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  1. #1
    ucetnanic is offline Newbie
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    Modal Dare and negation

    Hello,

    As far as I know

    She dare not write it. =
    She does not have the courage to write it.
    My question is: How do I say a sentence which uses modal dare and has this meaning:

    She has the courage not to write it at all.
    (by the way, is this sentence correct?)
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Richard1 is offline Member
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    Re: Modal Dare and negation

    Quote Originally Posted by ucetnanic View Post
    Hello,

    As far as I know

    She dare not write it. =
    She does not have the courage to write it.
    My question is: How do I say a sentence which uses modal dare and has this meaning:

    She has the courage not to write it at all.
    (by the way, is this sentence correct?)
    Thank you.
    Hi,

    I disagree with your opening. '...dare not' is not the same as not '...having the courage'.

    The two words have different meanings. To 'dare not' implies the subject is under pressure not to write and furthermore is quite prepared to succumb to that pressure and certainly won't write.

    Having the courage not to write implies that under the same pressure not to write, she is perfectly happy to ignore that pressure, and may or may not write - we can't tell from the short text given.

    Rgds

  3. #3
    ucetnanic is offline Newbie
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    Re: Modal Dare and negation

    Hi,

    what I was trying to do was to write two sentences - both with "modal dare" but one containing negated dare one with negated write.

  4. #4
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Modal Dare and negation

    Quote Originally Posted by ucetnanic View Post
    Hi,

    What I was trying to do was to write two sentences - both with "modal dare" but one containing negated dare one with negated write.
    Modal dare is rarely used affirmatively.

    You can say, "I daren't go, but I daren't not go"

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Modal Dare and negation

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard1 View Post

    I disagree with your opening. '...dare not' is not the same as not '...having the courage'.

    The two words have different meanings. To 'dare not' implies the subject is under pressure not to write and furthermore is quite prepared to succumb to that pressure and certainly won't write.
    Having the courage not to write implies that under the same pressure not to write, she is perfectly happy to ignore that pressure, and may or may not write - we can't tell from the short text given.
    I don't agree with you there, Richard.

    I think that 'dare not' is similar to 'not having the courage'.

    I daren't ask my boss for another day off
    I haven't the courage to ask my boss for another day off.


    I don't think there is any implication in the second that I might ask him.

  6. #6
    Richard1 is offline Member
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    Re: Modal Dare and negation

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I don't agree with you there, Richard.

    I think that 'dare not' is similar to 'not having the courage'.

    I daren't ask my boss for another day off
    I haven't the courage to ask my boss for another day off.


    I don't think there is any implication in the second that I might ask him.
    I agree with that but isn't there a subtle difference?

    In the original, "She has the courage not to write it at all", the task is a negative one, i.e. not writing, and the verb ''has' is positive.

    In your example you're asking for something positive, i.e. a day off, and the verb 'haven't' is negative.

    Somehow the two uses seem to distinguish themselves in my mind, but with so many negative and positives my brain's beginning to overheat and I'm now going round in circles.

    Regards

  7. #7
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Modal Dare and negation

    I think this is a case of what is, in my opinion, one of the biggest deficiencies of the English language. There is virtually no way of distinguishing between negating the modal and negating the main verb (if that's what it's called).

    "I must not do..." - usually "do" is negated. I have to say, "I don't have to do..." to negate the modality.

    "I cannot do..." - "can" is negated. I might say, "I am able not to do..." or, "I am allowed not to do..." to negate "do".

    It may not be the biggest problem for others but surely it irritates me most.

    I have found an interesting article: modal difficulties of teaching modals

  8. #8
    orangutan is offline Member
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    Re: Modal Dare and negation

    So in fact there are ways of distinguishing them. Or is the problem that some of them involve not using "proper modal verbs"?

  9. #9
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Modal Dare and negation

    Quote Originally Posted by orangutan View Post
    So in fact there are ways of distinguishing them. Or is the problem that some of them involve not using "proper modal verbs"?
    No, the (my) problem is that I need to change the modal verb and often have to use a long/complicated/formal construction to say what I want to say. The convenient word "can" that covers several types of modality can't be used to reword "I am able not to..." I need to extract the right type of modality from the word "can" to say it, which is inconvenient. The very change of the modal is incovenient too. (And illogical - to me.)

    Also, when I said, "distinguishing", I did not mean my speech. It's inconvenient but I will find my way to say what I want (perhaps ambiguously). The problem is with understanding. While there exist some rules of applying negation to modal sentences, they are not strict. It's not difficult to find utterances violating them, which means that there is room for ambiguity. Stress helps in those cases of course.

    It's not a big problem; it's the biggest.

  10. #10
    orangutan is offline Member
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    Re: Modal Dare and negation

    OK, I see. Though I believe the forms you are looking for do exist in dialects. For example from Scottish English (this is remembered from a lecture, I am not a speaker myself, and may well have remembered certain things wrongly):

    - She can nae be there. (it is not possible that she is there)
    - She can no be there. (it is possible that she is not there)

    In general, I don't think the problem you are talking about is confined to modals (as commonly defined in TEFL). It occurs, for example, with "think":

    - I don't think Newcastle will win the Champions League in the next few years.
    (= I think that they won't)

    Not sure what this shows, and I am certainly not disagreeing with you. But for what it is worth...

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