Can I use "mustn't" to reply the question ? I know usually when we ask the question: May I smoke in this room ? ,the reply can be : No, you mustn't If I use "Must "to start a question ,for example : Must I get to school before 9:00am ? usually the negative answer is : no ,you needn't and we don't say " no, you mustn't " .This is the grammar we learn in China . But some Chinese students are arguing: if we are in some specific situation ,we can reply " no ,you mustn't " to the question " Must I..." Here is the imagined situation: Bob and Mary are a couple ,they were on Titanic ,Mary found the ship was about to sink, she can hardly hold the ship's rail cuz the ship was leaning , but Bob couldn't reach her , then Mary asked : Must I jump into the sea ? , How would Bob reply ? of course he didn't want Mary to jump into the sea,he wanted her to hang on in there ,can Bob say: NO, YOU MUSTN'T or he should say: NO,YOU CAN'T Thank you for your helpOr when Bob and Mary asked the third person: Must we jump into the sea ? can the 3rd person say: NO,YOU MUSTN'T ?
Apr 15, 2016 8:54 AM
Answers · 2
The answers are right in both situations, because the meanings are different. "You mustn't jump into the water (because you will drown)" = strong obligation to avoid doing something "You don't need to get to school before 9 (because lessons don't start until 10)" = no obligation, complete freedom The rules you and the others have learnt are the same. They are not variable. The important thing is to understand the exact meaning and context.
April 15, 2016
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