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Déductions au passé
Making deductions about the past
To write sentences making deductions about the past we use the following form:
Subject + Modal verb + have + past participle verb + object
They might have used the car without my permission.
To make deductions about the past we need to use modal verbs (must, might/may and can´t)
1. We use must when we are sure about something that happened in the past. Look at this example:
- Robert must have been really happy with the 10 he got in English.
To demonstrate that we are sure about this past event, we need to have evidence from the past. Look at this other example:
- Something must have happened to Mike, he is not in his office.(This means that Mike is always on time for work – this is my evidence)
2. We use might, may or could to say that we think something in the past was possible but we aren't sure that it really happened. Here's an example:
There was a bank robbery yesterday. The thieves might/may/could have got away on motorcycles. (This means that I am not sure of how the thieves got away)
3. We use can't when we are sure that something in the past was not possible. Look at this example:
- Sheila can't have drunk any beer last night. She's an alcoholic in recovery.
Like in the use of must, we use can't when we have some evidence for us to be sure about our deduction.
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