modals referring to past time?

This question has been answered · 5 replies
Anonymous:
you shouldn't have walked about the city alone. you...........

a) might get lost
b) might have gotten lost
c) would have gotten lost
d) could get lost

should'nt have v3 = unfulfilled obligation, so i think the true answer c , is is true?
thanks...
Approved answer (verified by )
The first sentence refers to a past activity and says that the activity was not wise.
The second sentence explains why it was not wise by presenting an alternate possible outcome of the past activity. For that you need (b) might have gotten.

You could also use "could have gotten", but that wasn't one of the choices given.
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Anonymous:
Hi,
I felt C could have been the right answer. The reason (I feel it could be faulty) is that if the situation involves a son and a father and the son happens to be new to the city and doesn't know where is where, and upon coming back somehow after a walkabout (?), his father says this.
one more thing: not just conditional, but can we use the modal 'would' to indicate certainty?
You shouldn't have walked about the city alone, (if you did which is what you did ), you ..

Original question:

you shouldn't have walked about the city alone. you..

a) might get lost
b) might have gotten lost
c) would have gotten lost
d) could get lost
The sentence "You shouldn't have walked about the city alone" simply refers to a past fact (i.e. "you walked about the city alone"). The word "shouldn't" indicates the speaker's advice (i.e. "That was not a good idea"). In other words, the sentence does not express a condition; it expresses an opinion/gives advice.

The second sentence explains the reason for the advice. Basically, it simply states that another/different result was a real possibility at a specific time in the past (i.e. when you went out alone). It does not change the condition/fact; it adds a possible result.

Option (c) could be used to state the probable or expected result if something contrary to the past fact had happened. In other words, option (c) could work if you changed the condition:

Past fact: "You did not go out alone."
Contrary to past fact (counter-factual condition): "If you had gone out alone..."
Expected result of fulfilling the counter-factual condition: "...you would have gotten lost."
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Anonymous:
no.. true answer is b.
Anonymous:
shouldn't have = advice that came after the fact.... the person did walk around the city.....so the answer is b) might have = probability (refering to the past) ....... there was a possibility that the person could get lost. But didn't.
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