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Thread: shall

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    #31

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by sash2008 View Post
    So, in conclusion, what is your opinion or what is the correct answer of my original question?
    Is "should" the past tense of "shall"?
    What is the relation between them?
    My view is that "should" is not the past tense of "shall", at least not in modern English. It seems that "sceolde" was the past tense of "sceal" over a thousand years ago, but the language has changed very much since then. Have a look at this:

    Old English was fully inflected with five grammatical cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, and instrumental, though the instrumental was very rare), which had dual plural forms for referring to groups of two objects (but only in the personal pronouns) in addition to the usual singular and plural forms. It also assigned gender to all nouns, including those that describe inanimate objects: for example, sēo sunne (the Sun) was feminine, while se mōna (the Moon) was masculine (cf. modern German die Sonne and der Mond).


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    #32

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by sash2008 View Post
    So, in conclusion, what is your opinion or what is the correct answer of my original question?
    Is "should" the past tense of "shall"?
    What is the relation between them?
    There is no relationship in modern English between any of the modal verbs as regards tense. Some pairings, can & could do still retain a much closer connection than other pairings, shall & should because their meanings are much closer.

    I think it POSSIBLE that for shall & should we might be able to find some archaic references that could show some meaningful connection.

    There is a current relationship based on their HISTORICAL relationship regarding tense and we see that being used in reported/indirect speech. But even here, the relationship has seen some changes due to, I suspect, change in modal meaning.


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    #33

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by sash2008 View Post
    Ok. The argument is still there over shall and should.
    Why then is it stated clearly in ALL dictionaries that should is the past of shall?
    Why don't you agree?
    I am very confused and really I am surprised that there is a piece of information in all dictionaries that even I, being not a native speaker, suspect it.
    While this may be hard to grasp for many people, dictionaries and grammar manuals have always contained quite a large number of mistaken information about language.

    I believe that it took the OED, that's the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, until 1998 to declare the split infinitive rule bogus.

    The only "proof" I've ever seen offered from dictionaries or style manuals that modals have tense is reported speech but as I've shown // as I showed, the backshifting that takes place for reported speech has nothing to do with tense and everything to do with TENSE FORM.

    Reported speech doesn't address whether an action is finished; it merely focuses on letting us know whether what was said is a direct quote or a second hand rendering of a quote/a piece of direct speech.

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    #34

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    Originally Posted by albeit
    I've never hear that argument put forward by any person or any source as an illustration that modals have tense, 2006.
    Of course the question is 'Why do dictionaries state that "would" and "should" can function as past tenses?'
    Are the dictionaries completely wrong or is there a reason they say that? Theoretically both are possible, but again I can see some reason they say that. I don't think I am necessarily going to convince you and others, and that is not my goal. But I have some resposes to your last post and this will hopefully be my last post on this topic.

    [If this in fact will be my last post, I can later say 'That would happily be my last post.' (past tense "would")] (= That happily was my last post.)


    I think you're being too demanding on the modals. You can't expect modals to have as obvious a past function as ordinary verbs do and you especially can't expect them to function in the past tense exactly as ordinary verbs do! That is unrealistic.

    Yes, I noted that all modal verbs can be used in all time situations. This includes the purported present tense modals. Verbs that can be used in all time situations have to be tenseless.
    But some regular verbs can be used in at least present and past situations.
    'It's time you went to bed.' 'Your brother went to bed an hour ago.'

    So if a regular verb can be used in more than one tense, why can't modals be used in more than one or even in all tenses?

    the modals are used only to carry modal/emotive meaning. The time aspect is conveyed by the use of "have + PP". If the modals carried the tense/time meaning, then "have + PP" wouldn't be needed.
    Again, you are holding the modals to the same standard as regular verbs. They are not regular verbs. They are modals and if they need help to show a past tense function, they are still showing it.


    Albeit wrote: There is no syntactic connection in your examples between the verbs in the paired sentences. Past tense verbs, when they are being used syntactically as past tenses, have both a semantic and a syntactic connection to their present tense form.
    Again, you are requiring that modals work exactly as regular verbs do. There is no law saying they have to do that! The only question is whether they show a past tense function, regardless of whether the syntax is the same or whether they need help to do it.

    Essentially your whole argument is that because modals don't show past tense exactly as regular verbs do they can't possibly be past tense of anything.


    And a most important consideration that you seem to be trying to avoid is their semantic connection; something that is virtually always missing when we deal with modals. Assuming your statement is true, "virtually always" does not equal always. And I am not trying to avoid the semantic issue.

