A: Have you heard? Tom's mother died last night.

B: Poor Tom. He _________ feeling terrible. They were very close.

(must be / must have been)

My answer for this is: Poor Tom. He "must be" feeling terrible.

In my opinion, "must have been" shouldn't be used here because its tense is in Present Perfect Progressive and it can't be used with a sentence that has a time expression just like "last night."

But still, I am confused. Any help and opinions will be much appreciated. Thank you!

1 Answer 1


A rather morbid subject, but let's run with it...

Tom's mother must have been feeling terrible. So much so, she died.
Strictly speaking, she is no longer feeling terrible.

Tom, on the other hand is still around to feel terrible.

So... "Poor Tom, he must be feeling terrible" is correct.
I very much doubt he would have stopped feeling terrible by the following morning.

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