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Thread: modals again

  1. #11
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Dear teachers,

    text N°1 about the very nice furniture.

    In n°17 if MUST HAVe is the present tense, how come can we combine it with SAID (n°18) which is in the past?

    Same question for n°22: How can we use MAY NOT APPEAR when the verb in the following clause is in the past "it WAS a dealer's dream."

    As for n° 20: what is the nuance between MAY BE ignorant / CAN be ignorant / MIGHT be ignorant / COULD be ignorant.

    And why is it possible to use all these possibilities except "CAN BE ignorant?"

    Sorry to bother you with these repetitive questions but I am anxious to understand all the nuances and the uses of modals in English, and it is not an easy task!

    Best regards,
    Hela

    PS. I would be very happy if somebody answered in a near future my questions about texts 2 and 3.

  2. #12
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Must (present) + have (auxiliary) + past participle.

  3. #13
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Dear TDOL,

    I think you have misunderstood my question about MUST HAVE + past verb; I didn't mean MUST HAVE SAID but the combination of MUST HAVE (present tense) in a clause and SAID (simple past) in the other:

    17. He (modal + have) must have time to compose himself thoroughly before he SAID another word.

    In this particular case why does the author use the present and not the past? Or is MUST HAVE in this particular case a past form??

    And what does MUST express in this particular case. Is is necessity (past or present?), is it an emphatic must (who knows exactly what is an emphatic MUST?), or does it express sthg else?

    Thank you all again.
    Hela

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roald Dahl
    A VERY EXPENSIVE PIECE OF FURNITURE.

    And 1. indeed it was! Mr Boggis saw it at once, and stopped dead in his tracks and gave a little shrill gasp of shock. Then he stood there for five, ten, fifteen seconds at 2. least, staring like an idiot, unable to believe, (not dare) 3. not daring to believe 4. what he saw before him. It (modal + be) 5. could not be true, not possibly! But the longer he stared, the 6. more (?) true it began (seem) 7. to seem. And who in the world (modal + make + possibly) 8. could possibly have made a mistake about a thing like that? Admittedly, it (paint) 9. had been / was painted (?) white, but it made not the slightest difference. Some idiot (do) 10. did / had done (?) that. The paint (modal + strip off + easily) 11. could easily be stripped off.
    12. To / up to (?) this point, Boggis became aware of the three men, Rummins, Bert, and Claud, (watch) 12. watching him intently. They (see) 13. had seen him stop and gasp and stare, and they (modal + see) 14. must have seen his face turning red, or maybe it was white, but in any event it was enough (spoil) 15. spoiling the whole goddamn business if he (not do) 16. did not do something about it quick. […] He (modal + have) 17. had to have time to compose himself thoroughly before he (say) 18. said (?) another word. Take it gently, Boggis. And 19. whatever you do, keep calm. These people (modal + be) 20. are ignorant, but they are not stupid. They are suspicious, wary and sly. What he saw was a piece of furniture that any expert (give) 21. would give anything to acquire. To a layman, it (modal + not + appear) 22. might not appear particularly impressive but to Mr Boggis it was a dealer's dream.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hela
    In n°17 if MUST HAVE is the present tense, how come we can combine it with SAID (n°18) which is in the past?
    I'm confused, Hela. First, it would be more than beneficial is you could post the paragraph or sentences in question. I'm finding this thread difficult to navigate my way through. I'm not sure whose suggestions (i.e. fill in the blank answers) you are referring to. Second, with regards to the original text by Roald Dahl, entry 17 should read as follows, 'He 17. had to have', meaning, he needed to have. Both 'had' and 'needed' refer to the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roald Dahl
    Same question for n°22: How can we use MAY NOT APPEAR when the verb in the following clause is in the past "it WAS a dealer's dream."
    Again, I'm not sure whose suggestion you are referring to, so given the original text, I read, To a layman, it 22. might not have appeared particularly impressive but to Mr Boggis it was a dealer's dream. "appeared" is in the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hela
    As for n° 20: what is the nuance between MAY BE ignorant / CAN be ignorant / MIGHT be ignorant / COULD be ignorant.
    These people 20. might be ignorant, but they are not stupid. They are suspicious, wary and sly.

