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    #1

    must

    Dear teachers,

    I find what explains in my grammar book very confusing.

    No.1
    You must have visited him last week, didn't you? ('visit' is a past action so past tense should be used).
    No.2
    You must finish it today, mustn't you? (obligation)
    No.3
    You must finish it today, needn't you? (necessity)
    No.4
    The boys mustn't play with fire, may they? (prohibit)
    No.5
    You must come tomorrow, will you? (invitation)
    No.6
    You must be kidding, aren't you? (confirm)
    No.7
    He must have waited for long, hasn't he? (guess what happened in the past).

    They are so complicated and confusing. Could you please explain if they are correct or not? Can I use mustn't in all the sentences?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: must

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,

    I find what explains in my grammar book very confusing.

    No.1
    You must have visited him last week, didn't you? ('visit' is a past action so past tense should be used).
    No.2
    You must finish it today, mustn't you? (obligation)
    No.3
    You must finish it today, needn't you? (necessity) Is this from your text book? A question tag introduces nothing new to the meaning. This is wrong.
    No.4
    The boys mustn't play with fire, may they? (prohibit) Is this from your text book?
    No.5
    You must come tomorrow, will you? (invitation)
    No.6
    You must be kidding, aren't you? (confirm)
    No.7
    He must have waited for long, hasn't he? (guess what happened in the past).

    They are so complicated and confusing. Could you please explain if they are correct or not?
    No, they are not correct. You are confusing question tags with further questions. 1 and 2 are partly correct.

    Can I use mustn't in all the sentences?
    No, you can't. It's meaningless to say "You must come, will you?" And there are similar objections to most of your sentences.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Here are some acceptable ways to say the sentences you written.
    No.1
    You must have visited him last week, didn't you?
    You must have visited him last week. Did you? This is still strange. If you know that he must have visited him last week, why ask whether he did. Simply ask "Did you visit him last week"

    No.2
    You must finish it today, mustn't you? (obligation)
    OK

    No.3
    You must finish it today, needn't you? (necessity)

    "Do you need to finish it today?"

    No.4
    The boys mustn't play with fire, may they? (prohibit)
    Is this from your text book?
    "The boys musn't play with fire". or "May the boys play with fire?" but not both.

    No.5
    You must come tomorrow, will you? (invitation)

    "Will you come tomorrow?"
    "You will come tomorrow, won't you?"

    No.6
    You must be kidding, aren't you? (confirm)

    "You must be kidding" OR "You're kidding, aren't you?"

    No.7
    He must have waited for long, hasn't he? (guess what happened in the past).

    "Did he wait for a long time?"
    Or let your statement remain with "He must have waited a long time".

    There's no need to postulate any "musts" at all with these questions
    What does your grammar book actually say that is confusing you?

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    #3

    Re: must

    Dear Raymott,

    Thank you very much for explaining a question with so many sentences. All the sentences are from a chapter in my grammar book. What I don't understand is that must in each sentence is followed by different tags, such as didn't you, mustn't you, may they, will you, hasn't he in my original sentences. I have to memorize all of them and to make the correct choice in the exam so I asked you teachers if there is a simpler way such as using 'mustn't' in all the cases.
    In your explanation some sentences have no tags. What would you add if the sentence requires a tag? Or are your sentences that do not contain tags are the sentences that you don't think they should have tag?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Here are some acceptable ways to say the sentences you written.
    No.1
    You must have visited him last week, didn't you?
    You must have visited him last week. Did you? This is still strange. If you know that he must have visited him last week, why ask whether he did. Simply ask "Did you visit him last week"

    No.2
    You must finish it today, mustn't you? (obligation)
    OK

    No.3
    You must finish it today, needn't you? (necessity)
    "Do you need to finish it today?"

    No.4
    The boys mustn't play with fire, may they? (prohibit) Is this from your text book?
    "The boys musn't play with fire". or "May the boys play with fire?" but not both.

    No.5
    You must come tomorrow, will you? (invitation)
    "Will you come tomorrow?"
    "You will come tomorrow, won't you?"

    No.6
    You must be kidding, aren't you? (confirm)
    "You must be kidding" OR "You're kidding, aren't you?"

    No.7
    He must have waited for long, hasn't he? (guess what happened in the past).
    "Did he wait for a long time?"
    Or let your statement remain with "He must have waited a long time".

    There's no need to postulate any "musts" at all with these questions
    What does your grammar book actually say that is confusing you?

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: must

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear Raymott,

    Thank you very much for explaining a question with so many sentences. All the sentences are from a chapter in my grammar book. What I don't understand is that must in each sentence is followed by different tags, such as didn't you, mustn't you, may they, will you, hasn't he in my original sentences. I have to memorize all of them and to make the correct choice in the exam so I asked you teachers if there is a simpler way such as using 'mustn't' in all the cases.
    In your explanation some sentences have no tags. What would you add if the sentence requires a tag? Or are your sentences that do not contain tags are the sentences that you don't think they should have tag?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    First, I don't understand why those sentences are in your book.
    No.3: "You must finish it today, needn't you?" (necessity) and
    No.4: "The boys mustn't play with fire, may they?" are absolutely silly.

    If you have to use "must", and you have to use a question tag, then you could say: "You must finish today, mustn't you?"
    Or "You need to finish today, needn't you?"
    I would say, "You have to finish today, don't you?", because the primary sentence can be construed as "You do have to finish today", and "don't you" is the tag for "....do ...".
    But there is no implicit "do" with modals, so "You must finish today, don't you?" doesn't work.

    Yes, some of my alternatives don't have a question tag. That means they don't need one, or shouldn't have one.

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    #5

    Re: must

    Dear Raymott,

    Thank you so much for your explanation! Now I see.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    First, I don't understand why those sentences are in your book.
    No.3: "You must finish it today, needn't you?" (necessity) and
    No.4: "The boys mustn't play with fire, may they?" are absolutely silly.

    If you have to use "must", and you have to use a question tag, then you could say: "You must finish today, mustn't you?"
    Or "You need to finish today, needn't you?"
    I would say, "You have to finish today, don't you?", because the primary sentence can be construed as "You do have to finish today", and "don't you" is the tag for "....do ...".
    But there is no implicit "do" with modals, so "You must finish today, don't you?" doesn't work.

    Yes, some of my alternatives don't have a question tag. That means they don't need one, or shouldn't have one.

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