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    #1

    Orders and instructions with must

    Hello.

    What does 'must' express in this sentence? 'You must return the book on time'. If it is said by a librarian it is not a speaker's rule but an intsruction and order, is it? Just like the sentences in my previous thread.
    1. 'Children must start school when they are five.'
    2. 'Visitors must contact us upon their arrival'.

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    #2

    Re: Orders and instructions with must

    It expresses the same thing in all three - obligation.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: Orders and instructions with must

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    It expresses the same thing in all three - obligation.
    Some books say 'have to' means it comes from somebody else, I mean the obligation but even without 'have to' the idea is still the same. In this example especially, well in all of them actually. 'Visitors must contact....' Even if it said by someone at the reception, for visitors it's an obligation that comes from somebody else. It's an instruction/order. 'Children must start school at 5'. It's an instruction/order. Or 'You must return the book'. Even if I use 'have to' will not the idea be still the same?
    Last edited by Rachel Adams; 01-Jun-2020 at 20:12.

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    #4

    Re: Orders and instructions with must

    "Must", especially in your examples, is more emphatic and an absolute requirement.

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    #5

    Re: Orders and instructions with must

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    Hello.

    What does 'must' express in this sentence? 'You must return the book on time.' If it is said by a librarian it is not a the speaker's rule but an instruction and order, is it, just like the sentences in my previous thread?
    1. 'Children must start school when they are five.'
    2. 'Visitors must contact us upon their arrival.'
    Note my changes above. When the entire sentence you write is a quote (there are no other words in the sentence), the closing punctuation mark should also be inside the quotation marks.

    I can sort of see what you're getting at, but in real life, I don't see any difference.

    You have to return the book on time = You must return the book on time. They mean the same thing - everyone is obliged to return their book(s) on time.
    Children must start school when they are five = Children have to start school when they are five. All children are obliged to begin their education at the age of five.
    Visitors must contact us upon arrival = Visitors have to contact us upon arrival. All visitors are obliged to contact us when they arrive.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: Orders and instructions with must

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Note my changes above. When the entire sentence you write is a quote (there are no other words in the sentence), the closing punctuation mark should also be inside the quotation marks.

    I can sort of see what you're getting at, but in real life, I don't see any difference.

    You have to return the book on time = You must return the book on time. They mean the same thing - everyone is obliged to return their book(s) on time.
    Children must start school when they are five = Children have to start school when they are five. All children are obliged to begin their education at the age of five.
    Visitors must contact us upon arrival = Visitors have to contact us upon arrival. All visitors are obliged to contact us when they arrive.
    The way books explain them is very confusing. In Macmillan I read that 'must' is used when we talk about orders and 'have to' when when we talk about the law. It also doesn't say they mean the same thing. Your explanation is clear and I don't have any qurstions anymore. I wish modals were explained in the same way in books. Well, I have one question only. Regarding strictness. In these examples does 'must' sound more strict than 'have to'?

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    #7

    Re: Orders and instructions with must

    As I told you in another thread, different people use these two verbs in different ways. There are often no absolute answers to questions about which is more appropriate or 'stronger'. I don't agree with with the opinions expressed in either post #4, or post 5, but they are as valid as mine would be. Macmillan's explanation is not bad for a starter.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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    #8

    Re: Orders and instructions with must

    Not a teacher
    ------

    From my own experience, "Must vs have to" and "Going to vs will" are the most inconsistently described differences between structures/words I've encountered, based on the textbooks I've read.

    Except for "Mustn't vs don't have to", I think the difference between must and have to is, for the most part, in emotion, not meaning, and that's why explanations are so inconsistent, because different authors feel differently about the difference, subjectively.

    I've seen, for example, the same sentence in an exercise in two books, but the answer key in one book didn't agree with the answer key in the other.

    I think you need to read about the difference in more than one book to get the full picture.

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