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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #113126: Can't or Mustn't
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Speaking | Frequent mistakes | Modals [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Placement test beginners: Check your spelling - Past simple or present perfect - On the phone - Interacting with someone - Again/ back - Dialogue : What time...? - FOR and its use - Although / in spite of / despite
    > Double-click on words you don't understand

    Can't or Mustn't




    Interdiction? Incapacity? Impossibility? CAN'T?  MUSTN'T?

    I) CAN 'T : - expresses incapacity, but also impossibility, ("it's impossible that..."), the interdiction to do an action (when speaking): (then it is both the negative form of CAN (a
    physical capacity), of MAY (permission) and of MUST (obligation).

    - Yes, Kevin, as you're a good swimmer, you can go to the deep end of the pool... but no, Lucy, you can't ( here, a physical incapacity which comes to an
    interdiction)... You can't (a physical incapacity ) swim well enough.

    - Yes, you may go out ( permission), but you can't ( impossibility which is the same as an interdiction) stay out beyond the deadline.

    - You must (obligation) take your cap off, and you can't (= interdiction) put it back before you go out.

    - He can't
    (impossibility) be responsible  for his brothers and sisters... He's much too young for that. 

    I can't help= expresses the inevitable character of a fact: I have no other choice, I'm compelled...


    II) Mustn't:= interdiction. ( must = obligation)

    - You mustn't answer back when someone scolds you. It's rude.


    III)  CAN'T HAVE + past participle: in the past, you must use the construction: "can't + have + past participle", in order to express impossibility and incapacity in the past.

    - She can't have found the key... It was hidden where she couldn't go!

      BEWARE!  MUSTN'T isn't used in the past.

    IV) Legal interdictions : no + gerund:

    - "No smoking inside the building." "No walking on this lawn."




    There you are! You know everything! Time to face the test ! Go for it ! Let the FORCE be with you...

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    1)' No, this story is incredible... Things like that !'
    2) Try to do this exercise again... I'm sure you it.
    3) You more careful if you want to do it properly.
    4) No! You these two numbers... They don't belong to the same category.
    5) Of course he the race with others if he wants to... But he the other boys to help him.
    6) Yes, you to the party, but as I and fetch you there, you after ten pm and back home with your brother.
    7) Really, Lucy, I thinking that you more attentive to your things: you out several games at the same time and mix them up. Just think, little girl, you one away, back in its box, and another one, then! You that!


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