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  1. Member
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    #1

    Exclamation Degree of certainty

    Hi,

    Is the answer to the following question correct?

    Jill is crying. Why?
    She must fail the exam.

    If yes, why not "she must have failed the exam"?

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Degree of certainty

    She must fail the exam is not correct if you are expressing logical certainty about the future/present..

    She must have failed the exam is fine for logical certainty about the past.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Degree of certainty

    No, the original is not correct. Your second choice is possible.

  4. teechar's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Degree of certainty

    As Piscean has pointed out, only #2 is correct if you're referring to a past action/event.
    However, #1 is possible (in specific contexts) if you're referring to a future obligation.

    For example,
    A: Jill is crying. Why?
    B: She must fail the exam. The teacher decided that is the only way her teammate can also qualify for the finals.

    The above suggests that the teacher has instructed Jill to deliberately fail the exam in order to enable her teammate to qualify.

  5. Piscean's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Degree of certainty

    Teechar is right, but 'must' in his sentence expresses obligation, not certainty.

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