Lesson 32 different meanings of “must”

Choose the correct answers:

What do the underlined verbs mean, obligation or speculation?

  1. In some cultures, a bride must wear something red. (obligation or speculation?)
  2. In these cultures, the red color must mean good fortune. (obligation or speculation?)
  3. In some other cultures, the wedding celebration must include everyone in town.  (obligation or speculation?)
  4. Such a long celebration must be tiring for the bride’s and the groom’s families (obligation or speculation?)

Explain:

The structure “must + base verb” can be used in two situations. Both refers to present or future situations.

  1. obligation/responsibility/necessity.
  2. speculation/possibility/guessing, with a high degree of certainty, but not 100% sure. It is also a way to soften the tone of a personal belief.

The context is the only way to determine which meaning the word “must” refers to.

  • In Sentence #1, it is the responsibility/obligation of the bride to wear something red.  It is necessary for her to do so.
  • In Sentence #3, it is the responsibility/obligation of the bride’s and the groom’s families to invite everyone in town to the celebration. It is necessary for them to do so.
  • In Sentence #2, it is highly possible that the red color means good luck.
  • In Sentence #4, it is highly possible that the families are very tired.

 

Review:

What do the underlined verbs mean?

a. obligation/responsibility/necessity

b. speculation/possibility/guessing

  1. The new couple must kneel down to serve hot tea to their parents.
  2. That must be a tradition from some East Asian countries.
  3. The bride’s parents must prepare dowry for their daughter’s marriage.
  4. The preparation of the dowry must add joy or burden to most families.

 

 

Answers:

obligation; speculation; obligation; speculation

a; b; a; b

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