could be, will be, has to be

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joham

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---I've taken someone else's green sweater by mistake.
---It _____ Harry's. He always wears green.
This was one of China's College Entrance Examination questions. The given answer was 'could be'. I wondered if we could also use the other choices of 'will be' and 'has to be'.
Might I ask native English teachers to help me? Thank you very much.
 

riverkid

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---I've taken someone else's green sweater by mistake.
---It _____ Harry's. He always wears green.
This was one of China's College Entrance Examination questions. The given answer was 'could be'. I wondered if we could also use the other choices of 'will be' and 'has to be'.
Might I ask native English teachers to help me? Thank you very much.

You need to look at the available context, Joham. If the person is holding the sweater, the other person could then have the necessary info to warrant the use of 'will be' or 'has to be'. If not, these two would probably be too great a shot in the dark, though not impossible, to warrant the stronger collocations.

Context context context context and last but not least context
 

2006

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---I've taken someone else's green sweater by mistake.
---It _____ Harry's. He always wears green.
This was one of China's College Entrance Examination questions. The given answer was 'could be'. I wondered if we could also use the other choices of 'will be' and 'has to be'. not correctly
Might I ask native English teachers to help me? Thank you very much.
"could be" is (only) the correct answer.

"will be" is not grammatically appropriate, and sounds odd. If the second speaker is certain it is Harry's sweater and wants to use that particular grammar, they would say It is Harry's. (also see below)

"has to be" is also not correct. There is nothing to make us think that only "I" and Harry wear green.

You don't need any context to answer this question. You only need to know the meanings and correct use of the offered choices.
 

riverkid

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"could be" is (only) the correct answer.

"will be" is not grammatically appropriate, and sounds odd. If the second speaker is certain it is Harry's sweater and wants to use that particular grammar, they would say It is Harry's.

It is perfectly grammatically appropriate, but I should have made mention that it was semantically odd.

It's important that teachers know and understand how grammatic and semantic differ. It's also important that teachers are aware of the various collocations available to speakers of the language.

ENLs would not use 'it', they'd use 'that'.

That will be Harry's. OR That'll be Harry's.


M-W:

will

5—used to express probability and often equivalent to the simple verb <that will be the babysitter>

AHD:

8. Used to indicate probability or expectation: That will be the messenger ringing.

"has to be" is also not correct. There is nothing to make us think that only "I" and Harry wear green.

You don't need any context to answer this question.

I believe I covered that; [checking], yes, yes I did. Note the word 'if'.

"If the person is holding the sweater, the other person could then have the necessary info to warrant the use of 'will be' or 'has to be'."

One looks at the sweater, he or she is familiar with Harry and his clothes, and with the level of certainty that marks 'has to', states, "That has to be/must be Harry's".



You only need to know the meanings and correct use of the offered choices.

That's so true. When one doesn't know, they'd do well to check a dictionary.
 
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2006

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1...I didn't say "will be" is grammatically wrong, but it certainly is inappropriate. Why would one want to use future tense? It either is or is not Harry's sweater.

2...I don't know what "ENLs" are. But native speakers would not use only "that". They would also use "it", and the dialogue uses "it".

3...You did use "if" and you did imply that "could be" is the correct answer, but you didn't come right out and say so.

4...There is no real information about the ownership of the sweater. We have to choose an answer solely based on the question as it is.

If one then wants to give an expanded answer using 'if's and going into some of the illogical, although still used, things that native speakers say (eg. It will be Harry's.) one can. But first one should first choose an answer based only on the actual question.
Also such an expanded answer, particularly without clearly choosing one answer, would very likely be confusing to lower level learners, and maybe even to the poster of the question.

Hopefully I will have no more to say about this post.
 

riverkid

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1...I didn't say "will be" is grammatically wrong, but it certainly is inappropriate. Why would one want to use future tense? It either is or is not Harry's sweater.

I'm going to be frank because it's truly warranted in this situation.

Maybe you missed the TWO dictionary entries I put in my last post. How many would you need to convince you that you were mistaken? It is NOT future tense.

[English doesn't have a future tense, but that's for another day]

'will' has many meanings, one of which is the one I first described, then showed you of its existence, with TWO entries.

