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    #1

    do these differ slightly?

    Does the placement of "tomorrow" in the following cause a nuance?

    (Right now) He needs us to do the task tomorrow.
    "Needs" here seems to tell me that presently he needs "us to do the task tomorrow".

    Tomorrow he needs us to do the task.
    Here "needs" seem to be a scheduled event in the future i.e. now he does not need us but tomorrow he needs us.

    Thank you.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: do these differ slightly?

    Quote Originally Posted by lycen View Post
    Does the placement of "tomorrow" in the following cause a nuance?

    (Right now) He needs us to do the task tomorrow.
    "Needs" here seems to tell me that presently he needs "us to do the task tomorrow".

    Tomorrow he needs us to do the task.
    Here "needs" seem to be a scheduled event in the future i.e. now he does not need us but tomorrow he needs us.

    Thank you.
    It possibly sounds more important when it's said the first way than the second.
    "I want to see you at 8 o'clock sharp in my office tomorrow morning."
    "Tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock sharp, I want to see you in my office."

    I think the importance effect comes from putting the 'need, want' verb at the start of the sentence, rather than any temporal difference between the times of wanting/needing being signalled grammatically by the word order.


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    #3

    Re: do these differ slightly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It possibly sounds more important when it's said the first way than the second.
    "I want to see you at 8 o'clock sharp in my office tomorrow morning."
    "Tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock sharp, I want to see you in my office."

    I think the importance effect comes from putting the 'need, want' verb at the start of the sentence, rather than any temporal difference between the times of wanting/needing being signalled grammatically by the word order.
    In that case, do "want" and "need" refer to the present i.e. present requirement/action?

    "Tomorrow he leaves" and "He leaves tomorrow" is the same to me; the only verb "leaves" is a scheduled future action.

    However in our examples, there are 2 verbs. I'm clear that "I want to see you at 8 o'clock sharp in my office tomorrow morning" is a present demand because of "want". Basically, the speaker wants at this moment for a future action "to see in my office tomorrow" to be fulfilled.

    However with "Tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock sharp, I want to see you in my office", it is ambiguous to me.

    Is "want" a scheduled future action like "leaves" in "Tomorrow he leaves" or is "want" a present need and "to see in my office" the future action?

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: do these differ slightly?

    Quote Originally Posted by lycen View Post
    In that case, do "want" and "need" refer to the present i.e. present requirement/action?
    It refers to a present need or desire of the speaker. But the need or desire doesn't have to be fulfilled until tomorrow. You can conceptualise this however you want. That's more a philosophical than a language issue.

    "Tomorrow he leaves" and "He leaves tomorrow" is the same to me; the only verb "leaves" is a scheduled future action.

    However in our examples, there are 2 verbs. I'm clear that "I want to see you at 8 o'clock sharp in my office tomorrow morning" is a present demand because of "want". Basically, the speaker wants at this moment for a future action "to see in my office tomorrow" to be fulfilled.

    However with "Tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock sharp, I want to see you in my office", it is ambiguous to me.
    No, he'd have to say "I will want ..." to make the distinction you're referring to. If he said that, you could make the case that there is no current want. But in normal pragmatic English, there's no ambiguity here.


    Is "want" a scheduled future action like "leaves" in "Tomorrow he leaves" or is "want" a present need and "to see in my office" the future action?
    The wanting is a present need which is to be fulfilled tomorrow.
    R.

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