Modals+have+past participle

Hi Dear Profssors.
In this test which one is correct?

I don't know where they went on holiday but they bought Euros before they left, so they ........ have gone to France or Germany.
A. should 
B. would 
C. must
D. might

Comments

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭

    D. might is the best fit with I don't know where they went.

    C. must is grammatical, but not really logical. It means 'only one of the two:France or Germany'. But many other countries use the Euro. After the LOGICAL connector so. we'd expect something more sensible.

    B. would is something we might say if we started with the idea of saying might but then changed our minds — deciding that after all France and Germany were more likely destinations.

    Even A. should is not impossible. The speaker might be thinking 'France and Germany are the two best places to spend Euros'.

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭
    edited July 9

    OK @AliNateghi, let's try to sort out three related questions
    1. MODAL MEANING
    2. UNREAL PAST TENSE MEANING
    3. UNREAL CONDITIONAL SENTENCE MEANING

    1. MODAL MEANING
      Some modal verb meanings relate to ABILITY and PERMISSION (The verb can is used with both.). These are not the meanings that create grammatical problems. The questions you've been asking concern meanings that relate to JUDGEMENT OF TRUTH.

    Let's take four common modal verbs in their common meanings: will, may, must and can't.

    • WILL expresses the speaker or writer's judgement that something is PROBABLY TRUE

    The judgement is different for FUTURE TIME, PRESENT TIME and PAST TIME

    FUTURE TIME the sentence becomes a PREDICTION
    It will rain tomorrow.
    He will be sleeping when you come_

    PRESENT TIME the sentence expresses a JUDGEMENT based on logic
    I can hear the door bell. That will be John.
    Mary can't hear you. She'll be listening to the radio, I reckon.

    PAST TIME also a logical judgement — using PRESENT PERFECT
    That will have been Peter.
    He will have been looking for me.

    • MAY expresses the speaker or writer's judgement that something is possibly TRUE without saying that it's probable

    The same examples as for will work grammatically — with this difference of meaning

    FUTURE TIME
    It may rain tomorrow.
    He may be sleeping when you come_

    PRESENT TIME
    I can hear the door bell. That may be John.
    Mary can't hear you. She may be listening to the radio, I reckon.

    PAST TIME using PRESENT PERFECT
    That may have been Peter.
    He may have been looking for me.

    • MUST expresses the speaker or writer's CONCLUSION that something is NECESSARILY TRUE
      (This is different from the other common meaning of OBLIGATION)

    FUTURE TIME
    Tomorrow must be Monday
    He says he won't be here tomorrow, so he must be working all day.

    PRESENT TIME
    I can hear the door bell. That must be John.
    Mary can't hear you. She must be listening to the radio, I reckon.

    PAST TIME using PRESENT PERFECT
    That must have been Peter.
    He must have been looking for me.

    • CAN'T expresses the speaker or writer's CONCLUSION that something is NECESSARILY not TRUE
      (This is different from the other common meaning of INABILITY)

    FUTURE TIME
    Tomorrow can't be Monday
    He says he will be here tomorrow, so he can't be working all day.

    PRESENT TIME
    I can hear the door bell, but it can't be John.
    Mary is sleeping. She can't be listening to the radio.

    PAST TIME using PRESENT PERFECT
    That can't have been Peter.
    He can't have been looking for me.

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭
    edited July 9
    1. UNREAL PAST TENSE MEANING

    In various ways, English uses PAST TENSE forms to express meanings that have nothing to do with PAST TIME. Sometimes, it's a signal of POLITENESS. This is not a worry for non-native speakers. More difficult is the use of PAST TENSE when referring to something that NOT TRUE.
    You asked about sentences with the verb wish followed by a clause, and there's a similar construction after If only — with the same meaning.

    Again, let's look at FUTURE, PRESENT AND PAST TIME

    FUTURE TIME
    If only it wasn't Monday tomorrow!

    PRESENT TIME
    I'm in charge, and I wish I wasn't.

    PAST TIME — using PAST PERFECT
    I came early, and I wish I hadn't

    UNREAL PAST TENSE OF MODALS
    In many ways would is the PAST TENSE of will and might is the PAST TENSE of may

    Would you come? is usually more polite than Will you come?
    He might come usually expresses a judgement that is a little less confident than He may come?

