The sentence is

Yesterday he had to answer the questions.

I think that it doesn't necessarily mean he did it though he could have done it. I wonder if I am right. How to make the sentence mean that it had to be done and the action was performed using modal verbs if possible?

  • There really is no need to use modals since everything is in the past, and we have no other context to relate to.
    – user3169
    Jan 17 '17 at 19:02
  • Do you mean must have answered, VV? The vase is on the floor. It must have been knocked off the mantelpiece, maybe by the cat. Jan 17 '17 at 21:10

You could say

Yesterday he answered the questions.

Beyond that, it sort of implies that he did because if something had to have been done, then it probably will have been.

  • What would you say about "he was made to answer the questions "?
    – V.V.
    Jan 17 '17 at 19:28
  • Whoops I missed that one! Also equally correct.
    – x3dturtle
    Jan 17 '17 at 19:33
  • And "They had him answer the questions "? Does it mean the action was performed as well?
    – V.V.
    Jan 17 '17 at 19:35
  • The action was performed, but it implies that the actions were more willingly performed, as though the person answering the questions had some element of choice as to whether to complete the action or not. It is much less forceful.
    – x3dturtle
    Jan 17 '17 at 19:37
  • And "was made" has more "obligation ",you mean, right?And this action is also performed, right?
    – V.V.
    Jan 17 '17 at 19:41

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