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Final Exam of the First Term (5)


8 Apr 2004
Dear native English speakers,
My co-worker asked me to change some of my questions and gave me alternatives.
How about these?
問1 Choose the correct one.
(13)That woman looks very young. But she (  ) be over forty.
ア)can イ)might ウ)has to エ)doesn't have to
(14)Look at his face. He (  ) know something about the accident yesterday.
ア)has to イ)must ウ)may not エ)can't
(16)Meg (  ) to Nagoya last month.
ア)had moved イ)moved ウ)has moved エ)had been moving
(17)I (  ) sent the letter to him yet.
ア)haven't イ)didn't ウ)haven't been エ)cannot
(18)The baby (  ) for milk so far.
ア)wasn't crying イ)didn't cry ウ)hasn't cried エ)haven't cried

The baby is (  )(  ) her bed.
The price of oil (  )(  ) last month.
Tom (  ) his book (  ) me.

問3 Put two or three words in the blank so that the sentence will have the same meaning as the Japanese.
Keep the receipt for your new skirt. Otherwise, you (          ) exchange it.

Thanks in advance.
On 13, both "might" and "has to" would be correct. It depends on context. "Has to" in this context could mean that you've deduced from e.g. how old her children are that she is over 40, while "might" in this context is more a vague admission of uncertainty.

On 14, both "has to" and "must" are exactly the same and equally correct.

The rest of the questions seem fine.
For 問3, I cannot think of an answer with 2 or 3 words, other than "can not". "won't be able to" and "will be unable to" both require 4 words.
Thank you for the help, Julimaruchan and joadbres.
joadbres, woudn't it be possible to put "may not" or "might not" in the blank?
wouldn't it be possible to put "may not" or "might not" in the blank?


In this particular sentence, "may not be able to exchange it" and "might not be able to exchange it" sound perfectly natural to me, and also, to me, are perfectly accurate translations of the Japanese version.

"may not exchange it" sounds like you 100%, definitely cannot exchange it, and thus is not an accurate translation, I think.

"might not exchange it" is not an appropriate translation of the Japanese. This expression would usually only be used when referring to the decision of the person who owns the item, rather than the decision of the store which sold the item.
Ex: "At first, he didn't like the sweater, and planned to exchange it, but now he has come to like it, and so he might not exchange it."
I'm going to offer an alternative interpretation/explanation:

"May not" doesn't work because of two problems:

  1. Least important, you're mixing up present tense ("you may not exchange it") with an implied future tense. It's not terrible; everyone would be able to understand what you mean. But it definitely sounds off. "Can't" technically should suffer the same problem, in that case it would sound less off because "can't" is often used sloppily in casual speech where as "may" is not.
  2. "May not" refers specifically to permission, not possibility, and heavily implies that you yourself are imposing the restriction on the person you're talking to. If you are instead describing someone else's restriction, as in the case of a customer service representative telling a customer about the store's return policy, you would use the "allowed to" (e.g. "You're not allowed to eat here."), or say whether or not it's doable (with "can" or "able to", e.g. "You can't eat here.").

The meaning of "Otherwise, you might not exchange it" doesn't even make sense; it means, "Otherwise, there is a possibility that you will [of your own free will] not exchange it." It's redundant, because the person you're talking to already knows that they can make a choice.

In an attempt to make this more clear, "might" is essentially a prediction of a possible future event. It is not a word that addresses whether or not something is allowed, nor is it a word that addresses whether or not something is doable. So for example, if you were to say, "I might eat that sandwich," that does not mean that you are able to eat the sandwich; rather, it means that you haven't decided yet whether or not you are going to eat the sandwich. Alternatively, if you were to say, "John might drive drunk tonight," it doesn't mean that John is allowed to drive drunk, rather that you expect that to be a realistic possibility (perhaps because you know he drinks alcohol irresponsibly).
Ahh...I get it. I accidentally omitted "be able to".
Keep the receipt for your new skirt. Otherwise, you (          ) be able to exchange it.

In this case, you can put "may be" or "might be" in the blank, can't you?
If it's a friend or someone else unaffiliated with the place you would exchange the skirt at (which normally would be the same store you bought it in), that would be correct and normal, albeit not something you just randomly tell a friend in most cases. But if it's a customer service clerk, or someone else who works at the store, that terminology is wishy-washy and comes across as someone who is lazy and/or doesn't know how to do their job. A good employee would say you will not (or won't) be able to exchange it, a definitive statement, or at the very least tell you where or from whom you can find out the answer if they really don't know (e.g. "I think you might need your receipt to exchange it, but you can ask at customer service just to make sure").
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