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Thread: shall

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    #71

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    Thank you, Bhaisahab. So, it's clear that modals have specific tasks in English, that they can jump, hop and skip around from past to present to future.

    Now if we try to describe your example,

    "When I was a young man I could jump over stumps, now I am old I can only sit on them."

    as illustrative of 'could' as a past tense of 'can', why wouldn't 'could' also function as a past tense of 'can' in,

    a. I can jump over that stump.

    [jumps over the stump]

    b. *I could jump over the stump.*

    [*---* denotes ungrammatical for the specific use]

    If it was so crucial for 'could' to be the past tense of 'can', and I think you agree that that's something important to meaning in language, why would modal meaning, [in this case in sentence b, which holds a conditional sense], trump the tense sense?
    My thoughts are, that all these tense senses of the modals are vestigal from the origins of the words in Old English. With "can/could" it hasn't quite disappeared, but with "shall/should" it certainly has.

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    #72

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "When I was a young man I could jump over stumps, now I am old I can only sit on them."
    That is a very clear example of past tense "could", but good luck getting albeit to admit it. He'll call it something else.


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    #73

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    That is a very clear example of past tense "could", but good luck getting albeit to admit it. He'll call it something else.
    Uuuummmmmm, 2006.

    2006 wrote:

    What absolute rubbish nonsense! "can" doesn't work because you need the past tense "could"!

    You can not say 'When I was young I can run a mile...'.
    It has nothing to do with semantics. Do you realize how foolish you sound?
    Nothing to do with semantics, eh?

    A: Where is the money?

    B: Bill could have it.

    B: Bill might have it.

    B: *Bill can have it. *

    [* --- * denotes ungrammatical for the situation]

    Why do you suppose 'can', a purported present tense can't be used here in a present time situation, but 'could' and 'might', both purported past tenses, can be, 2006?

    =====================

    may might could can in their epistemic sense, all relate a sense of possibility

    It may rain.

    It might rain.

    It could rain.

    It can rain there in the winter.

    Yet when we try to use the last three, can could might in this fashion in the subjunctive,

    May you have a long and fruitful life.

    *Can you have a long and fruitful life.*

    *Could you have a long and fruitful life.*

    *Might you have a long and fruitful life.*

    [* --- * denotes ungrammatical for the situation]

    they don't seem to work. I wonder why that is.
    Last edited by albeit; 09-Sep-2009 at 05:41.

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    #74

    Re: shall

    What are you hoping to accomplish by recopying your previous obfuscation? It has nothing to do with bhaisahab's sentence.


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    #75

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    What are you hoping to accomplish by recopying your previous obfuscation? It has nothing to do with bhaisahab's sentence.
    2006 wrote:
    That is a very clear example of past tense "could",
    You call Bhaisahab's example a "clear example of past tense 'could'. I have pointed out to you that it's not a syntactic connection; that it's a semantic one.

    2006 wrote:

    What absolute rubbish nonsense! "can" doesn't work because you need the past tense "could"!

    You can not say 'When I was young I can run a mile...'.
    It has nothing to do with semantics.
    After you stamped your feet and shouted that, - let me get the exact quote -

    "[I]t has nothing to do with semantics",

    I gave examples that brought your notion into question. And you think there's no connection. I wonder why you didn't address those very things that illustrate that your notion is false.

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    #76

    Re: shall

    obfuscation, nonsense, obfuscation....
    good bye

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    #77

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    She's right that I knew it was meant as a conditional

    Lady: "Sir Winston, If I were your wife, I should flavour your tea with poison."
    Winston: "If you were my wife, Madam, I should drink it." (should = would).
    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    In fact she thought that maybe he didn't mean it conditionally, she thought that, possibly, if it had been his wife, he would have been obliged to drink it.
    In my experience most BrE speakers would use "would" in that kind of situation. My daughter was born in Ireland, but has been educated (up until now) in India and France.
    I feel that here somehow these two meaning of 'should' (conditional and obligation) overlap. If the first statement happens to be true, the second becomes a must. So I think one can interpret Churchill here as if he had that lady as his wife he would be obliged to drink the poisoned tea. It is still a conditional, even with the obligation idea.

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    #78

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    I feel that here somehow these two meaning of 'should' (conditional and obligation) overlap. If the first statement happens to be true, the second becomes a must. So I think one can interpret Churchill here as if he had that lady as his wife he would be obliged to drink the poisoned tea. It is still a conditional, even with the obligation idea.
    Yes I agree, I was trying to explain (badly as it turns out) my daughter's take on it.

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