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UNIT 28. Must and can't

A. Study this example:

We use must to say that we feel sure something is true:

* You've been travelling all day. You must be tired. (Travelling is tiring and you've been travelling all day, so you must be tired.)

* 'Jim is a hard worker.' 'Jim? A hard worker? You must be joking. He's very lazy.'

* Carol must get very bored in her job. She does the same thing every day.

We use can't to say that we feel sure something is not possible:

* You've just had lunch. You can't be hungry already. (People are not normally hungry just after eating a meal. You've just eaten, so you can't be hungry.)

* Brian said he would definitely be here before 9.30. It's 10 o'clock now and he's never late. He can't be coming.

* They haven't lived here for very long. They can't know many people.

Study the structure:

I/you/he (etc.) must/can't be (tired/hungry/at work etc.)

I/you/he (etc.) must/can't be (doing/coming/joking etc.) do/go/know/have etc.

I/you/he (etc.) must/can't do/go/know/have etc.

 

B. For the past we use must have (done) and can't have (done). Study this example:

George is outside his friends' house.

He has rung the doorbell three times but nobody has answered.

They must have gone out. (otherwise they would have answered)

* The phone rang but I didn't hear it. I must have been asleep.

* I've lost one of my gloves. I must have dropped it somewhere.

* Jane walked past me without speaking. She can't have seen me.

* Tom walked straight into a wall. He can't have been looking where he was going.

Study the structure:

I/you/he (etc.) must/can't have been (asleep/at work etc.)

I/you/he (etc.) must/can't have been (doing/working etc.)

I/you/he (etc.) must/can't have done /gone/known/had etc.

Couldn't have ... is possible instead of can't have...:

* She couldn't have seen me.

* Tom couldn't have been looking where he was going.

EXERCISES

28.1 Put in must or can't.

1. You've been travelling all day. You must be very tired.

2. That restaurant --- be very good. It's always full of people.

3. That restaurant --- be very good. It's always empty.

4. You're going on holiday next week. You --- be looking forward to it.

5. It rained every day during their holiday, so they --- have had a very nice time.

6. Congratulations on passing your exam. You --- be very pleased.

7. You got here very quickly. You --- have walked very fast.

8. Bill and Sue go away on holiday very often, so they --- be short of money.

 

28.2 Complete the sentences with a verb in the correct form.

1. I've lost one of my gloves. I must have dropped it somewhere.

2. They haven't lived here for long. They can't know many people.

3. Ted isn't at work today. He must --- ill.

4. Ted wasn't at work last week. He must --- ill.

5. (The doorbell rings) I wonder who that is. It can't --- Mary. She's still at work at this time.

6. Carol knows a lot about films. She must --- to the cinema a lot.

7. Look. Jack is putting on his hat and coat. He must --- out.



8. I left my bike outside the house last night and this morning it isn't there any more. Somebody must --- it.

9. Ann was in a very difficult situation. It can't --- easy for her.

10. There is a man walking behind us. He has been walking behind us for the last 20 minutes. He must --- us.

 

28.3 Read the situations and use the words in brackets to write sentences with must have and can't have.

1. The phone rang but I didn't hear it. (I/asleep)

_I must have been asleep._

2. Jane walked past me without speaking. (she/see/me)

_She can't have seen me._

3. The jacket you bought is very good quality. (it/very expensive)

4. I haven't seen the people next door for ages. (they/go away)

5. I can't find my umbrella. (I/leave/it in the restaurant last night)

6. Don passed the exam without studying for it. (the exam/very difficult)

7. She knew everything about our plans. (she/listen/to our conversation)

8. Fiona did the opposite of what I asked her to do. (she/understand/what I said)

9. When I woke up this morning, the light was on. (I/forget/to turn it off)

10. The lights were red but the car didn't stop. (the driver I see/the red light)

11. I was woken up in the middle of the night by the noise next door. (the neighbours/have/a party)

 

UNIT 29. May and might (1)

A. Study this example situation:

You are looking for Bob. Nobody is sure where he is but you get some suggestions.

You: Where's Bob?

He may be in his office. (= perhaps he is in his office)

He might be having lunch. (= perhaps he is having lunch)

Ask Ann. She might know. (= perhaps she knows)

We use may or might to say that something is a possibility. Usually you can use may or might you can say:

* It may be true. or It might be true. (= perhaps it is true)

* She might know. or She may know.

