View Poll Results: You really ____ not to have said that.

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815. This poll is closed
  • should

    443 54.36%
  • ought

    372 45.64%
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Thread: Modals

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  1. #1
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Modals

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    Highlight here: ought

  2. #2

    Re: Modals

    I'think 'should' is correct.Am I right?

  3. #3
    jean-paul Guest

    Re: Modals

    Technically, "ought" in NOT a modal, as it is followed by an infinitive introduced by TO.
    Compare: you should do it ≠ you ought to do it.

    Similarly, NEED can be a modal or a full verb. Compare:

    you needn't do it ≠ you don't need to do it

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Modals

    Many would disagree with that; it does take 'to, but forms negatives and questions like modals, and has no infinitive. Importantly, its meaning carries modality, so the technical evidence suggests to many that it is a modal. Modal verbs are not defined as 'verbs that do not take an infinitive without to'.
    Last edited by Tdol; 27-Apr-2005 at 08:06. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    jean-paul Guest

    Re: Modals

    Let me quote my favourite specialist of English grammar (Henri Adamczewski):

    OUGHT is to SHOULD what HAVE is to MUST

    (1) You have to come ≠ (2) you must come

    In (2) the modal MUST expresses the way the speaker sees the relation between the subject "YOU" and the action "COME"

    In (1), there's no modality at all. The speaker has no responsibility in the fact that "YOU" is in the obligation of coming.

    OUGHT and SHOULD function in the same way exactly, and so do NEED (verb) and NEED (modal)

    (1) You don't need to come to work tomorrow (it's Sunday).
    (2) You needn't come tomorrow (I can finish the job myself).

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Modals

    Try putting sentence 1) into the negative and your analysis breaks down. Because 'oughtn't is not to 'shouldn't' as 'don't have to' is to 'mustn't'.

    One example of 'must' doesn't conclude much about modality:

    I must get my haircut.
    This could have many different meanings.

    How are you defining modality?

    Many grammarians say 'ought' is a modal', so your initial claim that it technically isn't a modal was inaccurate as it is a statement of opinion rather than a generally accepted fact. 'Ought' regularly appears in lists of modals.

    If you want to argue that it isn't, I'm fine with that, but I haven't seen anything here to change my view yet.
    Last edited by Tdol; 27-Apr-2005 at 19:56.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Modals

    Quote Originally Posted by selinat
    I'think 'should' is correct.Am I right?
    I'm afraid not- don't use 'should' with 'to'. The answer is 'ought'.

  8. #8

    Re: Modals

    I'm sure that we can use ought with To in modals.

  9. #9

    Re: Modals

    l think lam right

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