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Hi. I am wondering how I can paraphrase the sentence (1)? Does it mean (2) or (3)? I can't interpret (1) properly. Please help me. 

(1) Dad must have been watching TV a short while before I came into the room.

     (from Azar and Hagen, 5th edition)

(2) I am 95% sure dad was watching TV for a short time before I came into the room.

(3) I am 95% sure dad had been watching TV for a short time before I came into the room.

Original Post

Hi, schmom,

The correct paraphrase of (1) is (3) because the use of an adverbial of duration (a short while) and the sequence of events require the use of a perfect form of the verb. Notice this other sentence:

(4) Dad must have been watching TV when I came into the room.

(This expresses simultaneity and can be paraphrased as: I am 95% sure Dad was watching TV when I came into the room = He was probably watching TV when I cam in.)

Sentence (1) thus means that, in all likelihood, the speaker's dad had already been watching TV a short while when the speaker came in.

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor

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