0
votes
2answers
53 views

“Could not have been” vs. “must not have been”

What's the difference between "could not have been" and "must not have been"? For example, That could not have been an easy task. That must not have been an easy task. I've seen both ...
7
votes
1answer
142 views

Are “was/were able to” and “could” interchangeable?

In a grammar book, the claim was made that in the following sentences one cannot substitute "was/were able to" with "could." The fire spread through the building very quickly, but everyone was ...
1
vote
3answers
102 views

What is the usage of “need to want”?

"Indeed, whoever buys this needs to want a tablet and laptop in more or less equal measure." "Needs to want"? Isn't it a kind of unnecessary way around saying: "I think that people buy this if they ...
1
vote
2answers
423 views

“Must be” with a meaning like “must do”

I see that somebody must do something usually means that someone is obliged to do something. I also see that you must be kidding me means that it is highly likely that you are kidding me. But can ...
0
votes
1answer
488 views

What is the difference between “have not to” and “have to not”?

English isn't my native language, of course, to ask something like this. I personally thought that "have not to do something" and "have to not do something" were the same. But recently, I've seen a ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

“Can not” vs. “cannot” [duplicate]

Is there a difference in meaning and/or connotation between "can not" and "cannot"? I have read and seen both used interchangeably, but I know people who argue for a slight difference in meaning. ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

“…must be running”

I'm trying to understand the meanings of must with a lexical verb in present continuous. Usually "must" means the judgement of the speaker (epistemic modality). Can it have a non-epistemic meaning ...
-1
votes
1answer
136 views

“I may know where it is” vs. “I know where it may be”

I am wondering if the following two sentences have different meanings. I may know where it is. I know where it may be.
4
votes
1answer
391 views

Why are 'preterite presents' called so?

While reading about 'defective verbs' on Wikipedia, I came across this term – preterite present verbs. The most commonly recognized defective verbs in English are auxiliary verbs — the class of ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

Is there a rule for “wouldn't” used to mean “didn't want”?

I have seen the sentences in books where wouldn't seems to have been used in the meaning of didn't want, and I wonder if such a rule exists. For instance, I wanted to participate, but he wouldn't ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there any difference between “He won't do something” and “He wouldn't do something”? [closed]

I have read somewhere that He won't do something means He refused to do something and also He wouldn't do something has the same meaning. Now I'd like to know, what is the difference in usage of ...
7
votes
3answers
292 views

“He grew up around cars that would later become classics.”

My question is about the use of would in the following sentence. He grew up around cars that would later become classics. The use of would in this particular sense always looks confusing to me ...
2
votes
3answers
9k views

“Can’t help but” vs. “can help but”

Is "can’t help but" considered to be a confused mix of the expressions "can but" and "can’t help"? If not, what is the difference between "can help but" and "can’t help but"?
-1
votes
4answers
156 views

Don't understand the connotation of the modal verb “may”

In the sentence there may be no legitimate form of reasoning to the best explanation understood as an alternative to inductive reasoning. does may be no mean that it is possible that there ...
0
votes
1answer
493 views

Meaning of sentence with 'would'

The sentence is: What would the people eat? Can it mean "What are the people going to eat?" in future Or, "What were the people going to eat?" talking about future from past Or, both?
4
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “ought not”?

Consider this example: A few strong branches over water reach for what they ought not reach. Which of the meanings comes closest to “ought not” in this sentence? Is it “doesn't have to”, “should ...
2
votes
2answers
11k views

Using “should be” meaning like “will be”?

CloudEdit is an extremely simple document editing app. Here are the specs: Users should see a list of the latest documents. To edit, the user clicks the document in the list. Users should be ...
0
votes
3answers
5k views

Definition and meanings of “shall not”

I am looking for all the meanings of "shall not". Is it closer to "must not" or "might not"? In this example: The circuit-breaker shall not trip. does this mean must not happen or might not ...
5
votes
4answers
12k views

“will be able to” vs. “can”

Consider the following: He will be able to do it. He can do it. They mean the same thing, right? Can "can" replace "will be able to" in any sentence? What is the difference, if anything? ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

“Would” with a present meaning—is this correct?

A great example I can think of: "Please, leave! I would be alone!" With would meaning something like, "I want to be alone." Is this correct, or not? EDIT: To further clarify, I am not aiming ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

“shall” vs. “will” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'shall' and 'will' Is there any difference at all between these two sentences? What will we talk about? What shall we talk about?
1
vote
3answers
8k views

“It could/might/may be funny” — what is the correct usage?

What is the difference in meaning in these three sentences? it might be funny it could be funny it may be funny The answer was partially touched on in this post.
4
votes
3answers
837 views

Usage of “might” and “would” to indicate doubt

Do the sentences She might be only 28, but Jodie Whittaker.... and My parents would have walked along the Barrow wrongly suggest doubt, or are they normal usage? Are there names for ...