Mary isn't slow, she just won the race!
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Expressing Degrees of Certainty in the Negative

1.In American speech Degrees of Certainty means how confident you are about how correct a statement is - you are saying.

2. Degrees of Certainty in the negative means how confident we are that a specific topic is not true.



If you are 100% sure the topic you are discussing is not correct, use is not or isn't. "Is" is used for a statement of fact. (Examples 1 and 2)

1. Tom isn't sad.

2. Mary isn't slow, she just won the race.

If you are 90% sure the topic you are discussing is not correct, use could not or couldn't.

Couldn't is used when you believe the possibility of the topic being true is very small.

Could is also used if you are sure the topic is not true but you have no evidence to prove your opinion. (Examples 3 and 4)

3. Seth couldn't be blind, he just read a magazine.

4. Seth couldn't be starving, he just ate lunch.

If you are 80% sure the topic you are discussing is not correct, use must not be.

Similar to couldn't be, you have no evidence to support your opinion. You have a strong belief.

The difference between must not be and couldn't be is that you are thinking more logically when using must be.

Question: I thought he was fast? He just lost the race.

Answer: He must not be.

If you are 60% sure the topic you are discussing is not correct, use may not be or might not be.

You are discussing suspicious or uncertain thoughts about the topic.

Question: I thought she was going to Harvard University?

Answer: She may not be.

Your team must not be good, they just lost the game.
 
Exercise
Choose the correct Degree of Certainty for each sentence. Look at the percentage next to the question, then look above to match the Degree of Certainty with the percentage. The first sentence has been completed for you. The exercise will be said in full on the Exercise Answers page. English Logic will put a checkmark ) next to your correct answers.
1.
100%
Mike a girl's name.
2.
60%
Tom with Mary.
3.
100%
My dad sick.
4.
90%
Your shoes in the closet.
5.
100%
Tom sad.
6.
60%
John on time if he woke up early.
7.
100%
Seth late.
8.
100%
Ann at the store.
9.
60%
Jake at home.
10.
90%
Your keys on the table.


You have right answers out of .

Score: %


 

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