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Thread: Generic "will".

  1. #1
    M56 Guest

    Default Generic "will".

    "1. I am a carnivore and a predator though sometimes I will scavenge. I live in the Arctic where I stay by myself most of my life. I am well camouflaged in the snow, though my skin is actually black to absorb the heat of the sun. I will kill and eat seals and walruses, but I will also eat carrion, such as a dead whale. I love water and am such a strong swimmer that I can swim miles at a time. Who am I?"

    http://www.rogerwilliamsparkzoo.org/education/hunt.cfm

    How would the removal of "will" affect the meaning of the above passage? Would the writer's intended effect still be fully appreciated?

  2. #2
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Generic "will".

    Hello M56

    To my mind, the 'will' seems to express both a capacity and readiness to do XYZ. It also implies a certain inevitability.

    MrP

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Generic "will".

    I can`t see any futurity in this one. It does express willingness and ability, but is the carrion inevitable?

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    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Generic "will".

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I can`t see any futurity in this one. It does express willingness and ability, but is the carrion inevitable?
    Hmm. The qualified inevitability of animal behaviour, perhaps. It will kill and eat seals, if it can. A jackal will eat carrion, if it finds some. Boys will be boys. Girls will be girls. (It's a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.)

    MrP

  5. #5
    M56 Guest

    Default Re: Generic "will".

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic
    Hello M56

    To my mind, the 'will' seems to express both a capacity and readiness to do XYZ. It also implies a certain inevitability.

    MrP
    Yes, I agree on the readiness, etc thing, and we note how inevitability is strongly related to many uses of "will".

  6. #6
    M56 Guest

    Default Re: Generic "will".

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I can`t see any futurity in this one. It does express willingness and ability, but is the carrion inevitable?
    I guess it is if you are a polar bear.

    When there's nothing else around, polar bears tend to/will eat eat carrion.

    Is is innate? Built in? Generic?

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Generic "will".

    To me, it seems more of a concession- given the choice, it'd probably go for the fresk kill, but it'll scavange too. Maybe I'm glamourising the animal and it really couldn't give a stuff how it gets its lunch.

  8. #8
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Generic "will".

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    To me, it seems more of a concession- given the choice, it'd probably go for the fresk kill, but it'll scavange too. Maybe I'm glamourising the animal and it really couldn't give a stuff how it gets its lunch.
    Polar bears will eat berries and tundra vegetation too.

    They probably pick up carrion en route to the killing floes. If you're doing your shopping, you might pause to eat some of those little cubes of promotional cheese.

    MrP

  9. #9
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Generic "will".

    All right Mr. P,

    I'll eat cheese because I'm a bear, I'm a bear... and so is pola ee-o-a-way pola.

    Sorry, the combination of classic rock and puns is more than I can resist.
    Mike

  10. #10
    M56 Guest

    Default Re: Generic "will".

    Just posted this on another forum:

    "Will" for expressing generic qualities is found in many texts.

    "In a very good year when there is plenty of food, two chicks may survive. When food is scarce, the biggest chick will kill and eat the smaller ones."

    (Then, now and always. General time.)

    Here, it is not generic "will", it is future prediction:

    "About 160 adult wolves will kill and eat approximately 1,800 big game animals a year, Bangs predicted. That is an increase of 50 percent. "

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