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Thread: Past form

  1. #1
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    Past form

    could you write me the past form of this sentence:

    We musn't take our jacket off


    Thabks

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    That's not really something you put in past tense. I guess if you want to indicate past tense, you'd have to say something like:

    "The mother told her child, "we mustn't take our jacket off.""
    or
    "Jack knew that he mustn't take his jacket off."
    Заранее благодарю всех за исправление ошибок в моём русском.

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    Why do you say 'our', but 'jacket' is singular? It sounds like you are talking about one jacket large enough to accomodate at least two people! Also 'mustn't' is hardy ever used in actual speech. It sounds pretty strange.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Layne
    Why do you say 'our', but 'jacket' is singular? It sounds like you are talking about one jacket large enough to accomodate at least two people! Also 'mustn't' is hardy ever used in actual speech. It sounds pretty strange.
    BTW, I got it from an exercise in my English textbook. It bewildered me slightly... The right answer was: We wasn't allowed to take it off...

    Would you please provide me an up-to-date version of this sentence.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuvak
    Quote Originally Posted by Layne
    Why do you say 'our', but 'jacket' is singular? It sounds like you are talking about one jacket large enough to accomodate at least two people! Also 'mustn't' is hardy ever used in actual speech. It sounds pretty strange.
    BTW, I got it from an exercise in my English textbook. It bewildered me slightly... The right answer was: We wasn't allowed to take it off...

    Would you please provide me an up-to-date version of this sentence.

    Thanks!
    OK the phrase "We wasn't allowed to take it off..." is incredibly bad sounding. Your English teacher would rap you on the knuckles for saying it. Actually, it sounds so bad, they'd have hung, drawn, and quartered. You MIGHT here someone illiterate say this, but then you'd be appalled. It's that bad.

    Now, back to the phrase you originally posted, Layne is right -- sort of. It's not a typical literary phrase. It DOES make perfect sense if the context is a mother talking to her young child however -- it sounds quite normal there. The kid, being bored as all kids are, starts fidgeting with his zipper and taking his jacket off. His mother, knowing that it's cold and windy outside, tells him, "No, Johnny, we mustn't take our jacket off."

    If mom is a learned person, she'd probably say "YOU mustn't take your jacket off." More contemporary speech would be something like "You can't take your jacket off," or "You shouldn't take your jacket off." But still these are statements that you wouldn't usually put in the past tense -- the whole point is that you are warning somebody not to do <action A> or <action B> will result in the future ("You musn't take your jacket off, or you'll catch pneumonia"). Do you see what I mean? You'd only really need the past tense if you are:
    -telling a story (Mark told him "You mustn't take your jacket off").
    or
    -if you're assigning blame/explaining some misfortune, etc: "You knew you shouldn't drive at 200 km/hr, but you went ahead and did it anyway, and now our car is totalled!"
    Заранее благодарю всех за исправление ошибок в моём русском.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Layne
    Why do you say 'our', but 'jacket' is singular? It sounds like you are talking about one jacket large enough to accomodate at least two people! Also 'mustn't' is hardy ever used in actual speech. It sounds pretty strange.
    Maybe one of them wears it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the other one does on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The third one may wear on on Sundays
    Send me a PM if you need me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Quote Originally Posted by Layne
    Why do you say 'our', but 'jacket' is singular? It sounds like you are talking about one jacket large enough to accomodate at least two people! Also 'mustn't' is hardy ever used in actual speech. It sounds pretty strange.
    Maybe one of them wears it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the other one does on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The third one may wear on on Sundays
    If that were true he would have to say 'you' instead of 'we'. I'm quite sure there is more than one person in that jacket.

    As for "We wasn't allowed...", It should be "we weren't allowed....".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuvak
    BTW, I got it from an exercise in my English textbook. It bewildered me slightly... The right answer was: We wasn't allowed to take it off...
    Crappy textbooks are perhaps the greatest curse of students of foreign languages.

    They are so often written by people who are not native speakers, and their teachers were not native speakers, and teachers of those teachers were not native speakers either.

    When I was a schoolkid, we were basically taught the grammar and pronunciation norms of British English as it had been spoken at the turn of the century. Sure enough, some of vocab was new. Grammar and pronunciation were not. I haven't seen today's school textbooks, but judging by some posts here, they are not much better.

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    cra@@y textbooks are perhaps the greatest curse of students of foreign languages.
    I second that!!! They ARE!!!
    -- Да? Коту Ваське, бл##?
    -- Нет, Я кот Васька :-/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Бармалей
    Now, back to the phrase you originally posted, Layne is right -- sort of. It's not a typical literary phrase. It DOES make perfect sense if the context is a mother talking to her young child however -- it sounds quite normal there. The kid, being bored as all kids are, starts fidgeting with his zipper and taking his jacket off. His mother, knowing that it's cold and windy outside, tells him, "No, Johnny, we mustn't take our jacket off."
    I agree with Бармалей... "our" with the singular "jacket" is, of course, not correct grammar, BUT in the context of a mother or teacher talking to a young child, it sounds normal to native English speakers and is considered correct spoken English... but only when speaking simple English to a young child... or a very elderly person, or someone who is mentally infirm.