    Between 'may' and 'might', I am not sure. I speak North American English and the two are pretty much interchangable in that context. 'can be ignorant' means, they have a propensity at times to be ignorant. 'could be ignorant' means, there is a possibility that they are ignorant, but I don't know for certain if they are or not. In short, Mr Boggis feels that they are indeed ignorant, but that their ignorance is only in regards to this one area: antique furniture.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hela
    And why is it possible to use all these possibilities except "CAN BE ignorant?"
    They display ignorance at times in more than one kind of situation.

    Sorry to bother you with these repetitive questions but I am anxious to understand all the nuances and the uses of modals in English, and it is not an easy task!
    Hela, I love your questions. They show thought as well as determination. You Go Girl! :D The thing is, though, the complexity of the questions you pose requires time and space to disgest if we are to provide you with the best solutions. Please keep in mind that these are not easy questions with fast, easy answers. Modals are a complex area even at the PhD level. Given a paragraph on fill in the blank modals, sometimes there will be more than one choice. Remember that modals refers to a mode of speaking, and that mode isn't necessarily the same for all speakers.

    If I could suggest one thing: please try to keep your posts short and simple. The easier the form the better it will be for me or us to understand your question and provide you with the best possible solutions.

    All the best,

  5. #15
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    Here are my suggestions for Article #2:

    Miss Samantha Fox, the 20-year-old runaway student now reunited with her family, said yesterday that she couldn’t face telling her parents that she had been expelled from Swansea University. “I was just scared that everybody would be disappointed,” she said. “The longer it went on the harder it was. I really didn’t know what I was doing.”

    Miss Fox was asked to leave the university three months after failing to attend lectures. But, too ashamed to tell her family, she continued to live in her rooms as if nothing had happened.

    The stress of keeping up the pretence finally showed last week, when Miss Fox was supposed to return to Swansea after a short holiday in the family home. Then she went to London where she started to look for work.

    Her anxious parents telephoned the police after university friends rang to say Samantha hadn’t turned up. A nation-wide appeal was launched.
    Having spent a week around north London, Miss Fox contacted her brother on Monday night and asked to be taken home.

    She couldn’t clearly remember how she spent the last three months after receiving the expulsion note. “It’s all a bit vague. Believe it or not, I was still doing college work in my room, I hardly went out at all.” She said she found the transition from home to university life very hard: “At school I was a model student.” She said she had not received any counselling from the university to help her cope with the burden of work and the stress of being away/far from home.

    Her father was delighted to have his daughter home. “We love our daughter,” he said. “We would support and understand her whatever happened.”



    B/ Is there a rule about the position of objects with phrasal verbs?
    Phrasal verbs are made up of a verb and a particle element. With some verbs, the particle can be moved around, whereas with other verbs it cannot. If you do a search online under the words 'phrasal verbs', you should be able to find a list of verbs that allow particle movement. As for why some verbs allow the movement and others don't, it has to do with the structure of the verb.

    1. Put up the tent (verb + adverb + object) OK
    2. Put the tent up (verb + object + adverb) OK

    3. put it up (verb + object + adverb) OK
    4. put up it (verb + ? + object) Not OK

    The ungrammaticallity of 4 has to do with the referential nature of the pronoun "it", which can refer to a word, a phrase, a sentence. That is, 'it' functions as the object of 'put' and as the object of 'up'. Idiomatically, Put up with it, wherein the preposition 'with' is inserted to separate 'it' from 'up'.

    ex: a) put it up / hang the coat up / ring them up / look it u
    b) bring it down / write it down
    c) Any other examples with other prepositions?
    put up the tent (OK)
    put up it (Not OK)
    put it up (OK)
    hang it up (OK)
    hang up the coat (OK)
    hang up it (Not OK)
    ring them up (OK)
    ring up them (Not OK)
    look it up (OK)
    look up it (Not OK)
    look up the number (OK)

    Please check out one of the many sites on phrasal verbs. :D

    When do we insert the object between the verb and its preposition and when do we have to put the object after the verb phrase?
    Great question. After having read my explanations, though, I am sure you will feel a little more confident in providing a better solution. If not, please post a few phrasal verbs that we can discuss together.

    C/ Are the following sentences correct? If yes, what do they mean?

    a) He decided that the house should be built.
    b) He decided that the house be built.
    Based on my dialect of English, both a) and b) are OK. a) means, he feels there is an obligation to build the house. b) means, should be. That is, 'be' is short for 'should be'.

