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Doing some grammar exercises I noticed the example with modals:

Where should I have put the cheese? In the fridge?

The other one came to my mind (though it wasn't present in the book):

Where did I have to put the cheese?

Is there any difference between the two? I'm really kind of struggling to find any

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"Where should I have put the cheese? In the fridge?", sounds like you have put the cheese in the wrong place and you think the right place to put it was in the fridge.

Alice: "Why have you put the cheese in the cupboard?"

Bob: "Where should I have put the cheese? In the fridge?"

"Where did I have to put the cheese?" sounds like you still have the cheese and you have forgotten where you need to put it.

Alice: "Have you put the cheese away yet?"

Bob: "Where did I have to put the cheese?"

(Bob would probably actually say, "Where did I have to put it?" in this example.)

  • A very good answer. Any grammar to back it up? – SovereignSun Mar 22 '17 at 14:55
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    @SovereignSun Nope. I have no formal qualifications in English. My only expertise in this subject is that I have been speaking British English exclusively for 44 years. I believe the view of an untrained English speaker can sometimes be beneficial. – RedPython Mar 22 '17 at 15:12
  • It's also possible that "Where did I have to put the cheese?" is a question about a requirement in the past: I had to put the cheese in the box. Where did I have to put the cheese? – stangdon Mar 22 '17 at 15:41
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Yes, there is a difference.

"Should" and "should have" suggest that the right action has not been taken and can't be taken now. It is about something in the past.

"I should have remembered to put the cheese away last night." This suggests I didn't and it has now melted or molded or the mice have gotten to it.

"Have to" suggests that the right action has not yet been taken but can be. It is about something in the future. "I have to put the cheese away."

  • it's also a good reply. thank you for that. upvoted – xenn_33 Mar 22 '17 at 19:31

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