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Thread: grammar

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    Should I say Cas is smarter than me or Cas is smarter than I?

    :wink:

    Cas is neither.

    _________
    Descriptive grammar
    "I" with a verb: smarter than I am. :D
    "me" without a verb: smarter than me. :D
    (e.g. between you and me) :D

    Prescriptive grammar
    "I" after than: smarter than I. :D
    "me" never after than: smarter than me. :(
    (e.g. between you and me) :D

  2. #22
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    I don't know who is smarter between us,
    But men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

    :wink:

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    Cas is smarter than Tdol.

    :wink:
    I like the way you capitalized Tdol in 'than Tdol' as you would "I" in 'than I'. :D

  4. #24
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    It's a proper noun, however improper the user.

  5. #25
    CitySpeak Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    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
    I'm well aware of all that. :P

    Using "must have" as the contrary form of "can't have" still does not make sense to me. I will continue to only use "couldn't have" and not "can't have". I completely understand how "can't have" may be taken as a stronger or more certain statement, but I think "couldn't have+participle" does the job just fine. I can't be sure we really need "can't have+participle".

    I view "can" as a modal, by the way. Modals are not verbs.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by CitySpeak
    I view "can" as a modal, by the way. Modals are not verbs.
    What is the verb in "I can"?

    :)

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    Quote Originally Posted by CitySpeak
    I view "can" as a modal, by the way. Modals are not verbs.
    What is the verb in "I can"?

    :)

    Glad you asked, really. 8) :)


    The verb would be understood in the conversation.

    2 - Can you help me with this please?

    9 - Yes, I can. I'll be right there.

    understood - Yes, I can help you.

    Here the verb is "help". The verb "help" is given additional meaning with the modal "can".

    I might help you.

    I may help you.

    I will help you.

    I would help you, but.........

    I should help you.

    I shall help you.

    I can help you.

    I could help you.

    I must help you.

    Of course we can negate all of these. And, of course, we can also put them in the past by adding "have+past participle". The exception would, of course, be "can". - no "can have+past participle.

    This is my view of modals. That's how I see it, as the system of English verbs is principally non-inflected. In a way, sometime we might see the modals as the "inflections", as they add meaning to verbs in English.

    We might classify "do", "does" and "did" with modals. They are all auxiliaries. The three "Ds" also serve to add meaning to a verb in their own way.

    As I see it, all auxiliaries revolve around the verb in English. To me, this is logical.


    When I think of "I can", I think "can what?" What is the "thing" I can do. That's were the verb comes in.

  8. #28
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by CitySpeak
    I view "can" as a modal, by the way. Modals are not verbs.
    I view 'can' as a modal, but I think of modals as verbs. They are often close to adverbs in meaning or effect, but they still come into the verb category in my book.

  9. #29
    CitySpeak Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Quote Originally Posted by CitySpeak
    I view "can" as a modal, by the way. Modals are not verbs.
    I view 'can' as a modal, but I think of modals as verbs. They are often close to adverbs in meaning or effect, but they still come into the verb category in my book.

    Very well, but let me ask you. Do you understand the logic I illustrated about modals? Even though you do see modals as verbs, does the logic I outlined, at least, make sense to you?

    From a teaching and learning point of view, I also find it more practical to show modals/auxiliaries as revolving around verbs to affect and change their meaning.

    Honestly though, I can't see how modals represent any sort of action. At best they are states - states which change the meaning of verbs.

  10. #30
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    They are a funny bunch and very slippery characters. You can study them for years and they still continue to surprise. I see what your getting at, but the fact that they show tense means I don't think I could ever get away from seeing them as verbs.

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