    This is an exception to the normal English grammar rules. Think of it as a pleasant "order" or "directive" from the parent/teacher. We commonly speak this way to young children. I don't know why or how it began.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vincent Tailors
    cra@@y textbooks are perhaps the greatest curse of students of foreign languages.
    I second that!!! They ARE!!!
    I third that!!!

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    It's the same in Russian, you can say to your son: "А давай-ка поменяем нашу курточку". Noone will question it.
    -- Да? Коту Ваське, бл##?
    -- Нет, Я кот Васька :-/

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    Could be one jacket belongs to both of them, so our jacket. Then the sentence wouldn't be grammatically incorrect.

    I agree using the plural our and we instead of your and you suggests a polite way of rebuking someone or issuing a command.

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    Re: Past form

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuvak
    could you write me the past form of this sentence:

    We musn't take our jacket off
    "musn't" sounds archaic to me, I would use "shouldn't"
    "jacket" should also be plural, unless there is only one jacket shared by everybody.

    I would say "We shouldn't take our jackets off"
    and the past tense would be "We shouldn't have taken our jackets off"
    Я взял палку и нож, мелки и бумагу и направился к холмам.

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    Re: Past form

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow1
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuvak
    could you write me the past form of this sentence:

    We musn't take our jacket off
    "musn't" sounds archaic to me, I would use "shouldn't"
    "jacket" should also be plural, unless there is only one jacket shared by everybody.

    I would say "We shouldn't take our jackets off"
    and the past tense would be "We shouldn't have taken our jackets off"
    This is a difference between different areas and countries where English is spoken.

    "Mustn't" (must not) is older and more formal English, but we still understand it, and it is accepted as correct. I usually think of British English when I hear "mustn't".

    "Shouldn't" (should not) is also used, and accepted as correct... I think it's more common in most of the U.S., than in Britain.

    But either is O.K. ... "mustn't" or "shouldn't" are both used in most English speaking countries.

    "Mustn't" ... more formal ... perhaps from a teacher, stranger, or non-relative. "Mustn't" is slightly stronger than "Shouldn't".

    "Shouldn't" ... less formal ... usually parent, or family member.

    But this is only my opinion, from American English usage. Both are used commonly, though, in spoken-English, without much difference in meaning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuvak
    Quote Originally Posted by Layne
    Why do you say 'our', but 'jacket' is singular? It sounds like you are talking about one jacket large enough to accomodate at least two people! Also 'mustn't' is hardy ever used in actual speech. It sounds pretty strange.
    BTW, I got it from an exercise in my English textbook. It bewildered me slightly... The right answer was: We wasn't allowed to take it off...
    We think that it's one impressive textbook.
    Care to provide a reference?

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    Quote Originally Posted by laxxy
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuvak
    BTW, I got it from an exercise in my English textbook. It bewildered me slightly... The right answer was: We wasn't allowed to take it off...
    We think that it's one impressive textbook.
    Care to provide a reference?
    WHOA!!!

    "We wasn't allowed..."

    That is definitely incorrect grammar... unless you are DDT, on a cattle-drive, speaking with American Cowboys with bad English.

    This is colloquial... but, of course, wrong grammar, and at University your professor would fail you for this mistake.

    Yep... I'm curious also... what is the textbook???

    Certainly, incorrect grammar... but some novels and literature use incorrect grammar on purpose, to cause a feeling or emotion... Mark Twain and John Steinbeck (among several other writers) were masters of this technique... "manipulating grammar", to cause a realistic idea of the person or time in the story.

    But for learning correct grammar, from an English language textbook, this is of course wrong.

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    The trick to the assignment is that the verb "must" does not have a past-tense form. You have to express the concept using a different verb, as people have been trying to do.

    If "must" = "be supposed to" or "have to" then we would use these phrases in the past:
    We were not supposed to take off our jackets.
    We had to keep our jackets on.
    Also possible but awkward: We had to not take off our jackets.
    QED.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    The trick to the assignment is that the verb "must" does not have a past-tense form. You have to express the concept using a different verb, as people have been trying to do.

    If "must" = "be supposed to" or "have to" then we would use these phrases in the past:
    We were not supposed to take off our jackets.
    We had to keep our jackets on.
    Also possible but awkward: We had to not take off our jackets.
    QED.
    Chaika,

    You are correct. But I fear that the textbook may rely on certain "exceptions" or "misunderstandings" in English grammar, that result from attempting to use novels and English literature, for teaching English.

    Much English literature and the famous authors, "play" with English grammar, changing it from correct to incorrect, to construct a feeling or emotion or idea from the person in the story... often from "classic, famous" stories... often the character in the story is uneducated, and uses incorrect grammar... therefore this incorrect grammar will be misinterpreted, and used in textbooks (written by non-native English speakers) as "normal" or "correct" English.

    Some of our best English literature comes from authors that "break most of the grammar rules." Therefore, when learning English grammar rules... our best novels and English literature should not be used, until an English student is at the "upper-intermediate" or "advanced" levels of English.

    I have observed this problem in several English textbooks... written by non-native English teachers. I've encountered the same problem in my Russian studies, trying to read Russian texts and stories from English speakers.

    And I have observed the same problems in teaching advanced/Legal English for the last 5 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobry
    This is colloquial... but, of course, wrong grammar, and at University your professor would fail you for this mistake.
    Like I said, not fail, but have you hung, drawn and quartered...
    Заранее благодарю всех за исправление ошибок в моём русском.

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