but I must...

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but I must...

Post by navi » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:18 pm

1) My father thinks that I don't get on Jane's nerves, but I must, because I am her husband after all!

Is this sentence ambiguous?
Does 'must' mean 'very probably' or does it mean 'it is imperative that'?

a) He thinks that I must go ahead and get on her nerves.
b) He is wrong. I most probably am getting on her nerves.


Gratefully,

Navi
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Re: but I must...

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:25 am

It is a nonsense.
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: but I must...

Post by trolley » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:41 am

If all we had to go on was "I must get on her nerves", then that would be ambiguous. Given the extra information in the first part of yoursentence, no native speaker would be confused about which "must" was meant.
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Re: but I must...

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:51 am

What Trolley said.
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Re: but I must...

Post by trolley » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:54 pm

Bobinwales wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:25 am
It is a nonsense.
Now there's something that I've never heard, over here. Is it common practice in British English to use the "a" in that sentence? In North America we would say "It is nonsense". Does that shift the meaning, slightly?
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Re: but I must...

Post by Bobinwales » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:50 am

trolley wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:54 pm
Bobinwales wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:25 am
It is a nonsense.
Now there's something that I've never heard, over here. Is it common practice in British English to use the "a" in that sentence? In North America we would say "It is nonsense". Does that shift the meaning, slightly?
I don't think it shifts meaning John. I would use either happily.
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: but I must...

Post by tony h » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:10 am

Bobinwales wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:50 am
trolley wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:54 pm
Bobinwales wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:25 am
It is a nonsense.
Now there's something that I've never heard, over here. Is it common practice in British English to use the "a" in that sentence? In North America we would say "It is nonsense". Does that shift the meaning, slightly?
I don't think it shifts meaning John. I would use either happily.
I am mostly with Bob on this. But, I think, using the "a" makes it more directed.
eg
1. Much of Lewis Caroll's work is nonsense, which is what endears it to the imagination.
2. The 10 commandments are quite sensible but to say 'I must not covet my neighbour's wife' is a nonsense.
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Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

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