It IS vitally important for ESL teachers to know what structures there are in language AND how they are used. Those who don't these things really ought to bone up.


2...I don't know what "ENLs" are. But native speakers would not use only "that". They would also use "it", and the dialogue uses "it".

"English Native Language Users/Speakers. The two dictionary entries and my posting prove that you're mistaken. The use of 'it' in such a 'will' structure would be rather strange, maybe not impossible but I'll leave that to your research skills to determine.

3...You did use "if" and you did imply that "could be" is the correct answer, but you didn't come right out and say so.

I very explicitly warned the poster that context would be very important in deciding what to choose.

4...There is no real information about the ownership of the sweater. We have to choose an answer solely based on the question as it is.

And I said that. Really, 2006, read the posting again. No, that would be too much trouble; let me give you what I said.


"If not, these two would probably be too great a shot in the dark, ..."


If one then wants to give an expanded answer using 'if's and going into some of the illogical, although still used, things that native speakers say (eg. It will be Harry's.) one can. But first one should first choose an answer based only on the actual question.

Also such an expanded answer, particularly without clearly choosing one answer, would very likely be confusing to lower level learners, and maybe even to the poster of the question.

Don't presume to tell me how to answer ESLs questions, especially when you're so far off the mark. The poster asked, and I quote:

"I wondered if we could also use the other choices of 'will be' and 'has to be'. Might I ask native English teachers to help me?"

You presume much too much, 2006, based on what? We don't know because you don't offer any proof or even the semblance of an argument.

You wrote; "and going into some of the illogical, although still used, things that native speakers say".

The temerity, it's truly astonishing that you suggest that you know more than AHD or M-W.


Hopefully I will have no more to say about this post.

I'll second that motion.
 

2006

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It is NOT future tense.

[English doesn't have a future tense, but that's for another day]
What you mean is that English doesn't have verb forms specific to the future, but of course English does express futurity, and most commonly does so by adding "will" or "(am)(are)(is) going to". In fact "will" is most often used to express something happening in the future.

I understand that dictionaries say "will" expresses probablity, but "will" by itself is a poor probability word. Strictly speaking, the common use of "will" indicates 'definiteness'. Otherwise you need to add another word like 'possibly' or 'probably' in order to make "will" a meaningful 'probability' word.

If you are sure that is the messenger ringing, it is most logical, and easiest for English learners to understand, to say 'That is the mesenger ringing.' Otherwise, it is best to say 'That (should be)(probably is) the messenger ringing.'

It IS vitally important for ESL teachers to know what structures there are in language AND how they are used. Those who don't these things really ought to bone up.
It is also important for teachers to give a clear answer, relating to basic standard English, that will help learners grasp basic English first. Later on students can move on to the more complicated and confusing aspects of English.



"English Native Language Users/Speakers. The two dictionary entries and my posting prove that you're mistaken. The use of 'it' in such a 'will' structure would be rather strange..... not as strange as using "will"


I very explicitly warned the poster that context would be very important in deciding what to choose. I repeat again, there is no context, and one doesn't need to make up context to answer the question.




Don't presume to tell me how to answer ESLs questions, especially when you're so far off the mark. The poster asked, and I quote:

"I wondered if we could also use the other choices of 'will be' and 'has to be'. Might I ask native English teachers to help me?"

You didn't make it clear whether they could be used as the question was posed. You mainly said context. context, context.

You presume much too much, 2006, based on what? We don't know because you don't offer any proof or even the semblance of an argument.
Where is your proof? It's certainly not just referring to a dictionary definition in isolation.


You wrote; "and going into some of the illogical, although still used, things that native speakers say".

The temerity, it's truly astonishing that you suggest that you know more than AHD or M-W.

I didn't say I know more than AHD or M-W. But dictionaries often give a definition that may be sometimes used but is not necessarily the main use of a word, and may be very confusing to English learners.

I hope I have nothing more to say about this.
2006
 
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riverkid

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Originally Posted by riverkid
It is NOT future tense.

