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    • Join Date: Nov 2006
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    #1

    must/must have

    Hi,

    Imagine the following situation: you come to a shop and see that the cup you have been looking for is not in the shop window any longer. What will you say to your partner?

    1. The cup is not on sale any longer. It must have been sold out.
    2. It may/must be sold out.

    Maybe the both variants are correct?

    Thanks


    • Join Date: Jan 2007
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    #2

    Re: must/must have

    Quote Originally Posted by Morpheus View Post
    Hi,

    Imagine the following situation: you come to a shop and see that the cup you have been looking for is not in the shop window any longer. What will you say to your partner?

    1. The cup is not on sale any longer. It must have been sold out.
    2. It may/must be sold out.

    Maybe the both variants are correct?Thanks
    In terms of traditional grammar, both are possible.

    Sentence1 indicates that you presume the cup was sold out in the past, while 2 means that you presume it is sold out now.

    I don't know if I explain it right; let's expect other experts to shed more light on it.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #3

    Re: must/must have

    Quote Originally Posted by Morpheus View Post
    Hi,

    Imagine the following situation: you come to a shop and see that the cup you have been looking for is not in the shop window any longer. What will you say to your partner?

    1. The cup is not on sale any longer. It must have been sold out.
    2. It may/must be sold out.

    Maybe the both variants are correct?

    Thanks
    They are both understandable. However, I would probably say "The shop must have sold out of that cup we liked."

  1. queenbu's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: must/must have

    If it refers to an antique shop where there was just one of these cups, I would just say 'It has been sold.'-what do you think, Anglika?

  2. Harry Smith's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: must/must have

    Quote Originally Posted by Morpheus View Post
    Hi,

    Imagine the following situation: you come to a shop and see that the cup you have been looking for is not in the shop window any longer. What will you say to your partner?

    1. The cup is not on sale any longer. It must have been sold out.
    2. It may/must be sold out.

    Maybe the both variants are correct?

    Thanks
    Hi!
    I'd say #1 if you replace "must" into "might". It might have been sold.

  3. Philly's Avatar

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    #6

    Re: must/must have

    Using may or might in the sentences: The speaker simply states a possibility and is relatively unsure about whether it's true or not.

    Using must in the sentences: The speaker draws a logical conclusion which he/she feels is likely to be true.


    I agree with Queenbu's point: You can't use 'out' if the sentence is referring to only one (unique) cup. 'Sold out' would mean that the shop had sold all of that type of cup and there are none of them left.


    • Join Date: Nov 2006
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    #7

    Re: must/must have

    Quote Originally Posted by Philly View Post
    I agree with Queenbu's point: You can't use 'out' if the sentence is referring to only one (unique) cup. 'Sold out' would mean that the shop had sold all of that type of cup and there are none of them left.
    Ok, I agree. Let it be cups of a certain kind. What would you say, Philly, "The cups must have been sold out" or "The cups must be sold out". The only thing I want to know is which variant is more natural in this situation? Is it necessary to use the Perfect form?

    Thanks again =)
    Last edited by Morpheus; 11-Feb-2007 at 21:40.


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    #8

    Re: must/must have

    Quote Originally Posted by Morpheus View Post
    Ok, I agree. Let it be cups of a certain kind. What would you say, Philly, "The cups must have been sold out" or "The cups must be sold out". The only thing I want to know is which variant is more natural in this situation? Is it necessary to use the Perfect form?

    Thanks again =)
    Neither one is more natural or less natural. If the speaker focuses on the action of the selling the cups, it is then a finished action so the speaker would naturally choose modal perfect, "must have + past participle".

    If, on the other hand, the speaker is focusing on the state of "soldness" // "soldoutedness", then the speaker would obviously choose the structure that reflects that; "must + present simple verb".

    Philly made an important point that it appears a lot of ESLs seem to be missing. When modals are used in this epistemic sense [level of certainty sense] they express differing levels of certainty.

    100% The cups are // were // have been sold out.

    90-99% The cups must be/must have been sold out.

    50-89% The cups probably are // probably were // probably have been sold out.

    ['probably' is a semi-modal, equal in certainty level to 'should' but semantically 'should' cannot be used here]

    26-50% The cups may be // may have been sold out.

    1-25% The cups might be / might have been sold out.

    The ranges above are meant to give a relative feeling for the epistemic/certainty levels associated with these modal/semi-modals.
    Last edited by riverkid; 12-Feb-2007 at 01:44.

  4. Philly's Avatar

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    #9

    Re: must/must have

    Quote Originally Posted by Morpheus View Post
    Imagine the following situation: you come to a shop and see that the cup you have been looking for is not in the shop window any longer. What will you say to your partner?

    1. The cup is not on sale any longer. It must have been sold out.
    2. It may/must be sold out.

    Maybe the both variants are correct?
    I agree that either one might be used -- OR a third variant, which would also be quite typical in a native-speaker conversation:
    "It (they) must/may have sold out." (depending on how certain the speaker feels. )
    Last edited by Philly; 12-Feb-2007 at 02:04.


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    #10

    Re: must/must have

    Good. The reason why I asked my question is this: at the exam one of my colleagues said that "The cups must be sold out" is ungrammatical in the context because it means that somebody should sell them, and gave a lower mark to one of the students. I told the student that the examiner had been wrong and now you have confirmed this.

    I really appreciate your help!

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