One day the man could not but go to a market.

The sentence is to be transformed into affirmative. But I am just not getting how to transform it using 'must'. If I write- 'The man must go to a market', then it makes a sense of present tense...but it has to be in past form as the negative sentence was in past form. So I thought about this- "One day it was must for the man to go to a market". I'm not finding any other way except it.

  • Are you trying to maintain a poetic flavor, or simply state it clearly? – Hot Licks Jan 15 at 1:56

must doesn't have a regular past tense, so you can't use the word directly in the sentence. The past tense is had to, so the affirmative form of the sentence would be:

One day the man had to go to the market.


Begin by paraphrasing: "The man could not not go to a market." The first "not" negates the sentence "The man could go to a market", where "could" means "was possible", so we have the paraphrase "It is not the case that it was possible for the man not to go to a market." In modal logic, "not possible not" is equivalent to "necessarily", or "must". Thus, we derive the paraphrase, "It was the case that the man must go to a market." If "must" had the past tense "musted", which of course it does not, then we could get to a more natural sounding *"The man musted go to a market," but this is not possible unless the past tense of "must" can be taken as understood, and if so, we get "The man must go to a market."

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