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I would like to check how native speakers will answer the following exam questions:

1- Oh, no! That _____ be the time! I am so late.

Here I was asked to choose between "might, must, can't". Which one is correct and which one is wrong and why?

2- You look happy! You _______ have received some good news!

Here I had to choose between "must, could and can't". I chose "must", but I am not sure whether it is the correct answer. Could you tell me if my choice was correct or wrong?

In the same exam, I was asked another confusing question.

2- You look very thin! ____ you_____ well lately?

I had to choose between the following:

a. Haven't ... felt b. Didn't...feel c. Haven't... been feeling

To be honest, both a and c made sense to me! It was confusing. Which one would be chosen by a native speaker of English?

In the same English exam, I have been asked to choose between "so and so that" to fill in the blank in the following sentence:

I am studying hard _____ I can do well in my exams!

This was confusing too because the answer here should be 'so that', but I know that every occurrence of 'so that' can be replaced with 'so' without losing meanings, but not vice versa. Is that true?

closed as too broad by Andrew, Laure, StoneyB, Glorfindel, Catija May 9 '17 at 21:43

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This question seems a little too broad, since these test questions don't relate to each other -- they test your understanding of different natural expressions. Perhaps pick one so we can talk about general usage and not just whether you got the answer correct? – Andrew May 9 '17 at 18:28
  • I agree with Andrew. Why not focus just on the modals (must, might, can't) and eliminate the other questions. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 9 '17 at 18:29
  • I know the difference between the things mentioned very well, but I just found the sentences mentioned really confusing, and I need to check their answers with someone who is a native speaker of English. – Farah H. Yaseen May 9 '17 at 18:30
  • Rather than stackexchange, maybe HiNative (hinative.com) is what you're looking for? You can clarify simple things with native speakers on that site. I find it quite useful myself to clarify small things like this with the languages I'm learning. – tamayura May 9 '17 at 18:32
  • But they take ages to reply! – Farah H. Yaseen May 9 '17 at 18:44
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1) Oh, no! That (might / must / can't) be the time! I am so late.

The answer to the first one is can't. While all three versions of the sentence read grammatically, when someone looks at their watch and realizes they have lingered somewhere longer than they should have, the word used in this phrasing is can't. Essentially, the phrase "That can't be the time!" is about the equivalent of "I can't believe how late it is!"


2) You look very thin! Haven't you been feeling well lately?

You are correct; you could replace been feeling with felt and the sentence would still sound acceptable to most native speakers. But the person's current condition makes the problem seem like it might have been going on for some time, so been feeling sounds better, I think.


3) I am studying hard so (that) I can do well in my exams!

I agree with what you said about this sentence: you could use so that, or shorten it to simply so. However, as for this assertion:

I know that every occurrence of 'so that' can be replaced with 'so' without losing meanings, but not vice versa. Is that true?

Very few "rules" in English are true without exception, so I'm hesitate to agree with your statement about "every" occurrence. In fact, I might say:

He really liked his job in the restaurant, so that is why he decided to become a chef.

You can't replace so that with so in that sentence and still have it sound good:

He really liked his job in the restaurant, so* is why he decided to become a chef.

However, if you remove the "is why" part, the sentence can work, and the meaning doesn't change much, if at all:

He really liked his job in the restaurant, so he decided to become a chef.

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