Context checking for must have and might have

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Context checking for must have and might have

Unread postby santiagojohnson » 31 May 2005, 13:21

Hi Madam Lucy,

I am a recently qualified CELTA candidate and l have to teach the difference between the following concepts to my students.

They must have gone out vs They might have gone out.

I need to create some sort of context for these 2 to identify the difference and then obviuosy some questions to check the student understanding. Can you help?

Kind Regards

Santiago Johnson
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Might have gone out and must have gone out

Unread postby Lucy » 16 Jun 2005, 15:47

Dear Santiago,

They might have gone out is used when it is possible the people have gone out. Of course, we are not sure about this.

They must have gone out is used when the only logical explanation for where the people are is: « they have gone out ». However, we are still not sure that this is the case.

You could create a situation using a story, dialogue or pictures where somebody is asking where Alex and Mike are.

A: do you know where Alex and Mike are?
B: No I don’t. They might have gone out.

In the second dialogue, A and B have spent some time looking for Alex and Mike.

A: do you know where Alex and Mike are?
B: No, have you looked in the kitchen?
A: yes.
B: No, have you looked in the living room?
A: Yes.
Etc.

You could build up the story or dialogue with the students by showing them flash cards of rooms and indicating that the response is negative each time. You can then say:

I really don’t know where they are, they must have gone out.

As concept check questions for they must have gone out, you could use:

Are Mike and Alex in the house? We’re not sure.
Do A and B know where Mike and Alex are? No
Where do A and B think they are? They think they’ve gone out.
Are A and B sure? No

You could also use percentages to indicate level of certainty. With might have gone out, the level of certainty is low. Whereas with must have gone out, the level of certainty is much higher but still not at 100% certain. You could ask students to discuss in pairs and decide on a percentage that indicates level of certainty.

I hope this will help. I can’t give you a more detailed answer as I don’t know the age and level of your students.
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