These question are from a Taiwanese GEPT exam at the intermediate level(senior high school English). I grew up in New Zealand, so I think I am partially a native speaker. But, I got both of these questions wrong. My answers were: 1.B 2.A. I picked these answers just because they sound better and more fluent. Please try these questions and let me know what you think. The correct answers are listed on the bottom.

  1. The chairman proposed that the meeting ______until next Friday because a typhoon was approaching. A. must put off B. must be put off C. put off D. be put off

  2. Over the past 40 years, Mr Wilson has taught thousands of students, some of them ____________internationally known scholars. A.have become B.had become C.having become D.may have become

correct answers 1.d 2.c

  • 1
    If you're American, it's clearly 1D. If you're British, it's likely you don't use the mandative subjunctive, so maybe it's 1E: "should be put off". I don't know what the right grammar is in New Zealand. And 2A is wrong only because the punctuation is a comma and not a semi-colon. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 3:35
  • So, is "proposing that the meeting must be put off until next Friday" grammatically wrong?
    – Tom Lee
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 4:06
  • 2
    @TomLee Perhaps not grammatically. It's a problem of semantics. A proposal is a question up for consideration. Which clashes with the auxiliary must, which is a mandate.
    – deadrat
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 4:38
  • @deadrat Thanks. My logic was that being the chairman, he probably tends to speak more imperatively than others, and hence I picked "must be put off". I guess I should've focused more on the meaning of the word "proposed". Thanks a lot for your reply.
    – Tom Lee
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 4:49

1 Answer 1


In the first question, the chairman is only proposing to put off the meeting. Hence 'must' is not required. 1D is the correct answer.

In the second question, it's about scholars. Scholars are not recognised if they stop learning. Hence, they are always in the process of becoming one. 2C is the correct answer.

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