The negative forms are may not and might not (or mightn't):

* It might not be true. (= perhaps it isn't true)

* I'm not sure whether I can lend you any money. I may not have enough. (= perhaps I don't have enough)

Study the structure:

I/you/he (etc.) may/might (not) be (true/in his office etc.)

I/you/he (etc.) may/might (not) be (doing/working/having etc.)

I/you/he (etc.) may/might (not) do/know/have/want etc.

 

B. For the past we use may have (done) or might have (done):

* A: I wonder why Kay didn't answer the phone.

B: She may have been asleep. (= perhaps she was asleep)

* A: I can't find my bag anywhere.

B: You might have left it in the shop. (= perhaps you left it in the shop)

* A: I was surprised that Sarah wasn't at the meeting.

B: She might not have known about it. (= perhaps she didn't know)

* A: I wonder why Colin was in such a bad mood yesterday.

B: He may not have been feeling well. (= perhaps he wasn't feeling well)

Study the structure:

I/you/he (etc.) may/might (not) have been (asleep/at home etc.)

I/you/he (etc.) may/might (not) have been (doing/waiting etc.)

I/you/he (etc.) may/might (not) have done/known/had/seen etc.

 

C. Sometimes could has a similar meaning to may and might:

* The phone's ringing. It could be Tim. (= it may/might be Tim)

* You could have left your bag in the shop. (= you may/might have left it...)

But couldn't (negative) is different from may not and might not. Compare:

* She was too far away, so she couldn't have seen you. (= it is not possible that she saw you)

* A: I wonder why she didn't say hello.

B: She might not have seen you. (= perhaps she didn't see you; perhaps she did)

EXERCISES

29.1 Write these sentences in a different way using may or might.

1. Perhaps Margaret is in her office. _She might be in her office._

2. Perhaps Margaret is busy.

3. Perhaps she is working.

4. Perhaps she wants to be alone.

5. Perhaps she was ill yesterday.

6. Perhaps she went home early.

7. Perhaps she had to go home early.

8. Perhaps she was working yesterday.

In sentences 9-11 use may not or might not.

9. Perhaps she doesn't want to see me.

10. Perhaps she isn't working today.

11. Perhaps she wasn't feeling well yesterday.

 

29.2 Complete the sentences with a verb in the correct form.

1. 'Where's Bob?' 'I'm not sure. He might _be having_ lunch.'

2. 'Who is that man with Ann?' 'I'm not sure. It might --- her brother.'

3. 'Who was the man we saw with Ann yesterday?' 'I'm not sure. It might --- her brother.'

4. 'Why are those people waiting in the street?' 'I don't know. They might --- for a bus.'

5. 'Shall I buy this book for Tim?' 'You'd better not. He might already --- it.'

 

29.3 Read the situations and make sentences from the words in brackets. Use may or might.

1. I can't find George anywhere. I wonder where he is.

a (he/go/shopping) He may have gone shopping.

b (he/play/tennis) He might be playing tennis.

2. I'm looking for Helen. Do you know where she is?

a (she/watch/TV/in her room)

b (she/go/out)

3. I can't find my umbrella. Have you seen it?

a (it/be/in the car)

b (you/leave/in the restaurant last night)

4. Why didn't Tom answer the doorbell? I'm sure he was in the house at the time.

a (he/be/in the bath)

b (he/not/hear/the bell)

 

29.4 Complete the sentences using might not or couldn't.

1. A: Do you think she saw you?

B: No, she was too far away. _She couldn't have seen me._

2. A: I wonder why she didn't say hello. Perhaps she didn't see me.

B: That's possible. _She might not have seen you._

3. A: I wonder why Ann didn't come to the party. Perhaps she wasn't invited.

B: Yes, it's possible. She ---

4. A: Tom loves parties. I'm sure he would have come to the party if he'd been invited.

B: I agree. He ---

5. A: I wonder how the fire started. Do you think it was an accident?

B: No, the police say it ---

6. A: How did the fire start? I suppose it was an accident.

B: Well, the police aren't sure. They say it ---

 

UNIT 30. May and might (2)

A. We use may and might to talk about possible actions or happenings in the future:

* I haven't decided yet where to spend my holidays. I may go to Ireland. (= perhaps I will go to Ireland)

* Take an umbrella with you when you go out. It might rain later. (= perhaps it will rain)

* The bus doesn't always come on time. We might have to wait a few minutes. (= perhaps we will have to wait)

The negative forms are may not and might not (mightn't):

* Ann may not come to the party tonight. She isn't well. (= perhaps she will not come)

* There might not be a meeting on Friday because the director is ill. (= perhaps there will not be a meeting)

 

B. Usually it doesn't matter whether you use may or might. So you can say:

* I may go to Ireland. or I might go to Ireland.

