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Thread: Grammar website

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Grammar website

    Hi, River. Shanghai is pretty humid today.

    Appreciate the list; however, could you be more specific?

  2. #12
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Grammar website

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Hi, River. Shanghai is pretty humid today.
    Appreciate the list; however, could you be more specific?
    That's the part that I always hated, the humidity.

    If you pick any one, say, the "May/Might" and the problems don't leap out at you, Casiopea, then I'm not sure I can be of much help. Try the 'may/might' section.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Grammar website

    Sorry, river, but I am still not all that clear on how that section is 'riddled with errors.' Would you be so kind as to light the way?

  4. #14
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Sorry, river, but I am still not all that clear on how that section is 'riddled with errors.' Would you be so kind as to light the way?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/gramm...iliary.htm#may

    Uses of May and Might
    Two of the more troublesome modal auxiliaries are may and might. When used in the context of granting or seeking permission, might is the past tense of may. False.Might is considerably more tentative than may.

    May I leave class early?
    If I've finished all my work and I'm really quiet, might I leave early?
    In the context of expressing possibility, may and might are interchangeable "interchangeable", false.present and future forms and might + have + past participle is the past form: False.


    She might be my advisor next semester.
    She may be my advisor next semester.
    She might have advised me not to take biology.

    The examples actually disprove the contentions above.


    Avoid confusing the sense of possibility in may with the implication of might, that a hypothetical situation has not in fact occurred. For instance, let's say there's been a helicopter crash at the airport. In his initial report, before all the facts are gathered, a newscaster could say that the pilot "may have been injured." After we discover that the pilot is in fact all right, the newscaster can now say that the pilot "might have been injured" because it is a hypothetical situation that has not occurred. Another example: a body had been identified after much work by a detective. It was reported that "without this painstaking work, the body may have remained unidentified." Since the body was, in fact, identified, might is clearly called for.

    Highly misleading. That's a start, Casiopea. Just this short section, count the errors.

  5. #15
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    RE: past tense

    What about?

    'But “might” is also the past tense of the auxiliary verb “may,” and is required in sentences like “Chuck might have avoided arrest for the robbery if he hadn’t given the teller his business card before asking for the money.” When speculating that events might have been other than they were, don’t substitute “may” for “might." '

    Source

    And then there's this too,

    may and might. Just as could is the past tense of can, might is the past tense of may: We thought we might win the tournament. But might can also be used as a substitute for may to show diminished possibility. Thus, saying We might go to the movies means that the likelihood of going is somewhat less than if you say We may go to the movies. When used to express permission, might has a higher degree of politeness than may. Thus, Might I express my opinion conveys less insistence than May I express my opinion.

    Source

  6. #16
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Grammar website

    Casiopea:RE: past tense
    What about?
    'But “might” is also the past tense of the auxiliary verb “may,” and is required in sentences like “Chuck might have avoided arrest for the robbery if he hadn’t given the teller his business card before asking for the money.” When speculating that events might have been other than they were, don’t substitute “may” for “might." '
    Source

    Yet another prescriptive source, Casiopea and though prescriptive sources don't have to be wrong, Mr Brians most assuredly is.

    Did you read the "aside" on 'may versus can'; he's wrong there too.

    As an aside: if you are an old-fashioned child, you will ask, “May I go out to play?” rather than “Can I go out to play?” Despite the prevalence of the latter pattern, some adults still feel strongly that “may” has to do with permission whereas “can” implies only physical ability. But then if you have a parent like this you’ve had this pattern drilled into your head long before you encountered this page.

    Why do these people, especially English professors, just repeat old canards when it's really quite easy to look at the language and see these "rules" are false.

    But “might” is also the past tense of the auxiliary verb “may,” and is required in sentences like “Chuck might have avoided arrest for the robbery if he hadn’t given the teller his business card before asking for the money.” When speculating that events might have been other than they were, don’t substitute “may” for “might."

    Another old canard. This special use of 'might' occurs SOMETIMES, not always, as the prescription would have you think. This 'might' is the same as 'could' and it's used for semantic reasons, NOT for grammatical ones.

    But this example is a poor one indeed. 'might' is NOT required in this sentence. A 'would' would be more appropriate here given that 'might' suggests a low possibility. It's pretty damn certain that giving your business card before a robbery is a sure way to be arrested.

    'may have avoided arrest' is also a grammatical possibility in this sentence, as is, 'may well have avoided arrest', as is, 'probably would have avoided arrest', as is, 'almost certainly would have avoided arrest', depending on the level of certainty that the speaker wants to relate.

    Avoid the website, 'Brians Errors' like the plague. It truly is nothing more than a listing of Brians' errors.



    Casiopea: And then there's this too,
    may and might. Just as could is the past tense of can, might is the past tense of [I]may: We thought we might win the tournament.
    Source

    Casiopea, this is an example of reported/indirect speech. The backshifting that occurs with reported/indirect speech has NOTHING to do with past tense in the sense of past time. It's merely a signal to listeners that the speech is not a direct quote.

    We know that it has nothing to do with past tense/past time because we can also quote directly.

    Try this simple little test. Make a sentence where 'might' is used as the past tense/past time of 'may'. You'll quickly notice that it can't be done. The same is true for all the other modal verbs.
    Last edited by riverkid; 08-Sep-2006 at 16:40. Reason: Remove the quote box for Casiopea

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Grammar website

    riverkid, could you post your reply outside of the quote-box. As is, it's unaccessible

    Looking forward to your post.

  8. #18
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    I removed the quote boxes, Casiopea.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Grammar website

    Without commenting on all the specifics you guys have been talking about (guys? Yuk! I'm meeting too many AE speakers. ) I agree totally with Riverkid about this grammar site. A few months ago I was checking out references to may and might for a specific class and thought "What the hell!?"

    The site really does give the impression of excellence while making so many value judgements and errors on how the language is used. It seems to believe that the more you write the better the content. Doesn't work guys. It just means in this case that you contradict yourselves while leaving learners confused and with a poor understanding.

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Grammar website

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Mr Brians most assuredly is [wrong].
    No argument here, riverkid. Thank you for finally explaining your initial statement. It's always a good idea to provide examples or evidence, wouldn't you agree? Not only does it provide your reader with something to work from and with, the dialogue, itself, makes for great discussion. Psst. It's also a good idea to discuss the issue, not the author.

    All the best.

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