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Mrs. Woods ....... New York very well. She has lived there all her life.

a. must have known
b. must know
c. should have known
d. should know

The test answer key says b is the right option. But I think both b and d can be correct.

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    It's a stupid test. Although the relevant contexts are less likely, there certainly are situations where a and c would be perfectly valid. And even for the most likely contexts, it's ridiculous to suppose that d is any "better, more right" than b. – FumbleFingers Aug 10 '16 at 12:57
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    @Cardinal: Not sure what you mean by that. We could be in a context where Mrs Woods still lives in NY, and the speaker is tallking about when he went there to visit her last year. He might be expressing surprise that when he asked her if she would come to meet him at Grand Central Station when he arrived, she said she didn't know how to get there. In which case you could reasonably say that (a) carries a stronger implication that she was lying for some reason, where (c) perhaps implies that she doesn't take much notice of her environment (and/or doesn't get out much), – FumbleFingers Aug 10 '16 at 14:16
  • @FumbleFingers 1:I deleted the comment since It was plainly wrong, sorry. #2: I meant that shouldn't we use "must" since it has more certainty? OK, thanks – Cardinal Aug 10 '16 at 14:20
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    @Cardinal: In some contexts, the response I should think so! implies absolute certainty that I do in fact think whatever it is, but few people would ever use I must think so! in such contexts to "more accurately" reflect that certainty. English words in the whole general area of volition, obligation, and likelihood are often extremely fluid in terms of exactly what nuances they carry (it being an area where speakers often want to be imprecise, or even to willfully mislead). – FumbleFingers Aug 10 '16 at 14:39
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It's a stupid test. Although the relevant contexts are less likely, there certainly are situations where a and c would be perfectly valid. And even for the most likely contexts, it's ridiculous to suppose that d is any "better, more right" than b.

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Must X means X is required to or has to happen, without a doubt.

Should X means X is expected to happen, but there could be a small chance it doesn't - or the information is second hand so you don't actually 100% know for sure.

Mrs. Woods must know New York very well. She has lived there all her life.

We are saying that Mrs. Woods has to know New York very well.

Mrs. Woods should know New York very well. She has lived there all her life.

We are saying that we expect Mrs. Woods to know New York very well. Perhaps we haven't met Mrs. Woods personally or for some other reason there's a bit (even if just a tiny, tiny bit) of doubt. Other conversation would have to establish this doubt.


This is a tricky test question, but in test questions, you are supposed to go by the information in the question. So this is why the test says must know because there's nothing casting doubt in the provided information of the question.

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