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    #1

    choice of modals

    Dear teachers,

    A/ Would you please tell me which modal should be chosen in the following sentences?

    1) I arrived early so that I should / would / could / might get a good view of the procession.

    2) I arrived early so that I should / would / might not miss anything.

    What would be the difference in meaning between them all?


    B/ Is "were" a subjunctive here?

    3) He arranged the timetable so that the afternoons were free.

    Many thanks,
    Hela
    Last edited by hela; 26-Nov-2004 at 13:30.

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    #2

    Re: choice of modals

    1) I arrived early so that I could (was able to) get a good view of the procession.
    2) I arrived early so that I wouldn't miss anything.

    Simple Past tense
    3) He arranged the timetable so that the afternoons were free.

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    #3

    Re: choice of modals

    Hello Casiopea,

    Nice to read you again!
    I thought that the expression "so that" entailed the subjunctive form in English, am I wrong?

    Best regards,
    Hela

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    #4

    Re: choice of modals

    Quote Originally Posted by hela
    Hello Casiopea,

    Nice to read you again!
    I thought that the expression "so that" entailed the subjunctive form in English, am I wrong?

    Best regards,
    Hela
    Hmm. Let's test it:

    He arranged my schedule so that I would be free in the afternoons.
    He arranged my schedule so that I could be free in the afternoons.

    Question: Is 'would be' and 'could be' subjunctive or is 'be' just the base form of the verb, the one that modals take as their objects? I ask this to you, Hela, because I'm not quite sure at this given point in time. .. I've got a cold, and I can't think straight.

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    #5

    Re: choice of modals

    Dear Casiopea,

    It's true that in my sentence "were" is not a subjunctive but in formal English we may use the subjunctive in concessive clauses. After : "if, for fear that, so that..." but in that case we would not use "would be" or "could be" but rather "should be", isn't that so?

    Wish you well,
    Hela

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    #6

    Re: choice of modals

    Quote Originally Posted by hela
    Dear Casiopea,

    It's true that in my sentence "were" is not a subjunctive but in formal English we may use the subjunctive in concessive clauses. After : "if, for fear that, so that..." but in that case we would not use "would be" or "could be" but rather "should be", isn't that so?

    Wish you well,
    Hela
    Oh, yes, 'should be' sounds true to form.

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    #7

    Re: choice of modals

    Dear teachers,

    Here is an exercise on modals; would you please correct it?

    Replace the words in bold.

    “Wonderful, it’s Sunday and a) not necessary for me to get up at 7 o’clock. b) I’ll possibly stay in bed a bit longer although c) I think the children are probably awake now and I’ll d) be obliged to get their breakfast soon. They e) refuse to make it for themselves. f) It would be a good idea for me to get up immediately because g) perhaps they will wreck the house. However, it is still very early and they h) are probably not very hungry yet. i) It would have been a good idea if I had put out the cornflakes and milk yesterday evening. But all this thinking and not acting is really silly. j) It is really necessary for me to get up this minute. Now where are my bedroom slippers? – That d*mn dog k) has probably hidden them again! l) It would be a good idea for us to train it better, but I suppose we m) weren’t obliged to buy it in the first place, and after all, it’s only a puppy.
    Oh, I’d forgotten! n) It’s just possible that Alan will be back from his business trip today – marvellous! One adult isn’t enough to look after four children, a puppy, and three goldfish! Why o) did he refuse to take me with him? p) It was possible for us to get his mother to come and look after the children. Never again!

    ANSWERS :

    a) it’s Sunday and I DON’T NEED TO get up…
    b) I MAY / CAN stay in bed a bit longer…
    c) the children MAY / MIGHT (?) be awake…
    d) I MUST get their breakfast…
    e) WON'T make it…
    f) I SHOULD get up…
    g) they MAY / MIGHT wreck…
    h) they MAY / MIGHT not be very hungry…
    i) I SHOULD’ve put out…
    j) I really NEED TO get up…
    k) that dog MAY have hidden…
    l) we SHOULD train it…
    m) we NEED’T HAVE / DIDN’T HAVE to buy it…
    n) Alan MIGHT be back…
    o) why WOULDn’t he take me…
    p) we COULD’ve got his mother…

    Many thanks.

    Hela

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    #8

    Re: choice of modals

    Dear teachers,

    1) a) He MAY / MIGHT be ignorant, but he is not stupid. (concession)
    b) He CAN be stupid at times. (possibility)

    - Would you please tell me the difference between concession and possibility ?

    - Would you have more examples where “may” expresses concession and others where it expresses possibility ?

    2) “At this point, Boggis became aware of the three men, Rummins, Bert, and Claud, watching him intently. They had seen him stop and gasp and stare….
    He MUST HAVE time to compose himself thoroughly before he said another word.”

    Quote from Roald Dahl, 'Parson's Pleasure'

    - Does “Must Have” express a necessity in the past here? Is it also called an “emphatic MUST”?

    - I thought that MUST was only used in the present and that its past equivalent was HAD TO. What do you think?

    3) a) They wished he WERE not too busy so that he could go skiing with them. (correct / incorrect ?)

    b) They wished he HAD not BEEN too busy so that he could go skiing with them.

    What’s the difference between a) and b) ?

    Thanks a million,
    Hela

    PS: Could somebody answer my previous post too, please ?

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    #9

    Re: choice of modals

    1) a) He MAY / MIGHT be ignorant, but he is not stupid. (concession)
    b) He CAN be stupid at times. (possibility)

    - Would you please tell me the difference between concession and possibility ?

    Concession means that you are accepting that the other speaker is partially right.

    - Would you have more examples where “may” expresses concession and others where it expresses possibility ?
    I may go there. possibility
    He may be good at his job, but he's an unpleasant person. concession


    2) “At this point, Boggis became aware of the three men, Rummins, Bert, and Claud, watching him intently. They had seen him stop and gasp and stare….
    He MUST HAVE time to compose himself thoroughly before he said another word.”

    Quote from Roald Dahl, 'Parson's Pleasure'

    - Does “Must Have” express a necessity in the past here? Is it also called an “emphatic MUST”?

    It's a slightly old fashioned use, IMO, where 'must' was used as the past tense. Nowadays, we'd be more likely to say 'had to'


    - I thought that MUST was only used in the present and that its past equivalent was HAD TO. What do you think?

    3) a) They wished he WERE not too busy so that he could go skiing with them. (correct / incorrect ?)

    b) They wished he HAD not BEEN too busy so that he could go skiing with them.

    What’s the difference between a) and b) ?
    Time- were = at the time of speaking had been = before the time of speaking.



    PS: Could somebody answer my previous post too, please ?

    I'll try tomorrow- it's past my bedtime now.

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