How to interpret the time of an "example" sentence?
I have found that most texts use examples (eg. particular situations) to introduce or explain something, but my problem is that if an example sentence can refer to the present or future, what the time of the example sentence is.
"If A owns two pieces of land and later sub-leases one piece to B (condition-clause), A may impose covenants on B (result-clause).
These covenants will be enforceable by A or his successor in title against B."
The first sentence: the condition-clause is in the present simple, but it can also refer to the future as "will" is normally omitted from if-clauses. The result-clause contains a non-action verb "impose". Thus, "may impose" can mean "perhaps, imposes" in the present or mean "perhaps, will impose" in the future.
The second sentence: it can refer to the present as "will" can mean "can" in the present. It can also refer to the future as according to the context, the act in the second sentence is subject to the result-clause in the first sentence.
So how can I interpret the time of the example sentences?
Please help. Thanks
Re: How to interpret the time of an "example" sentence?
Dear Gillnetter, many thanks for the detailed explanation.
(Oh … you may be a law expert!)
How is that if the author does not intend to state a legal rule (eg. If a condition is met, the result for it will always occur), but intends to quote an example (a hypothetic situation) to illustrate how a legal rule can be applied?
"If A owns two pieces of land and sells one piece to B, A may want B to use the land sold in a particular way (<- an example). A can achieve this land use control under Rule 1 (<- application of a rule to the example situation)”
Can I say that:-
- "A owns two pieces of land and is selling one piece to B, and during the sale, perhaps, A wants B to use the land sold in a particular way."
- "A will own two pieces of land and will sell one piece to B, and during the sale, perhaps, A will want B to use the land sold in a particular way."
My personal answer is that as the author uses "if A owns ...", not "A owns ...", so theoretically, A does not own land, and the author assumes that A will own land and will sell one piece of it. So the example situation should refer to future. Right?
P.S.: This kind of examples are always in texts. My problem is which time (present or future) of such an example situation is normally intended by an author.
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