[Vocabulary] Using must in second conditional

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GentleBoy

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How should we use "must" in second conditional.

Example - "If I saw her ,I must have spoken to her".

Is this correct ? If it is so ,it doesn't follow the rule of second conditional.
Please explain.

 
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5jj

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We need a lot more context to be sure. If you mean something like "If, as you say, I did actually see her, then it is logically certain that I spoke to her", you sentence is correct.

If however, you are talking about a hypothetical future seeing, and consequent obligation to speak, then it needs to be, "If I saw her, I would have to speak to her".
 

GentleBoy

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Alright. But actually I have 2 questions now.

Question No 1:

My original question was using "would have" in second conditional is a mistake , as I have heard from my teacher. Is it always true?

For example - " If I saw her, I would have spoken to her . " -- This sentence is wrong because in this way neither this is in second conditional form nor in 3rd conditional form.
It should be actually "If I saw her, I would spoke to her .".

Following this rule I am wondering how the sentence " If I saw her, I must have spoken to her. " is correct? Because it is neither in 2nd conditional form nor in 3rd conditional.

Question No 2 :

As you have stated in case of " hypothetical future seeing " the sentence can be " If I saw her, I would have to speak to her. " . But in my opinion here the better option is 1st conditional i.e " If I see her, I must have to speak to her" . Am I right?


Thanks a lot for your reply.
 
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5jj

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For example - " If I saw her, I would have spoken to her . " -- This sentence is wrong because in this way neither this is in second conditional form nor in 3rd conditional form .
It should be actually "If I saw her, I would spoke to her ."
"If I saw her, I would speak to her."
Following this rule I am wondering how the sentence " If I saw her, I must have spoken to her. " is correct ? Because it is neither in 2nd conditional form nor in 3rd conditional.
It doesn't fit into the tradition categories at all. We need to interpret 'if' as 'accepting that'.
As you have stated in case of " hypothetical future seeing " the sentence can be " If I saw her, I would have to speak to her. " . But in my opinion here the better option is 1st conditional i.e " If I see her, I must have to speak to her" . Am I right ?
No. "If I see her, I will have to speak to her" or, possibly, "If I see her, I must speak to her".
 

Tdol

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My original question was using "would have" in second conditional is a mistake , as I have heard from my teacher. Is it always true?

Usually, but not always- we can say If I were you, I wouldn't have said that. It sounds odd to say If I had been you as there's still no chance of this being true. However, your example doesn't work IMO.
 
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GentleBoy

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Thanks a lot.
 
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GentleBoy

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Thanks a lot for replying my long questions. One thing I realized there are rule in English grammar but they are not usually applied strictly always.
 
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5jj

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You are confusing rules and situations, GentleBoy. All of these are fine, and no 'rules' are broken:

If I see her (possible future event), I will speak to her.
If I see her (possible future event), I will have to speak to her/I must speak to her.

If I see her (regular event), I speak to her.
If I see her (regular event), I have to/must speak to her.

If I saw her (not very likely future event), I would speak to her.
If I saw her (not very likely future event), I would have to speak to her.

If I had seen her, (counterfactual past event), I would have spoken to her.
If I had seen her, (counterfactual past event), I would have had to speak to her.

If I saw her (accepted past event/events), I spoke to her.
If I saw her (accepted past event) I must have spoken to her (= it is logically certain that I spoke to her).

In the blue sentences there is an obligation to speak to her. In the red sentence there is an assumption that I spoke to her.
 

GentleBoy

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Alright Sir. Please don't mind. I am asking so many questions on this.

Let's leave it for now. I am thinking of some some situation/context which are not here in the examples. But better I should prepare a well defined set of questions on this and ask you. I need some time.
I will get back soon. Hope you don't mind. Thanks again.
 
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White Hat

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How should we use "must" in second conditional .

Example - "If I saw her ,I must have spoken to her".

Is this correct ? If it is so ,it doesn't follow the rule of second conditional .
Please explain .


It all depends on what you're trying to say to the person you're talking to.

The way I see it, if you are trying to use the 2nd conditional, you'll have to replace "must" with "have to". Although, a couple of years ago I read somewhere about the usage of "must" in the past tense by some writers of the past. In any case, we are better off using modern language, lest the words we use sound dated.

If I saw her, I would have to speak to her.

This means that "if it ever happens that I see her (maybe again), I will have to speak to her" and implies that I either "haven't seen her ever in my life" or "haven't seen her lately".

Now compare this sentence to the following one:

If I had seen her, I would have had to speak to her.

This, obviously, has something to do with the past. In other words, if I had seen her (at the party yesterday), I would have had to speak to her. (but I didn't see her at the party yesterday, and, even though it was my obligation to talk to her, I didn't talk to her as I didn't get a chance to).

Now consider this sentence here:

If I had seen her, I must have spoken to her. SHOULD BE -> If I saw her, I must have spoken to her. (If I did actually see her (e.g., at a party a week earlier))

This implies that there is a possibility that the guy spoke to her, but that's possible only if he had actually seen her at the party. (Note from 5jj: No. See my response to your next post below] THANK YOU, SIR. I GET IT NOW. If I had seen her, I would have had to speak to her is the way to go.

I really hope my post is well-worded and helpful enough.
 
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White Hat

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- Did you see her at the party?
- Yes, I did.
- Did you speak to her?
- I'm not sure. I might have (spoken to her).
- Are you sure you saw her?
- Yes, I am.
- Then you must have spoken to her.
- You know, I believe I have (spoken to her). (as 5jj has noted downthread, we must say "I believe I did" here - I agree I've been inattentive)
- I think you did.
- You're right.

