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Thread: semi-modals

  1. #1
    bieasy is offline Senior Member
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    Cool semi-modals

    Hi,

    Can someone give me the complete list of semi-modal verbs?

  2. #2
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    Quote Originally Posted by bieasy View Post
    Hi,

    Can someone give me [the] a complete list of semi-modal verbs?
    'the' is just a wee bit too specific, for this situation, Bieasy. It sounds like you're talking about a list that we all know about, one that most everyone would go to.

    Why don't the ESLs all have a go at this? That might give them an good opportunity to reflect on the connections and the relationships between these forms.


    Modals ---------- periphrastic/semi-modals ---------------- adverbs

    must

    will

    would

    may

    might

    can

    could

    shall

    should

    ______

    ______

  3. #3
    bieasy is offline Senior Member
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    Cool Re: semi-modals

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    'the' is just a wee bit too specific, for this situation, Bieasy. It sounds like you're talking about a list that we all know about, one that most everyone would go to.

    Why don't the ESLs all have a go at this? That might give them an good opportunity to reflect on the connections and the relationships between these forms.


    Modals ---------- periphrastic/semi-modals ---------------- adverbs

    must

    will

    would

    may

    might

    can

    could

    shall

    should

    ______

    ______
    Thank you, Riverkid.

    However I don't see the (correct?) list of semi-modals. Did you forget to type them? Or am I missing something?

    And about ' Why don't the ESLs all have a go at this' What do you mean by 'go'?

    And thanks for correcting me.

  4. #4
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    Quote Originally Posted by bieasy View Post
    Thank you, Riverkid.

    However I don't see the (correct?) list of semi-modals. Did you forget to type them? Or am I missing something?

    And about ' Why don't the ESLs all have a go at this' What do you mean by 'go'?

    And thanks for correcting me.
    I listed the modal verbs, Bieasy and left the semi-modals for you and other ESLs to match up.

    Example

    Modal - semi-modal

    must - have to

    should - ought to


    have a go at sth/give sth a go/give sth a whirl all mean 'try sth.
    Last edited by riverkid; 12-Jun-2008 at 22:28.

  5. #5
    e2e4 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    bieasy had to have been taught about to need, to dare and used.
    According to books these are the semi-modals.

    Also riverkid after you counted up modals must, can, could will etc..you mentioned have to, ought to etc which are not semi modals but phrasal modals, I think.

    Instead of modals, phrasal modals can be used such as

    are able to (instead of modal can)
    were able to (could)
    have to (instead of must),( maybe not exactly but pretty close to must)
    etc..

    There are also complex modals such as

    may have gone
    shouldn't have gone
    must have been thinking
    can not be solved (out)
    should be considered
    could have been seen (on here)

    etc..

    I'll tell you what? I am going to learn more about complex modals tomorrow.
    hopefully this was useful for bieasy. Anyway he asked a list of the semi-modals only and not an explanation about them.

    Anyway in a short time I am off on here and not be back for a few days.
    Last edited by e2e4; 27-Jun-2008 at 15:47.

  6. #6
    bieasy is offline Senior Member
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    Cool Re: semi-modals

    Quote Originally Posted by e2e4 View Post
    bieasy had to have been taught about to need, to dare and used.
    According to books these are the semi-modals.

    Also riverkid after you counted up modals must, can, could will etc..you mentioned must, have to, ought to etc which are not semi modals but phrasal modals, I think.

    Instead of modals, phrasal modals can be used such as

    are able to (instead of modal can)
    were able to (could)
    have to (instead of must),( maybe not exactly but pretty close to must)
    etc..

    There are also complex modals such as

    may have gone
    shouldn't have gone
    must have been thinking
    can not be solved (out)
    should be considered
    could have been seen (on here)

    etc..

    I'll tell you what? I am going to learn more about complex modals tomorrow.
    hopefully this was useful for bieasy. Anyway he asked a list of the semi-modals only and not an explanation about them.

    Anyway in a short time I am off on here and not be back for a few days.
    Thanks. But why is 'need' a semi-modal?