    Is it that much trouble to come up with examples? No one claims the examples are as numerous and as easily to come up with as they are with regular verbs. This is not a quantitative issue but a qualitative one.
    But I have given some examples in my posts; see the one below. And even if there were only one example in the whole world, that would show the ability of modals to function in the past tense.


    Albeit wrote: In your second example, there isn't even a semantic connection. I disagree.

    He said he shall do it immediately. (= it will be done immediately)
    (after a suitable passage of time) Good, so he should have done it by now. (= the speaker takes it as being done)

    It shall be done; then it has been done. (same meaning in both tenses)

    Albeit wrote: In your first example, "would have helped" does not describe a past action, which is what a past tense does.
    A possible/theoretical past action still requires a past tense verb.
    Maybe he saw it.
    I think it would be done by now.




    No, it doesn't. It offers one's speculation of the likelihood of an action being done. It doesn't describe a past action anymore than,

    It might/may have been done // It probably/likely/almost certainly has been done.
    see above


    Your comments are at best, considerations of style. You have allowed that they are possible, they certainly are grammatical.
    Summary...
    I think you are being too rigid; modal verbs aren't regular verbs so they don't act like regular verbs do, especially as far as syntax goes. There is a semantic relationship between the future/present and the past forms.
    2006


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    #35

    Re: shall

    {If I think any original statements are needed to provide context I've kept them ["I kept it", to my mind isn't as good here]}

    {2006's comments are in red}

    {My new comments are in blue}

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Originally Posted by albeit:
    I've never hear that argument put forward by any person or any source as an illustration that modals have tense, 2006.

    Of course the question is 'Why do dictionaries state that "would" and "should" can function as past tenses?'

    Are the dictionaries completely wrong or is there a reason they say that? Theoretically both are possible, but again I can see some reason they say that. I don't think I am necessarily going to convince you and others, and that is not my goal. But I have some resposes to your last post and this will hopefully be my last post on this topic.

    [If this in fact will be my last post, I can later say 'That would happily be my last post.' (past tense "would")] (= That happily was my last post.)


    First, we must allow that dictionaries can be wrong. While most dictionaries have improved a great deal because of the real study of language that has gone on in the last fifty years, many prescriptivists and prescriptive thought remain. One only has to look at dictionary usage panels to see that.

    More than theoretically, 2006. The proof they've offered for modals having tense, examples of reported speech, is, in and of itself a pretty damn good indication that sometimes, they simply don't know of what they speak. With dictionaries and style manuals, there is a great tendency to simply repeat the same old things.

    Look at Strunk & White and any other number of prescriptive grammar sources, columnists for example and you'll see that this is so. Little in the way of analysis, long on repeating and admonishing.


    I think you're being too demanding on the modals. You can't expect modals to have as obvious a past function as ordinary verbs do and you especially can't expect them to function in the past tense exactly as ordinary verbs do! That is unrealistic.

    I think that you're being too kind to those who have perpetuated this idea. It finds no support in language use. Case closed to my mind. What is there to be gained by keeping an inaccurate description when you can use an accurate one?

    Modal verbs can act in every time situation because their job isn't to carry tense; their job is do what modals do, carry a speaker's/writer's emotive feelings into a sentence.


    Originally Posted by albeit:
    Yes, I noted that all modal verbs can be used in all time situations. This includes the purported present tense modals. Verbs that can be used in all time situations have to be tenseless.

    But some regular verbs can be used in at least present and past situations.
    'It's time you went to bed.' 'Your brother went to bed an hour ago.'

    So if a regular verb can be used in more than one tense, why can't modals be used in more than one or even in all tenses?


    I think that you just said,

    "You can't expect modals to have as obvious a past function as ordinary verbs do and you especially can't expect them to function in the past tense exactly as ordinary verbs do! That is unrealistic."

    I don't expect modal verbs to do anything that they don't actually do in language. So when an ESL thinks that 'might' goes with 'may' in the same fashion as 'jumped' goes with 'jump', when in fact that isn't how it works in language, I begin to suspect that there's something amiss.

    When an ESL says,

    "I could get the money" instead of "I was able to get the money", I know that that student is following a false, and therefore, highly misleading rule.

    When a native speaker of English, a professor of English/writing/grammar writes in his site dedicated to English and grammar,


    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.


    and then gives the following two examples,

    May I leave class early?
    If I've finished all my work and I'm really quiet, might I leave early?


