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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    If you want to be healthy, you musn't smoke

    Hi,

    If you want to be healthy, you _______ smoke.

    A) needn't B) couldn't C) shouldn't D) mustn't

    The above question was asked on the exam yesterday and the key answer was 'shouldn't.' The teacher - who is not a native speaker of English - said it is impossible to use 'musn't' in that situation.

    Since I feel confused, could you please tell me if my answer is IMPOSSIBLE?

    Thanks.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: If you want to be healthy, you musn't smoke

    Mustn't is fine in BrE.

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    #3

    Re: If you want to be healthy, you musn't smoke

    We don't use mustn't in American English but answer D is perfectly understandable.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: If you want to be healthy, you musn't smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by ademoglu View Post
    Hi,

    If you want to be healthy, you _______ smoke.

    A) needn't B) couldn't C) shouldn't D) mustn't

    The above question was asked on the exam yesterday and the key answer was 'shouldn't.' The teacher - who is not a native speaker of English - said it is impossible to use 'musn't' in that situation.

    Since I feel confused, could you please tell me if my answer is IMPOSSIBLE?
    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    We don't use mustn't in American English but answer D is perfectly understandable.
    A little oddity in American usage could come into play here, too. Americans will understand you must not smoke​ to mean "I'm sure you don't smoke." So in American English, D really doesn't work.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: If you want to be healthy, you musn't smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    A little oddity in American usage could come into play here, too. Americans will understand you must not smoke​ to mean "I'm sure you don't smoke." So in American English, D really doesn't work.
    What's wrong with the following?
    "If you want to be healthy, I'm sure you don't smoke."
    "I'm sure you don't smoke if you want to be healthy."

    A: I'm sure you don't smoke. (You must not smoke.)
    B: Why are you sure?
    A: Because I know that you want to be healthy.

    So, it should work in AmE, but it means something different.

  6. probus's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: If you want to be healthy, you musn't smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    A little oddity in American usage could come into play here, too. Americans will understand you must not smoke​ to mean "I'm sure you don't smoke." So in American English, D really doesn't work.
    Yes, I am sure you are right about "You must not smoke." But if the contraction "You mustn't smoke" is used, I also agree with your earlier post to the effect that it is easily intelligible to speakers of AmE.

    I would be very interested to learn your opinion as to what proportion of Americans would get that "you mustn't" is the same as "you shouldn't" and "you ought not to" in this context. As a mid-Atlantic person, I am very usure.

    Also would be glad to hear from Barb _D on this.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by probus; 06-Jan-2017 at 04:32.

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    #7

    Re: If you want to be healthy, you musn't smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    Yes, I am sure you are right about "You must not smoke." But if the contraction "You mustn't smoke" is used, I also agree with your earlier post to the effect that it is easily intelligible to speakers of AmE.

    I would be very interested to learn your opinion as to what proportion of Americans would get that "you mustn't" is the same as "you shouldn't" and "you ought not to" in this context. As a mid-Atlantic person, I am very usure.
    I suspect that a significant number of Americans would not understand mustn't as a synonym for "shouldn't". That number has probably shrunk with the rising popularity of British TV shows in the States in recent years. I'm probably not a great subject for the question because I heard very proper British usage at my English-born childhood best friend's house and have had British friends most of my adult life.
    I am not a teacher.

  8. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: If you want to be healthy, you musn't smoke

    Since I don't see any way you can be healthy AND smoke, I would have said that "shouldn't" was too weak and that "mustn't" was the right choice.

    It's a bad question, because both are perfectly natural.
    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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