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Thread: Subjunctive

  1. #31
    lauralie2 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Response to # 29

    5
    (The field is blank because you responded inside the quoted portion of the text. )

  2. #32
    corum is offline Banned
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    Re: Subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    If we agree that was in if I was you is not subjunctive, then surely should is not subjunctive? Or, if should is subjunctive, as you maintain (because it is used putatively), then surely was must be?


    The past subjunctive form of 'be' is 'were'. The past tense indicative form of 'be' is 'was. From this we can safely say that 'was' is no subjunctive.
    Pure modal auxiliaries have one (others say two) forms. When no change takes place in form, we can only guess at from the meaning whether subjunctive is used.
    As I have already suggested, there are several factors that play a role in the speaker's choice of inflectional system.

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    However, I have to admit that your analysis is not as unjustified as I thought originally. Dammit! I have done your arguing for you.

  3. #33
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by lauralie2 View Post
    (The field is blank because you responded inside the quoted portion of the text. )
    I don't know what has happened. I responded with my normal '5' outside the quoted portion of the text, and post #30 is reading properly when I look at it. If it is still not reading properly for you, let me know. I'll send it to you as a PM

  4. #34
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    Re: Subjunctive

    Well, Corum (and Pokemon and lauralie),

    I don't think I have anything else to say - I have repeated myself enough already.

    We will have to agree to differ, though our differences are, I feel, far smaller than may have appeared at first.

    I still feel personally that to speak of should as a subjunctive form is pointless, but I have accepted that it is logically possible to consider should, in some utterances, to be a subjunctive form.

    Unless you come up with some startling new revelation, I shall take my leave.

    Thanks for the interesting discussion.

  5. #35
    Pokemon is offline Member
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    Re: Subjunctive

    My dear colleagues, I never wrote that I consider 'should' as a subjunctive form in the sentence being discussed. Let me state my position on the issue. First of all, modality can be expressed both grammatically (through different of moods) and lexically (through modal verbs, expressions, etc.). Grammar deals with classes of word-forms, lexicology - with individual words. What is 'should' in the construction 'Should you ..., let me know' - a modal verb or a mood auxiliary? Among its various meanings 'should' has an epistemic one, which finds expression in this very sentence. A mood is a tool for expressing modality. Since the modal meaning is already expressed lexically, through a modal verb, what do we need a mood for? Let me show you a context where 'should' is used as a mood auxiliary: "I demand that the letter should be sent at once". Here 'should' correlates with the form 'be sent' (I demand that the letter be sent at once) which can easily be substituted for it without changing the meaning of the sentence in any way. And on this pattern we can create thousands of different sentences, which means that here we deal with a grammatical category and not an individual lexical unit. Therefore, 'should' in the latter sentence is a mood auxiliary. Which mood? The imperative one expressed by the word-forms classified as belonging to the Old Subjunctive. I suggested at the beginning of the discussion that you state your position on what is modality and mood, etc. But you said that those were too theoretical issues and quoted some primitive definitions contained in practical English grammars not intended as sources for such debates at all.

  6. #36
    lauralie2 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokemon View Post
    I suggested at the beginning of the discussion that you state your position on what is modality and mood, etc. But you said that those were too theoretical issues and quoted some primitive definitions contained in practical English grammars not intended as sources for such debates at all.
    Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. Thank you.

  7. #37
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    Re: Subjunctive

    Well, I am back again, though not for the original discussion, but to respond to a couple of points Pokemon made.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pokemon View Post
    But you said that those were too theoretical issues
    I can't find where I said that. However, myopia comes with old age. In which post was that?

    and quoted some primitive definitions
    A definition of 25 or so words is not going to cover every aspect of the subjunctive that can be imagined, but it seemed to be a starting point. To describe that definition as 'primitive is perhaps a matter of opinion. Anybody joining the discussion could have suggested another. You did not do so then; would you care to suggest something else now?

    contained in practical English grammars not intended as sources for such debates at all.
    I didn't present them as a 'source for debate'. I wrote, "I thought I'd start us off with a definition or two from a third party", following your suggestion 'to describe the characteristics of class B'
    As I explained fairly early on, "I quote other authors, not to prove my point but to show that I am not alone in my views. Also, these authors make the point more succinctly than I can. (You may have noticed that I tend to become a little verbose)."

  8. #38
    Pokemon is offline Member
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    Re: Subjunctive

    It was in post 9.

  9. #39
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    Re: Subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokemon View Post
    It was in post 9.
    This is what my post #9 (copied and posted without alteration) says:

    "Do you believe that modality can be expressed both grammatically and lexically or only grammatically?
    In a wider sense of the word modality, yes. However, the original question was The problem to be discussed is whether 'should' is a subjunctive form or not when it's used in a construction like "Should you change your mind, let me know". I fear that we may get sidetracked into a discusssion on modality. This might not be totally irrelevant, but I hope we can all stick closely to discussing the original question.

    I'll take a break now until others have had a chance to catch up. Back tomorrow. "

    If you feel that you can say of this, "you said that those were too theoretical issues", then we are speaking different languages.

    Incidentally, you said in post #35 "I suggested at the beginning of the discussion that you state your position on what is modality and mood, etc." What you actually said at the beginning (post #1) was: "The problem to be discussed is whether 'should' is a subjunctive form or not when it's used in a construction like "Should you change your mind, let me know". To decide whether A belongs to class B, we need: 1)To describe the characteristics of class B; 2) To prove that A has or doesn't have those characteristics."

    In Post #8, i.e. not at the beginning of the discussion, you asked Corum and me to answer a question (your own words); you did not present it as a suggestion. : "Would you please answer the following question: Do you believe that modality can be expressed both grammatically and lexically or only grammatically? By the way, according to protocol, forum members following the discussion are welcome to ask questions to the opponents."

    In post #9, I answered that question briefly.

    I enjoyed the discussion with Corum, but I foresee no enjoyment in further explanation of what you and I said or did not say, so I shall leave you for other things.

  10. #40
    Pokemon is offline Member
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    Re: Subjunctive

    I'd like to thank all those who took part in the discussion. It was a most enjoyable conversation. I'm sorry for Mr. Fivejedjon who left a little upset but that seems to be his way. Look forward to having more debates in the future.
    Last edited by Pokemon; 06-Dec-2010 at 17:50.

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