Sunday, February 19

The 2nd Kind of MUST

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Believe it or not, there are two kinds of MUST:

1.    I must study hard. (Obligation)

2.    He must be tired. (Strong Guess)

That’s why if you change them into the Past, there are also 

two different kinds:

1.    I had to study hard. (Obligation)

2.    He must have been tired. (Strong Guess)

For the 1st kind, MUST will become "HAD TO" in the Past.

**Actually, MUST and HAVE TO aren’t exactly the same. 

(HAVE TO is stronger than MUST. If you wanna know why, 

just watch “HAVE TO vs. MUST – Which One is Stronger?”)

But to make the Past Tense, we borrow “HAVE TO” to 

say “HAD TO.” Because MUST doesn’t have a Past Tense.


Today, we will concentrate on the 2nd kind of MUST.

This is MUST as Strong Guess.

For this 2nd kind, like I already showed you in the 

Introduction, there are 2 ways of making a sentence (plus 1):

MUST as Strong Guess

A.    MUST + Base Verb   (Now)

B.    MUST + Have P.P.    (Past)

C.   MUST + Be V+ing     (Now)

For example,

SITUATION: My teacher is absent today. Why?

MUST as Strong Guess

A.    He must be in the hospital. / He must have the flu.

B.    He must have gone to the hospital. / He must have caught a bad cold.

C.   He must be hiding from me. / He must be drinking coffee at Starbucks.

The reasons why we have four different ways of “Strong Guess” sentences are these:

     A.    He must be in the hospital. = Stative Verb (Now)

     B.    He must have gone to the hospital. = Start of Action (Finished)

     C.   He must be hiding from me. = Middle of Action (Now)

*Note: There’s one last way to make a sentence of Strong Guess: MUST + Have Been V+ing. But this one is a bit tough so you’d better learn it next time. ;-)

Lastly, these are the other Modal Verbs used to talk about Guess, with varying levels. 

Not exact but very useful:

100%         He has a class.                   It is expensive.

90%           He must have a class.        It must be expensive.

75%           He should have a class.     It should be expensive.

10%-50%   He might have a class.       It might be expensive.

5%             He can’t have a class.        It can’t be expensive.

0%             He doesn’t have a class.     It isn’t expensive.

After you read this, you can also listen to the audio file discussion about the same topic.

If you have iTunes, just go to Cool Elf and get your free podcast there. If not, please get your audio file here:

Click: Episode 10: The 2nd Kind of Must 

Good luck!

Keep on learning !

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