[English doesn't have a future tense, but that's for another day]

2006:
What you mean is that English doesn't have verb forms specific to the future, but of course English does express futurity, and most commonly does so by adding "will" or "(am)(are)(is) going to". In fact "will" is most often used to express something happening in the future.

I know what I meant. I was clear on what I meant. You were mistaken both on that fact and on the particular use of 'will'.

Of course, we can express the future in English. It is highly misleading for ESLs to hear that 'will' is the future tense. Why weren't you more clear the first time around?


2006:
I understand that dictionaries say "will" expresses probablity,[sic] but "will" by itself is a poor probability word. Strictly speaking, the common use of "will" indicates 'definiteness'. Otherwise you need to add another word like 'possibly' or 'probably' in order to make "will" a meaningful 'probability' word.

If you are sure that is the messenger ringing, it is most logical, and easiest for English learners to understand, to say 'That is the mesenger[sic] ringing.' Otherwise, it is best to say 'That (should be)(probably is) the messenger ringing.'

ESLs, just like ENLs, have to know all the structures of a language, at the least for understanding. ESL teachers who are not up to speed on these structures and how they are used should not make excuses for their ignorance, they should get up to speed asap.

No one can be sure who it is on the other side of a closed door. That is why we have these varying levels for expressing certainty. Your notion that "Strictly speaking, the common use of "will" indicates 'definiteness'" itself defies logic. Have you never heard of nuance, 2006?

Read the dictionary entries for 'get'. Of course, every word can have a core meaning, a most common meaning; that doesn't mean that other nuanced meanings aren't available for use. Your overly "strict" thinking seems to handicap you in seeing the richness of language.

It seems that Joham is well aware that nuance exists in language and he/she wanted to know about this. You keep glossing over that fact.



riverkid wrote:
It IS vitally important for ESL teachers to know what structures there are in language AND how they are used. Those who don't these things really ought to bone up.

2006:
It is also important for teachers to give a clear answer, relating to basic standard English, that will help learners grasp basic English first. Later on students can move on to the more complicated and confusing aspects of English.


Again you have the temerity to suggest that your response was "clear". Your response in this thread has been all over the map.

LET ME EXPLAIN ONCE MORE. Joham asked for help beyond what you mistakenly consider "basic standard English".

I provided that with my dictionary entries. What have you provided, some personal notions backed by personal opinions that don't match actual language use. How is that helpful?



riverkid wrote:
"English Native Language Users/Speakers. The two dictionary entries and my posting prove that you're mistaken. The use of 'it' in such a 'will' structure would be rather strange..... not as strange as using "will"

I very explicitly warned the poster that context would be very important in deciding what to choose. I repeat again, there is no context, and one doesn't need to make up context to answer the question.

Don't presume to tell me how to answer ESLs questions, especially when you're so far off the mark. The poster asked, and I quote:

"I wondered if we could also use the other choices of 'will be' and 'has to be'. Might I ask native English teachers to help me?"

2006:
You didn't make it clear whether they could be used as the question was posed. You mainly said context. context, context.

Do I have to explain it yet again? The poster asked specifically about these issues.

A reply like "could be is (only) the correct answer" is not at all helpful. It's not at all unlikely that given the scenario,

A: I've taken someone else's green sweater by mistake.
B: It _____ Harry's. He always wears green.

that people could easily consider that A is actually holding the sweater. So of course context becomes important. That opens the door to a number of different language possibilities.



riverkid wrote:
You presume much too much, 2006, based on what? We don't know because you don't offer any proof or even the semblance of an argument.
Where is your proof?

2006: It's certainly not just referring to a dictionary definition in isolation.

Please feel free to point to whatever it is that you've offered in this thread that would constitute 'proof'.

riverkid wrote:
You wrote; "and going into some of the illogical, although still used, things that native speakers say".

The temerity, it's truly astonishing that you suggest that you know more than AHD or M-W.

2006:
I didn't say I know more than AHD or M-W. But dictionaries often give a definition that may be sometimes used but is not necessarily the main use of a word, and may be very confusing to English learners.

[smacks head in disbelief!] JOHAM ASKED ABOUT THOSE DEFINITIONS!

I addressed this notion of yours above.
 
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