If I had seen her, I must have spoken to her.

-------------------------------------------------

- Did you see her at the party.
- Yes, I did.
- So did you speak to her?
- Of course, I did. She's done so much for me. It would've been utterly wrong of me to act like I didn't know her.

If I had seen her, I would have had to speak to her.
 
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5jj

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- Did you see her at the party?
- Yes, I did.
- Did you speak to her?
- I'm not sure. I might have (spoken to her).
- Are you sure you saw her?
- Yes, I am.
- Then you must have spoken to her.
- You know, I believe I have (spoken to her). X - You know, I believe I did (speak to her)
- I think you did.
- You're right.

If I had seen her, I must have spoken to her. X - If I saw her (which I did, apparently), then I must have spoken to her.

-------------------------------------------------

- Did you see her at the party.
- Yes, I did.
- So did you speak to her?
- Of course, I did. She's done so much for me. It would've been utterly wrong of me to act like I didn't know her.

If I had seen her, I would have had to speak to her. X - You have already said that you saw her, so a counterfactual 'If I had seen her' is inappropriate.
5
 

White Hat

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I agree on the first one. Thank you for that correction. No way we could say "I have" in that one.
 

White Hat

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This stuff gets tough sometimes. Imagine what non-native students have to go through to grasp these things.
 

White Hat

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If I saw her, I must have spoken to her. RIGHT (If I saw her yesterday at the party at all, I MUST have spoken to her)
If I had seen her, I must have spoken to her. WRONG - should be --> If I had seen her, I would HAVE SPOKEN TO HER. (and If I hadn't seen her, I wouldn't have spoken to her)

Yes, I guess I got it now.
 

5jj

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This stuff gets tough sometimes. Imagine what non-native students have to go through to grasp these things.
It's not quite so tough as it seems, though I admit that it is not easy.

The problem with the sentences we are discussing is that several points overlap.

1. must has two fairly distinct sets of meanings.

The first, suggesting obligation, has no past tense as such (though we are not obliged to backshift it in indirect speech). When we wish to speak of a past or hypothetical obligation we use appropriate forms of have to. For a prohibition, we use must not/mustn't, but for an absence of obligation we use needn't or not have to.

It's ten o'clock. I must go now.
He said (that) he must/had to leave
I had to leave at ten o'clock last night.
It's only nine. I needn't/don't have to leave yet.
You mustn't stay out late tonight. You have an important exam tomorrow.
If I had seen Mary, I would have had to say hello.

The second, suggesting logical certainty, also has no past tense, though we can express a present logical certainty about something in the past. When we wish to speak of logical certainty of a not-happening, we use can't; mustn't does not normally work in BrE in this sense.

They're off on holiday again. They must have a lot of money.
I have an awful hangover, I must have drunk a lot last night.
Well, Brian can't be dead - I've just spoken to him!

2. We use so-called past tenses in English to express distancing in reality, often in an IF-clause.

If they were here now, we could tell them about it.

3. We can use IF with a past tense to suggest something that we actually accept as having happened.

A: Henry has a postcard from America last month, from the Smiths. I thought they were going to India for their holiday this year.
B.: If the Smiths were in America, I expect they were visiting their daughter.


Mary tells me I was very rude to her at the party last night. I don't even remember speaking to her, but I must have done. Actually, I don't even remember the party, but, if I was there (and everybody says I was) I must have drunk a lot; I suppose I must have spoken to Mary.
 

GentleBoy

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Thanks a lot.
 
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emsr2d2

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Thanks a lot.

Remember that we don't put a space before a full stop, GentleBoy. I now see that you have made the same punctuation error in a previous post. If I had seen that, I would have corrected it.
 

GentleBoy

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You are confusing rules and situations, GentleBoy. All of these are fine, and no 'rules' are broken:

If I see her (possible future event), I will speak to her.
If I see her (possible future event), I will have to speak to her/I must speak to her.

If I see her (regular event), I speak to her.
If I see her (regular event), I have to/must speak to her.

If I saw her (not very likely future event), I would speak to her.
If I saw her (not very likely future event), I would have to speak to her.

If I had seen her, (counterfactual past event), I would have spoken to her.
If I had seen her, (counterfactual past event), I would have had to speak to her.

If I saw her (accepted past event/events), I spoke to her.
If I saw her (accepted past event) I must have spoken to her (= it is logically certain that I spoke to her).

In the blue sentences there is an obligation to speak to her. In the red sentence there is an assumption that I spoke to her.

Thanks Sir. I am quite clear about this now after all the discussion. But let me ask you something related.

I am describing about one regular past event here.

Example -

1. That time we were not very close friends. If I asked her anything, she wouldn't even reply. I used to feel very bad.
2. When I was a kid, if I asked something to my father, he would surely bring it for me .

These are the case "accepted past event". Please correct me if my understanding is wrong.
 
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emsr2d2

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Thanks Sir. I am quite clear about this now after all the discussion. But let me ask you something related .

I am describing about one regular past event here.

Example -

1. That time we were not very close friends. If I asked her anything she wouldn't even reply . I used to feel very bad.
2. When I was a kid, if I asked something to my father, he would surely bring it for me .

These are the case "accepted past event" . Please correct me if my understanding is wrong .

Please look at my post #18 regarding spacing with full stops, then edit your post.
 
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