    These difference are subtle and not always used — because there are other ways of expressing politeness and lesser confidence.

    However, would and might are used consistently as PAST TENSE forms in CONDITIONAL SENTENCES when the condition expresses something that is NOT TRUE.
    There's a difference, though. We tend not to use might when relating to FUTURE TIME or PRESENT TIME. We use would because it's the PAST TENSE form of the JUDGEMENT modal will. We express what we judge would logically follow from the UNREAL CONDITION.

    FUTURE TIME
    I would come to see you tomorrow if it wasn't Monday.

    PRESENT TIME
    I would help you if I had the time

    However, it is possible to express LESS CERTAINTY using might

    If it was Monday tomorrow, I might be free.
    If it was Monday today, I might be free.

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭
    edited July 9
    1. UNREAL CONDITIONAL SENTENCE MEANING

    English conditional sentences consist of two clauses

    • one beginning with if (or unless or a similar conjunction) which expresses the CONDITION
    • one expressing the result of the condition. Very often this result clause is a JUDGEMENT — often involving a MODAL verb

    OPEN CONDITIONS
    Some conditional sentences involve an OPEN CONDITION — that is, the speaker or writer doesn't know whether the condition is true. In the CONDITION CLAUSE, the verb is a PRESENT TENSE form

    FUTURE TIME
    If you have time tomorrow

    PRESENT TIME
    If you have time now

    PAST TIME
    Usually PRESENT PERFECT
    If you've finished

    [But PAST SIMPLE is possible when discussing LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE
    If yesterday was Monday, then John was in Paris.]

    Many conditional sentences consist of an OPEN CONDITION CLAUSE and a JUDGEMENT CLAUSE and relate to FUTURE TIME
    If you come tomorrow, you'll see her (The speaker/writer is confident.)
    If you come tomorrow, you may see her (The speaker/writer is less confident.)

    Sentences with an OPEN CONDITION relating to PRESENT TIME is
    or PAST TIME are NOT usually accompanied by a JUDGEMENT in the other clause

    PRESENT TIME
    If you have time now, then I can see you.

    PAST TIME
    If you've finished Question One, you should start Question Two.

    UNREAL CONDITIONS
    Other conditional sentences involve an UNREAL CONDITION — that is the speaker or writer knows that the condition is NOT TRUE. The grammar of the CONDITION is the same as after wish, that is PAST TENSE.

    FUTURE TIME
    if tomorrow was Monday.

    PRESENT TIME
    If I was a rich man.

    PAST TIME — using PAST PERFECT
    If I had known then what I know now.

    Often the result clause represents a JUDGEMENT involving a MODAL. In the sentences would and might are treated as PAST TENSE forms of will and may. In sentences relating to FUTURE TIME and PRESENT TIME, would is normally the MODAl used.

    FUTURE TIME
    I would come to see you tomorrow if it wasn't Monday.

    PRESENT TIME
    I would help you if I had the time

    However, it is possible to express LESS CERTAINTY using might

    If it was Monday tomorrow, I might be free.
    If it was Monday today, I might be free.

    When both clauses relate to PAST TIME, then PAST PERFECT is necessary.
    In the CONDITION CLAUSE we use PAST PERFECT (just as after wish). This clause refers to something NOT TRUE — not didn't happen — but a JUDGEMENT CLAUSE refers to something that could be true under different circumstances. If we're confident we use would have; if we're less confident we use might have.

    If I had known then what I know now, I wouldn't have taken the exam.
    If I had known then what I know now, I might not have taken the exam.

    The JUDGEMENT relates to something that didn't happen — I really did take the exam. The idea which is NOT TRUE is 'in the past I didn't take exam.' Might have (like would have) signals something UNREAL — not something UNKNOWN. And so we use the PAST TENSE — which helps to explain why may have is not possible. (as discussed here [click]) We can't say

    If I had known then what I know now, I may not have taken the exam.
    If I had known then what I know now, I won't have taken the exam.

    I know that I did take the exam, so I can't make a JUDGEMENT on the POSSIBILITY.

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