  7. #7
    e2e4 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    @bieasy
    I am going to tell you how do I see the matter with the verb need.

    I've read in a book that the main characteristic of the modals is that the modals never change their form.
    (It's actually a simple truth but many of us do not see it until the book have told us!!)
    Also I found in another books and on the net too that modals like should, can, will, must, etc cannot work such as a main verb in a sentence.
    They are always used such as a help to main verbs.

    You can make it.
    the main verb is make
    the modal is can
    You must make it. (modal)
    You were able to make it. (phrasal modal)

    In the complex modals I already mentioned in my last post such as

    had to have been thinking
    the main verb is think
    the primary (ordinary) auxiliary is have been + ing form
    and the phrasal modal had to is used as the secondary (additional) auxiliary.

    Primary auxiliary denotes the aspect but the modal denotes the real meaning (sense) of the sentence.

    look at this

    had to have been thinking
    should have been thinking
    would have been thinking
    were able to have been thinking

    These four examples have 4 different meanings. (but both the main verb and the primary auxiliary are always the same.

    In addition
    The verb need is usually used as a main verb with different aspects. (to need, needed, needs, etc)

    But sometimes the verb need is used such as a help to the main verb in a phrase like this one

    You needn't know! or
    You don't need to wait!

    main verb is know (to wait).
    primary auxiliary is n't (do not)

    But we also needed need to help primary auxiliary and the main verb to form the meaning of the sentence.

    We couldn't have said You don't to wait!
    So we used ordinary verb need as a help. The help is a function (job) of modals.

    If the help haven't been needed in some sentences, but all the time, both the modals and the semi-modals wouldn't exist in English, I think. Actually it would be a different language.

    So it could be the reason that need except of being an ordinary verb is a semi-modal too because it can be used as a help to the main verb in a sentence, sometimes.

    You needn't have been running.
    You don't need to have gone.

    Finally seems to me as though there are some confusion about modals, semi-modals, phrasal modals and complex modals because I found different opinions about it.
    Last edited by e2e4; 25-Jun-2008 at 17:26.

  8. #8
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    I listed the modal verbs, Bieasy and left the semi-modals for you and other ESLs to match up.

    Example

    Modal - semi-modal

    must - have to

    should - ought to


    have a go at sth/give sth a go/give sth a whirl all mean 'try sth.
    Hi Riverkid,
    Another interesting topic for discussion.
    It follows from your post that:
    a) modals are used with bare infinitives;
    b) semi-modals are used with full infinitives;
    That's how you distunguish between a modal and a semi-modal. Did I get you right?
    What about the adverbs that make the other end of the continuum acc. to your post #2? Are they 'probably, possibly, etc'?

  9. #9
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    Hi Riverkid,
    Another interesting topic for discussion.
    It follows from your post that:
    a) modals are used with bare infinitives;
    b) semi-modals are used with full infinitives;
    That's how you distunguish between a modal and a semi-modal. Did I get you right?

    That's a start, Clark, but to my mind, it isn't all that critical that ESLs get to know the grammatical differences between them. Even the experts aren't in total agreement. But that doesn't mean that those who want to can't discuss the points you've raised further. I'm sure that I would be tempted.

    What I think is most important is that they get a feel for how they relate to each other and their relative positioning in a level of certainty manner and also their deontic strength.


    What about the adverbs that make the other end of the continuum acc. to your post #2? Are they 'probably, possibly, etc'?
    Yes, and there certainly are a good number of them.
    Last edited by riverkid; 25-Jun-2008 at 20:25.

  10. #10
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Yes, and there certainly are a good number of them.
    OK. The original post was about the semi-modals. How about making a list of them first?

    Ought, need, dare, to be, to have (have got)? Have I missed any of them?

    What about expressions like 'to be able', 'to be allowed', 'to be going', 'had better', 'would rather', 'used to'? Are they also on the list?

    I still think we need to suggest a clear definition for a semi-modal, otherwise it's not clear what language units are to be included in this group. I personally think that 'to' with an infinitive is too insignificant a feature for such division.

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