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Thread: semi-modals

  1. #11
    e2e4 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    bieasy,

    to be
    and to have are not modals, by any means. (my personal opinion)

    be to could be a phrasal modal. I was to go. (because I can't say I to go)
    was to has denoted the main meaning of the sentence.
    have to could be a phrasal modal as well. I had to go. (because I can't say I to go)
    had to has denoted the main meaning of the sentence.

    Without was to or had to the sentences wouldn't have any sense.
    But also without the main verb go I was to and I had to would mean nothing. (except such as a short answer to a question...)

    In addition look at the sentence

    You should read the posts carefully. and the sentence
    You had better read the posts carefully!

    had better is some kind of a modal too, because it does the same thing, helps to denote the exact meaning.
    Had better as a some kind of modal (phrasal modal) help us to expres a stronger version of ought to (phrasal modal) when we want to recommend something but strongly.

    Anyway in my last post I've tried to give you the answer why a full verb need is a semi-modal sometimes.
    Finally I would like to hear your opinion now is would rather a phrasal modal or a semi-modal?

  2. #12
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    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.
    There being no report from the western front, we'll have to handle the problem ourselves.

    From what I was able to find out, semi-modals are distinguished from modals on the basis of the principle of formal application. This division into modals and semi-modals has nothing to do with semantics.
    To be classified as a semi-modal a modal unit has to meet one of the following requirements:
    a) to be followed by a full infinitive (e.g. ought to do)
    2) to have finite forms (e.g. needed to do, will need to do)
    3) contain more than one word (e.g. had better, would rather)

    As you can see this division into modals and semi-modals seems to have English teaching value rather than linguistic value. It's meant to help students learn grammar rules and avoid making mistakes..

  3. #13
    e2e4 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post

    From what I was able to find out, semi-modals are distinguished from modals on the basis of the principle of formal application. I wouldn't say that semi-modals are distinguished from modals. The both verbs, need and dare, which are the semi-modals, are both full verbs but sometimes can do about modality.

    To be classified as a semi-modal a modal unit has to meet one of the following requirements:
    a) to be followed by a full infinitive (e.g. ought to do) You needn't buy, go, listen to him. (bare infinitives)
    2) to have finite forms (e.g. needed to do, will need to do) have to, had to, ( can, could, might, must, etc have finite forms..)
    3) contain more than one word (e.g. had better, would rather)How do you dare do it? (dare, one word only)
    seems as though I've read different books to yours.

  4. #14
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    Quote Originally Posted by e2e4 View Post
    seems as though I've read different books to yours.
    If I were you I wouldn't read at all.

  5. #15
    e2e4 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    I am sorry Clark but different people write different books.
    Owing to my financial situation I couldn't afford myself to buy those expensive ones but those that had been written somewhere in europe and printed in china only.

    hopefully you hadn't thought that I should give up reading in general.
    So
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    If I were you I wouldn't read it at all.
    Am I going to be thanked for the correction? (this time only )
    If not it doesn't matter for it was only an empty subject it what I inserted in the sentence in which you had used past subjunctive of the verb to be. I am glad you were brought round/to in the mean time but about the matter we had once been talking about.

    Anyway the corrected sentence belongs to unreal conditionals and to hypoteticals in particular . Also it has a pattern to very hypotheticals, as well.
    Last edited by e2e4; 27-Jun-2008 at 19:04.

  6. #16
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    Quote Originally Posted by e2e4 View Post


    Am I going to be thanked for the correction? (this time only )
    :
    I'm afraid not. The sentence doesn't need any correction.
    Please, keep writing. Now on vacation I can spend more time reading your wonderful prose.

  7. #17
    e2e4 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: semi-modals

    Oh Clark, you know very well that there had to have been the books (we had been talking about) or the empty subject it. (you had to have pointed at them or the sentence doesn't carry any sense)

    If I were you I wouldn't read the books at all.
    if I were you I wouldn't read it at all.

    Actually according to what I had once learned on here maybe better form would be the next one

    If I were you I'd stop reading those books. (those, because you do not like the books I had been reading)

    Much better sentence would be the next one

    You'd better stop reading those stupid books.

    I am sorry for going further with the corrections but the form was completely wrong actually.
    Who knows what had you meant when you were going to write such the one actually.
    But don't worry we are learners aren't we?
    Last edited by e2e4; 27-Jun-2008 at 21:37.

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