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Thread: grammar

  1. #11
    CitySpeak Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    can't have
    may have
    must have

    ?
    Then the form "can't have+past participle" has not anything that works in direct opposition to it.

    I don't see how one imagines "must have+past partiple" working in opposition to "can't have+past participle". I would say the same for "may have+past participle".


  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    You can't have is perfectly normal BE. The positive is not used, we would use must have instead.
    Quote Originally Posted by CitySpeak
    I don't understand how "You must have seen him." is used as the opposite of "You can't have seen him."
    "The positive (i.e. You can have seen him) is not used, we would use must have instead." In other words, speakers do not use 'can have -en' forms, which tdol refers to as 'The positive' form of 'can't have -en' because it lacks negation, 'not'.

    To me, You can't have seen him = You couldn't have seen him.

    Moreover, to me, the opposite , or affirmative of 'can't have' is 'can have':

    Negative: You can't have that cake. (means, impossible)
    Affirmative: You can have that cake. (means, possible)

    But there is no 'can have -en',

    Negative: You can't have seen him. (means, impossible, OK)
    Affirmative: You can have seen him. (means, possible, Not OK)

    "You can have seen him is not Ok because 'can' must agree in Time with 'seen'==> "You could have seen him. In the case of "You can't have seen him", which is Ok, it differs in that the adverb 'not' serves to sever the relationship between 'can' and 'seen', like this,

    a. You can [do this] (e.g. You can [have the cake])
    b. You can [not have seen him]. S+V+O

    In b. the "not have seen him" functions as the object of the verb "can". compare, c. below, wherein "not have seen" functions as the verb phrase and "him" functions as the object of that phrase:

    c. You could not have seen [him]. S+V+O

    Let's compare the two,

    d. You can not have seen him. object
    e. You could not have seen him. object

    The difference between d. and e. has to do with structure. Some speakers view "can" as a verb (as in d.), whereas other speakers view "can" as a modal (as in e.) If speakers view "can" as a modal, then "can" must agree in Time with "seen" (i.e. could have seen); if speakers view "can" as a verb, then "can" need not agree in Time with "seen" because "seen" is not functioning as a verb; it's functioning as an object.

    :D

  3. #13
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Thanks for that- I did mean 'can have + past participle' is not used, where the negative is.

    BTW, Cas, why do linguists use '-en' for the past participle? I've always wondered. It doesn't seem the most obvious choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Thanks for that- I did mean 'can have + past participle' is not used, where the negative is.

    BTW, Cas, why do linguists use '-en' for the past participle? I've always wondered. It doesn't seem the most obvious choice.
    You're always welcome, tdol. :D

    About your question, I've one myself. Do you mean, instead of writing "have -ed" or do you mean, where did "-en" come from?

    To answer the first, to my knowledge, linguists generally write "have -ed/-en". (I chose "-en" as a means of saving time.) However, one reason some people might choose to write "have -en" may have something to do with the fact that '-en' is rare and hence may be more recognizable as a general symbol for the past participle markers -ed/-en, since the "-ed" suffix is commonly recognized as the past tense suffix.

    With regards to why the suffix -en is rare, here's a low-down on the Old English strong verb "seon" (see), the past participle of which took the suffix -en. (By the way, Old English weak verbs took -ed).

    Class 5 strong verb
    son (to see)

    Pres. Past
    Ind. Subj. Imp. Ind. Subj.
    Sg.1 so - seah
    2 sehst } so seoh swe } swe,
    3 seh - seah sge

    Pl. so son 2 so sawon swen

    Participle
    I sonde II gesewen, gesegen

    http://members.tripod.com/babaev/arc...ammar43.html#8

    :D

  5. #15
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Thanks- I meant the use of -en for the past participle. Have you studied Old English?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Thanks- I meant the use of -en for the past participle. Have you studied Old English?
    :D Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Old English, Middle English, Athapaskan languages (e.g. Navajo), Japanese, Korean, Romance (e.g. French, Spanish), and more. :D


    steorarum (m), Old English, cyberspace.

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  7. #17
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    That's quite an array.

  8. #18
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    Should I say Cas is smarter than me or Cas is smarter than I?

    :wink:

  9. #19
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Either or, for more emphasis, both. You can then add 'than I am' to finish the job. In my case, I think all three are required.

  10. #20
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    Cas is smarter than Tdol.

    :wink:

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