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Judging from the gorgeous shrines and temples, it ( ) exciting to have lived in the Heian period.

1. must be
2. must have been
3. should be
4 should have been

The correct answer was only 2. To me, all seem to work fine. This question was made by a non-native speaker of English.
Don't any of the options work?Emotion: cat
1 2
Comments  
The Heian period has already passed, so the first choice seems to me not right because refers to present. Furthermore, no one who lives could have lived in that age. The third one refers to future, and the last one means we had a choice in the past to do it.
I am not so sure about it, so I may be wrong.
Yes, only 2, because it's only one which says "it's very probable that it was so and so"

Also, I'd have used:

Judging from the gorgeous shrines and temples, it must have been exciting to live in the Heian period.
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Myle is right.
The correct answer was only 2.
You want: The only correct answer was 2. Emotion: smile

Yes. That's true. The only correct answer is 2.

The sentence contains to have lived, a reference to the past, and the Heian period, another reference to the past, so answers 1 and 3 are impossible, as they do not indicate past time.

The next question is whether being exciting was a logical conclusion (must) from the data given (gorgeous shrines and temples). It certainly seems to be. Such beautiful structures would most likely have generated a lot of excitement in their day, as they still do. So must have been is correct.

The remaining question is whether we can eliminate should have been as an answer. Probably the first idea that comes to mind with should have been is the idea of an unfulfilled obligation. Something did not happen that was supposed to happen. Something did not happen that it was someone's duty to make happen. This is the 'counterfactual' reading of should have been.

Examples:

It's not like Henry to be so late. He should have been here an hour ago.
(He is not here. It was his duty to be here an hour ago.)
There's something wrong with this cake. It should have been sweeter. Oops! I think I forgot to add the sugar!
(The cake is not as sweet as it is supposed to be -- not as sweet as it was expected to be.)

The examples show that It should have been exciting can bring up the counterfactual idea of It was not exciting, but it was supposed to be. Clearly, this is not the intention of the original sentence.

On the other hand, there is a non-counterfactual reading of should have been which is similar to must have been. Here the emphasis is on the expectation meaning of should.

It must have been exciting. (The only possible conclusion is that it was exciting.)
It should have been exciting. (The expectation is that it was exciting.)

So, while it seems that should have been might be a correct answer, it can only make sense when we take should have been in a much less used sense. That is, we have to interpret it in an unusual way to make sense of it, so it's best to consider it as incorrect for the purposes of this particular question.

CJ
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CalifJimSo, while it seems that should have been might be a correct answer, it can only make sense when we take should have been in a much less used sense. That is, we have to interpret it in an unusual way to make sense of it, so it's best to consider it as incorrect for the purposes of this particular question.
Ah, ok. I was starting to worry, becuse I would have said both #2 and #4 were possible. Without context, #2 is probably the best one... but that's another crappy multiple choice question, there's a lot. I would also have said "exciting to live", not "exciting to have lived"... I don't like multiple choice questions, they are no use. Hey Teleostomi, #3 is good too, btw:
Judging from the gorgeous shrines and temples, it should be exciting to live in the Heian period. You nkow what? I changed my mind, I'm coming with you. Let's get that time machine started... Heian period, here we come!

LOL Emotion: wink

Kooyeen,

The time machine idea is very imaginative, but I think the test-givers expect the test-takers to remain squarely in the current world -- not to imagine all kinds of metaphysically possible worlds! Emotion: smile

CJ
what do we do when do a test we don't understand them?
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