    I know that something is seriously amiss. Even when the site was notified of the obvious problems, and they acknowledged the same, five or so years later, they have made no changes.

    Really, one has to ask why, considering that this site is the site for a US college that is actually attempting to teach students about English grammar.



    [I'm going to stop here for now]


    ++++++++++++++++

    ++++++++++++++++

    the modals are used only to carry modal/emotive meaning. The time aspect is conveyed by the use of "have + PP". If the modals carried the tense/time meaning, then "have + PP" wouldn't be needed.
    Again, you are holding the modals to the same standard as regular verbs. They are not regular verbs. They are modals and if they need help to show a past tense function, they are still showing it.


    Albeit wrote: There is no syntactic connection in your examples between the verbs in the paired sentences. Past tense verbs, when they are being used syntactically as past tenses, have both a semantic and a syntactic connection to their present tense form.
    Again, you are requiring that modals work exactly as regular verbs do. There is no law saying they have to do that! The only question is whether they show a past tense function, regardless of whether the syntax is the same or whether they need help to do it.

    Essentially your whole argument is that because modals don't show past tense exactly as regular verbs do they can't possibly be past tense of anything.


    And a most important consideration that you seem to be trying to avoid is their semantic connection; something that is virtually always missing when we deal with modals. Assuming your statement is true, "virtually always" does not equal always. And I am not trying to avoid the semantic issue.

    Is it that much trouble to come up with examples? No one claims the examples are as numerous and as easily to come up with as they are with regular verbs. This is not a quantitative issue but a qualitative one.
    But I have given some examples in my posts; see the one below. And even if there were only one example in the whole world, that would show the ability of modals to function in the past tense.


    Albeit wrote: In your second example, there isn't even a semantic connection. I disagree.

    He said he shall do it immediately. (= it will be done immediately)
    (after a suitable passage of time) Good, so he should have done it by now. (= the speaker takes it as being done)

    It shall be done; then it has been done. (same meaning in both tenses)

    Albeit wrote: In your first example, "would have helped" does not describe a past action, which is what a past tense does.
    A possible/theoretical past action still requires a past tense verb.
    Maybe he saw it.
    I think it would be done by now.




    No, it doesn't. It offers one's speculation of the likelihood of an action being done. It doesn't describe a past action anymore than,

    It might/may have been done // It probably/likely/almost certainly has been done.
    see above


    Your comments are at best, considerations of style. You have allowed that they are possible, they certainly are grammatical.
    Summary...
    I think you are being too rigid; modal verbs aren't regular verbs so they don't act like regular verbs do, especially as far as syntax goes. There is a symantic relationship between the future/present and the past forms.

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    #36

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit;511417++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    [COLOR=blue
    First, we must allow that dictionaries can be wrong. [/COLOR] But you are saying that they are wrong, period. Because, they are not perfect, therefore in this case they must also be wrong! What you are saying is that you know more than all the dictionary people who collectively decided that 'would" and "should" can show past tense.


    I think you're being too demanding on the modals.
    I think that you're being too kind to those who have perpetuated this idea.
    No, that is my own thinking. I didn't read that somewhere and then write it here.

    It finds no support in language use. Modal verbs can act in every time situation because their job isn't to carry tense; their job is do what modals do, carry a speaker's/writer's emotive feelings into a sentence.
    I believe you are in denial here.
    Modals are not always emotive. They are also auxillary verbs.
    When I was young, I could run a mile without stopping. (not '...I can run a mile....')

    I tried to keep this very short in the hope that this thread will soon wind down. It has become cumbersome to follow because of its length, and I think you will agree that we both have already spent too much time here.
    We don't seem to be convincing each other, but are presumably continuing because others are following it. I think they have heard enough from us.
    You can have the last word, but don't say anything so 'outrgeous' that it will 'force' me to post again. ARRGH :)
    2006


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    #37

    Re: shall

    EDITED TO HELP YMNISKY & ANYONE ELSE WHOSE SCREEN CANNOT DETECT COLOR

    Albeit old = Black

    2006 old = Magenta

    2006 replies = Red

    Albeit newest responses = Blue

    Albeit old
    First, we must allow that dictionaries can be wrong.


    2006 replies: 2006 wrote: But you are saying that they are wrong, period. Because, they are not perfect, therefore in this case they must also be wrong! What you are saying is that you know more than all the dictionary people who collectively decided that 'would" and "should" can show past tense.

