2

[13ia]He mustn’t have done it deliberately.
[13ib]He can’t have done it deliberately
. . .
[14] i A: What has happened to Ed? B: He must have overslept. [subjective]
      ii If I'm older than Ed and Ed is older than Jo, I must be older than Jo. [objective]
. . .
Because of the pragmatic weakening found with subjective must, [13ia] is not pragmatically equivalent to [ib], which is stronger, more categorical. Can’t would be preferred when the matter is regarded as obvious and particularly in denying something that has been asserted (He says it was Jill but it can’t have been), with mustn’t used - by those for whom it is not restricted to deontic modality - when it’s a question of arriving at a negative conclusion (He mustn’t have told her after all).(CGEL, p181)

The bolded part is hard to understand.

(1) To where is with mustn’t used connected syntactically?
(2) Is it saying the example He musn’t have told her after all has not deontic but epistemic modality?

Would you explain the overall meaning of the bolded part?

(* I mis-wrote epidemic below for epistemic: I'm much obliged to snailboat for correcting the word above.)

enter image description here

  • 2
    (1) Temporarily ignore the "parenthetical" - by those for whom it is not restricted to deontic modality -, then interpret with mustn’t used as a slightly stylised turn of phrase which could be directly replaced by and mustn't is used. (2) Yes, it's saying that some speakers don't restrict their use of mustn't to contexts involving what people may/ought to do. Those people are happy to say, for example "X mustn't be true" in contexts where they've concluded it's simply not possible for X to be true (regardless of whether X being true is "permissible" or not). – FumbleFingers Oct 29 '13 at 0:19
  • @FumbleFingers, Thank you Mr. Fumblefingers. A replier in Korean website told me to ask this question and got wonderful answer, and feedback it to her. I guess you and StoneyB might be a bit famous in the site, for I now and then quote your sayings. – Listenever Oct 29 '13 at 1:39
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers Is "mustn't" used this way in BrE? In AmE my impression is that it's never contracted in this sense; you have to say must not and mustn't is reserved for deontics. – StoneyB Oct 29 '13 at 3:11
  • @StoneyB, Thank you very much. For your comment I've been improved the understanding, AND the bottom of 181 page is flowering full of both of your explanations. – Listenever Oct 29 '13 at 4:06
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers I think epistemic must is fairly common over here: "I thought Ryan was gonna be here. He musta had to stay late." "I thought Ryan was gonna be here. He musnotta gotten my email." Musnotta has the same prosody as field hockey or bartender. – StoneyB Oct 30 '13 at 0:39
2
  1. Temporarily ignore the parenthetical “by those for whom it is not restricted to deontic modality”, then interpret “with mustn’t used” as a slightly stylised turn of phrase which could be directly replaced by “and mustn’t is used.”
  2. Yes, it’s saying that some speakers don’t restrict their use of mustn't to contexts involving what people may/ought to do. Those people are happy to say, for example, “X mustn’t be true” in contexts where they’ve concluded that it’s simply not possible for X to be true (regardless of whether X being true is “permissible” or not).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.