"Fill in the blank with the appropriate modal in the following sentence" is one of the questions in an English test at a Japenese high school.

In the first years of his premiership, back in the 1960s, increasing business efficiency by installing air-conditioners in government buildings (     ) be the top priority.

What would be the correct answer?

 

Last edited by fujibei
Original Post
fujibei posted:

"Fill in the blank with the appropriate modal in the following sentence" is one of the questions in an English test at a Japenese high school.

In the first years of his premiership, back in the 1960s, increasing business efficiency by installing air-conditioners in government buildings (     ) be the top priority.

What would be the correct answer?

Hi, Fujibei,

What does "his premiership" refer to? The sentence clearly has some kind of context, and you haven't provided it.

The only modal that might make sense there is "had to." I suggest it tentatively, stressing that you haven't provided us with enough information:

"In the first years of his premiership, back in the 1960s, increasing business efficiency by installing air-conditioners in government buildings had to be the top priority."

 

There's no context given, but it seems to refer to the Japanese Prime Minister at that time whose priority was supposedly to increase business efficiency by installing air-conditioners in government buildings.

Doesn't "would" work in the blank?

fujibei posted:

Doesn't "would" work in the blank?

No, "would be" definitely doesn't work. "Would have been" would work, but "be" prevents it. If the answer has to be a modal, then the answer has to be "had to." Alternatively, the test makers could revise the question.

Last edited by David, Moderator

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