leave? He said he was going to leave at four.
    B: I don't know, but certainly not at four. He texted me at four thirty to say he might be there for another half an hour or so.
    A: Well, if he didn't leave before five, he can't be home yet.

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