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Table of contents Chapter 20 20.2.4 No freedom of choice

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Chapter 20: Modal verbs (Auxiliaries)

  20.2.4 No freedom of choice, if the room for manoeuvre is determined by a logical consequence

We can go on in this line of logic and determine the difference even more clearly by enhancing it into the absurd. If the logical consequence doesn't leave any room for manoeuvre, we'll have constructions like the following.

  Example:

incorrect: El tanque estaba vacío, así que debimos dejar el coche ahí.
= The tank was empty therefore we should leave the car there.
correct: El tanque estaba vacío, así que tuvimos que dejar el coche ahí.
=
The tank was empty therefore we had to leave the car there.

The first sentence doesn't make any sense since it suggests that there might have been another chance than to leave the car there, but there was not.

  More examples:

incorrect: Estuvo enfermo, incapaz de moverse, así que debió quedarse en casa.
=
He was sick, unable to move, therefore he should stay at home.
correct: Estuvo enfermo, incapaz de moverse, así que tuvo que quedarse en casa.
=
He was sick, unable to move, therefore he had to stay at home.

incorrect: Se tiene que ir a la escuela, pero también se lo puede dejar.
=
You have to go to school but you can also leave it.
correct: Se debe ir a la escuela, pero también se puede dejarlo.
=
You should go to school but you can also leave it.


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