* Jane might be able to help you. or Jane may be able to help you.

But we use only might (not may) when the situation is not real:

* If I knew them better, I might invite them to dinner. (The situation here is not real because I don't know them very well, so I'm not going to invite them. 'May' is not possible in this example.)

 

C. There is also a continuous form: may/might be ~ing. Compare this with will be ~ing:

* Don't phone at 8.30. I'll be watching the football on television.

* Don't phone at 8.30. I might be watching (or I may be watching) the football on

television. (= perhaps I'll be watching it)

For will be ~ing see Unit 24.

We also use may/might be ~ing for possible plans. Compare:

* I'm going to Ireland in July. (for sure)

* I may be going (or I might be going) to Ireland in July. (possible)

But you can also say 'I may go (or I might go) to Ireland...' with little difference of meaning.

 

D. Might as well/may as well

Study this example:

Helen and Clare have just missed the bus. The buses run every hour.

Helen: What shall we do? Shall we walk?

Clare: We might as well. It's a nice day and I don't want to wait here for an hour.

'(We) might as well do something'= (We) should do something because there is nothing better to do and there is no reason not to do it.

You can also say 'may as well'.

* A: What time are you going?

B: Well, I'm ready, so I might as well go now. (or ... I may as well go now)

* The buses are so expensive these days, you might as well get a taxi. (= taxis are just as good, no more expensive)

EXERCISES

30. Write sentences with may or might.

1. Where are you going for your holidays? (to Ireland???)

I haven't decided yet. _I may go to Ireland._

2. What sort of car are you going to buy? (a Mercedes???)

I'm not sure yet. I ---

3. What are you doing this weekend? (go to London???)

I haven't decided yet. ---

4. Where are you going to hang that picture? (in the dining room???)

I haven't made up my mind yet. ---

5. When is Tom coming to see us? (on Saturday???)

I don't know yet. ---

6. What is Julia going to do when she leaves school? (go to university???)

She hasn't decided yet. ---

 

30.2 Complete the sentences using might + one of these verbs:

bite break need rain slip wake

1. Take an umbrella with you when you go out. It _might rain_ later.

2. Don't make too much noise. You --- the baby.

3. Be careful of that dog. It --- you.

4. I don't think we should throw that letter away. We --- it later.

5. Be careful. The footpath is very icy. You ---

6. I don't want the children to play in this room. They --- something.

 

30.3 Complete the sentences using might be able to or might have to + a suitable verb.

1. I can't help you but why don't you ask Jill? She _might be able to help_ you.

2. I can't meet you this evening but I --- you tomorrow evening.

3 I'm not working on Saturday but I --- on Sunday.

4. George isn't well. He --- to hospital for an operation.

 

30.4 Write sentences with may not or might not.

1. (I don't know if Ann will come to the party.) Ann might not come to the party.

2. (I don't know if I'll go out this evening.) I ---

3. (I don't know if Tom will like the present I bought for him.)

Tom ---

4. (I don't know if Sue will be able to meet us this evening.) ---

 

30.5 Read the situations and make sentences with may/might as well.

1. You and a friend have just missed the bus. The buses run every hour.

You say: We'll have to wait an hour for the next bus. _We might as well waik._

2. You have a free ticket for a concert. You're not very keen on the concert but you decide to go. You say: I --- to the concert. It's a pity to waste a free ticket.

3. You're in a cafe with a friend. You've finished your drinks. It's a nice cafe and there is no reason to go now, so why not have another drink? You say: We ---. What would you like?

4. You and a friend are at home. You are bored. There's a film on TV starting in a few minutes. You say: ---. There's nothing else to do.

 


Date: 2015-02-03; view: 1122


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