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#1. --I tried in vain to look for you for two hours. Where did you go?

--I ____ my uncle's.

A. may have stayed B. must have stayed

The suggested answer is B. My question: Why can we use A here?

Two other questions:

#2. Since he has been preparing a long time, he ____ pass the final exams smoothly.

A. must B. should

The suggested answer is B. Can we use A here?

#3. If the level of the men's football is able to break through, Chinese sports will be the first class in the world.

Do you think the sentence is natural? Is break through correctly used here?

Comments  
Anyone who can answer these questions?
1. Both are possible, but it should be "at my uncle's". "may" means that the person isn't sure where they were at the time (or is being evasive), but the given explanation -- that they were at their uncle's -- is one possibility. "must" also means that the person doesn't exactly know, but further implies that the given explanation seems the only possible one that explains why the first person couldn't find them.

The question "Where did you go?" feels as if it's talking about the recent past, so it seems slightly odd that the person wouldn't know where they were. It may be that the word "stayed" is incorrect; this implies an overnight stay at minimum. If "stayed" was "been" then the dialogue would be more realistic.

2. "must" is far less likely. "must" means he's obliged to pass; "should" means he's expected to pass. (Edit: In colloquial speech, "must" is sometimes used to mean that something seems a certainty -- "I studied so hard -- I must pass!" -- but I don't think that's the intention of this sentence.)

3. "break through" makes sense by itself (meaning surge in success), but to me it seems slightly odd to say that the "level" will break through. "standard" might be a better word. "will be the first class in the world" isn't quite right either.
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#1. --I tried in vain to look for you for two hours. Where did you go?

--I ____ at my uncle's.

A. may have stayed B. must have stayed

I don't think this is a good sentence. In my opinion, we should say:

--I tried in vain to find you for two hours. Where have you been?

--I should be at my uncle's.

#2. Since he has been preparing a long time, he __ pass the final exams smoothly.

A. must B. should

Not good sentence, either. In my opinion, we should say:

Since he has been preparing for a long time, he should be able to pass the final exams smoothly.

#3. If the level of the men's football is able to break through, Chinese sports will be the first class in the world.

Not good sentence, either. In my opinion, we should say:

If the men's football can make more breakthroughs, Chinese sports will reach the first class in the world.

What do you think? Can you suggest some other way to express the same ideas?

As a native speaker, do you think these sentences are natural? Can you suggest some other sentences with the same meaning?
wangqh2696122
As a native speaker, do you think these sentences are natural? Can you suggest some other sentences with the same meaning?

1. In real life, I'd probably just say "I was looking for you for two hours. Where did you go?". The fact that it was "in vain" will be obvious to both parties, so there's no need to say it. "trying to look for you" is slightly illogical.

The response -- "I may/must have stayed at my uncle's" -- is natural English, but, per my earlier reply, seems odd as a response to this question. To identify the most natural response, one would need to know more about the exact circumstances.

2. It would be more usual to say "Since he has been preparing for a long time, he should pass the final exams smoothly." The original is not actually wrong, though.

3. This could be amended to "If the standard of men's football is able to break through, Chinese sport will be at a top-class international level." But what is it actually trying to say? Will football alone elevate the whole of Chinese sport to the top level?
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Wonderful explanation!