    Albeit newest responses:My response was to your,

    "Are the dictionaries completely wrong or is there a reason they say that?"

    I didn't make the causal connection that other wrongs made them wrong on this. I said, "we must allow that dictionaries can be wrong". 'can' means "it's possible".

    I also didn't defend my position by "saying I know more than all the dictionary people who collectively decided ..."

    These are all ideas borne of your imagination.

    In order to defend my position, I've shown, from language, a number of things that simply do not lend support to the notion that modal verbs have tense.



    2006 old:I think you're being too demanding on the modals.


    Albeit old:I think that you're being too kind to those who have perpetuated this idea.

    2006 replies:No, that is my own thinking. I didn't read that somewhere and then write it here.

    Albeit newest responses:I'll allow that that's true.


    Albeit old:It finds no support in language use. Modal verbs can act in every time situation because their job isn't to carry tense; their job is do what modals do, carry a speaker's/writer's emotive feelings into a sentence.

    2006 new:I believe you are in denial here.

    Modals are not always emotive. They are also auxillary verbs.
    When I was young, I could run a mile without stopping. (not '...I can run a mile....')


    Albeit newest responses:That they are, modal auxiliary verbs.

    That's at least partially emotive, 2006. It might be bragging, it might be fact, but it still represents that person's opinion.

    'can', of course not; as I've already noted it's because it doesn't work semantically. Neither does would or should or might, all purported past tense. Nor do will, shall ormay work. Why, because only 'could' holds the normal neutral meaning of ability in the past.

    That doesn't stop 'can' from performing one of its jobs, a strong denial of someone suggesting they had a past ability that they didn't.

    A: When I was young, I could run a mile without stopping.

    B: He's a liar. He had polio as a youth. He can't have done that!



    2006 replies:I tried to keep this very short in the hope that this thread will soon wind down. It has become cumbersome to follow because of its length, and I think you will agree that we both have already spent too much time here.

    We don't seem to be convincing each other, but are presumably continuing because others are following it.


    Albeit newest responses:No, I don't agree with that, 2006. My intent isn't that I should convince you. I'm prepared to stay as long as necessary to help ESLs get shed of this notion that modals have tense. That way they can have a chance of having an accurate read on modal meaning.


    2006 old:2006 wrote: But I have some resposes to your last post and this will hopefully be my last post on this topic.

    [If this in fact will be my last post, I can later say 'That would happily be my last post.' (past tense "would")] (= That happily was my last post.)


    Albeit newest responses:That isn't an example of past tense 'would'. '

    That would happily be my last post." does NOT equal "That was my last post". No one would come out with "That would happily be my last post" as a mormal neutral way to describe a past event, to say, "That was my last post".

    What that is is an example of 'would' operating in a past time situation, which is much different, both semantically and syntactically than 'would' as a past tense.

    I have pointed out repeatedly that all modal verbs can do the same, operate in all time situations.

    'could' & 'would' have some special tasks in English that they alone perform. In order for you to remark, "'That would happily be my last post", you'd be making use of a special condition of 'would'.

    That doesn't automatically make them past tense. It's only natural that HISTORICAL past tense forms would keep these jobs but again, it's semantic, not syntactic.

    'should' hasn't kept any of these "special" uses, yet I believe you contend it too is a past tense.
    Last edited by albeit; 06-Sep-2009 at 03:43.

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    #38

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    Albeit old = Black

    2006 old = Magenta

    2006 = Red

    Albeit new = Blue

    Help! My monitor is black and white!
    (Fortunatelly I just got hid of the old phosphorus only green one)


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    #39

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    Help! My monitor is black and white!
    (Fortunatelly I just got hid of the old phosphorus only green one)
    I've edited it to try and make it clearer for you, YM. I hope that it helps.

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    #40

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    Albeit newest responses:No, I don't agree with that, 2006. My intent isn't that I should convince you. I'm prepared to stay as long as necessary to help ESLs get shed of this notion that modals have tense. That way they can have a chance of having an accurate read on modal meaning.

    Okay, fine. I'll also stick around for a while longer to continue to counteract your spread of misinformation. Stay tuned.

    And I'll point out to you that we're not talking about "modal meaning". We're talking about (modal) auxillary verbs, and specifically whether they have a past tense function.
    But I am not surprised that you may want to change the subject.
    Last edited by 2006; 06-Sep-2009 at 05:48. Reason: correct a bad omission

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