    All the best,

  6. #16
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by hela
    Miss Samantha Fox, the 20-year-old runaway student now reunited 1 with her family, said yesterday that she (modal + face) 2 couldn’t face telling (?) (is it possible to have the affirmative form here?) her parents that she (expel) 3 had been expelled from Swansea University.
    “I was just scared that everybody (disappoint) 4 would be disappointed,” she said. “The longer it went 5 on (?) the harder it was. I really didn’t know what I (do) 6 was doing (?)”
    I would say, "I really didn't know what to do." She was aware of what she was doing. She was just unsure of what course of action to take (what to do).

    :)

  7. #17
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Dear teachers,

    I sent you the following text some time ago for correction and you answered my questions very kindly. I still have some more questions though:

    Miss Samantha Fox, the 20-year-old runaway student now reunited 1 with her family, said yesterday that she (modal + face) 2 couldn’t face telling her parents that she (expel) 3 had been expelled from Swansea University.
    “I was just scared that everybody (disappoint) 4 would be disappointed,” she said. “The longer it went 5 on the harder it was. I really didn’t know what I (do) 6 was doing ”

    Mis Fox was asked (leave) 7 to leave the university three months after failing (attend) 8 to attend lectures. But, 9 too ashamed to tell her family, she continued (live) 10 to live in her rooms as if 11 nothing had happened.

    Questions:
    1) in (4) do we need a subjunctive after "scared that"? = can we say "she was scared that everybody should be disappointed" or another form of the subjunctive?

    2) What is the grammatical word class of the underlined words:
    a) her = possessive adjective
    b) that = relative pronoun ?
    c) harder = comparative adjective
    d) But = conjunction ?

    Are there other details to add?

    Thank you very much.
    Héla

  8. #18
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Dear teachers,

    Sorry, I have made a mistake as far as the 2nd question is concerned.

    "that" = subordinating conjunction
    "But" = coordinating conjunction

    Correct?
    Thank you in advance.
    Hela

  9. #19
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Miss Samantha Fox, the 20-year-old runaway student now reunited 1 with her family, said yesterday that she (modal + face) 2 couldn’t face telling her parents that she (expel) 3 had been expelled from Swansea University.
    “I was just scared that everybody (disappoint) 4 would be disappointed,” she said. “The longer it went 5 on the harder it was. I really didn’t know what I (do) 6 was doing ”

    Mis Fox was asked (leave) 7 to leave the university three months after failing (attend) 8 to attend lectures. But, 9 too ashamed to tell her family, she continued (live) 10 to live in her rooms as if 11 nothing had happened.

    Questions:
    1) in (4) do we need a subjunctive after "scared that"? = can we say "she was scared that everybody should be disappointed" or another form of the subjunctive? I'm not sure what you mean by subjunctive; what you are using (would be) is correct. I wouldn't use 'should' here.

    2) What is the grammatical word class of the underlined words:
    a) her = possessive adjective Yes
    b) that = relative pronoun ? Conjunction- joining the clause to the main verb
    c) harder = comparative adjective yes
    d) But = conjunction ? Given that it is joining two sentences, some would call it a conjunct (like 'however'), though it is generally regarded and used as a conjunction.


  10. #20
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Miss Samantha Fox, the 20-year-old runaway student now reunited 1 with her family, said yesterday that she (modal + face) 2 couldn’t face telling her parents that she (expel) 3 had been expelled from Swansea University.
    “I was just scared that everybody (disappoint) 4 would be disappointed,” she said. “The longer it went 5 on the harder it was. I really didn’t know what I (do) 6 was doing ”

    Mis Fox was asked (leave) 7 to leave the university three months after failing (attend) 8 to attend lectures. But, 9 too ashamed to tell her family, she continued (live) 10 to live in her rooms as if 11 nothing had happened.

    Questions:
    1) in (4) do we need a subjunctive after "scared that"? = can we say "she was scared that everybody should be disappointed" or another form of the subjunctive? I'm not sure what you mean by subjunctive; what you are using (would be) is correct. I wouldn't use 'should' here.

    2) What is the grammatical word class of the underlined words:
    a) her = possessive adjective Yes
    b) that = relative pronoun ? Conjunction- joining the clause to the main verb
    c) harder = comparative adjective yes
    d) But = conjunction ? Given that it is joining two sentences, some would call it a conjunct (like 'however'), though it is generally regarded and used as a conjunction.


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