Speculating about past events
'It must have been a UFO.'
Imagine that you go to your friend's house, but when you knock on her door there is noanswer. You then notice that her car is not there, so the conclusion you come to is thatshe
must have gone
out.Let's take a look at that last part again: she must have gone out
(must + have + pastparticiple)
This form is used when we are speculating about past events i.e. we don't know for surewhat happened, but have an idea.In the above sentence
is a modal auxiliary verb which shows we are pretty sureabout what happened. If we are not so sure, we use 'She
could have gone
out' or 'She
might have gone
out'.Let's look at some other examples:
'Paul looks tired, he must have been out late last night.'
'I could have won the race if I had trained harder.'
'He might have gotten really sick if he hadn't started taking care of hishealth.'
'She may have taken the day off, because I haven't seen her today.
'I saw a strange light in the sky last night. It could have been a UFO!