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    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #1

    Present or Modal?

    Dear teachers, I would like to know which tense is correct, the present or the modal?

    Mr. A, what will/would it be if there is/was one thing that you can/could suggest parents should do right now which will/would make a difference with their children?

    Is/Was there any effective way to prevent our parents from reverting to the old way of communicating with their chrildren?

    After the seminar tonight, I think/thought I would handle this habit of mind and listen to my child's concerns. However, I would also like to know how could I make her talk to me?

    Thank you.


    Last edited by alal6375; 03-Dec-2007 at 14:08.


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    #2

    Re: Present or Modal?

    Mr. A: "What would it be if there was one thing that you could suggest parents should do right now which would make a difference with their children?

    Is there any effective way to prevent our parents from reverting to the old way of communicating with their chrildren?

    After the seminar tonight, I think I would handle this habit of mind and listen to my child's concerns.
    The use of 'would' gives the meaning, 'because now I see how important it is to do so." The use of 'could' would mean, 'because of the information you've given, if I put it into practice, I think I should be able to do it.'

    However, I would also like to know, how could I make her talk to me?
    Last edited by David L.; 04-Dec-2007 at 04:22.


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    #3

    Re: Present or Modal?

    [quote=David L.;233405]Mr. A: "What would it be if there was one thing that you could suggest parents should do right now which would make a difference with their children?"
    Thank you for reply, Davil L. What if I change the modal "would" into "will and can"? Are there any differences in meaning?

    "What will it be if there is one thing that you can suggest parents should do right now which will make a difference with their children?"

    By the way, is it also the so-called "in tentative sense"(more indirect and polite in asking) by using the modal "would" rather than "will" (more direct, straight forward in asking)?


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    #4

    Re: Present or Modal?

    'will' cannot be substituted for 'would' in the sentence you have given, because you use 'if' - this is a conditional clause. So, "IF there was one thing you COULD suggest...'

    What about though: " Mr. A. Is there something/anything you can suggest that parents can do that will make a difference...?"

    Yes, could/would is a more polite way of phrasing a request. However, understand that what is regarded as 'normal' politeness in Asian countries seems 'overly-polite' to Westerners, to the point of being deferential. I note in posts, for example, that it seems in Asian countries that to ask a teacher to clarify their reasoning behind some statement, never mind actually disagree with a teacher, is never done. This is taken as a matter of course in our schools and universities, as it is a sign of developing one's capacity for critical reasoning. In the sentences you have given, I can well imagine somebody in the UK saying, "Mr. A, can you suggest a way I can make my kids talk to me more about their problems?" This would be seen as a bit 'matter-of-fact' but not impolite. I myself would use the could/would phrasing, because it softens the request so it seems less of a 'demand', less 'come on and tell me!'
    Last edited by David L.; 04-Dec-2007 at 05:19.


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    #5

    Re: Present or Modal?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    'will' cannot be substituted for 'would' in the sentence you have given, because you use 'if' - this is a conditional clause. So, "IF there was one thing you COULD suggest...'

    What about though: " Mr. A. Is there something/anything you can suggest that parents can do that will make a difference...?"

    Yes, could/would is a more polite way of phrasing a request. However, understand that what is regarded as 'normal' politeness in Asian countries seems 'overly-polite' to Westerners, to the point of being deferential. I note in posts, for example, that it seems in Asian countries that to ask a teacher to clarify their reasoning behind some statement, never mind actually disagree with a teacher, is never done. This is taken as a matter of course in our schools and universities, as it is a sign of developing one's capacity for critical reasoning. In the sentences you have given, I can well imagine somebody in the UK saying, "Mr. A, can you suggest a way I can make my kids talk to me more about their problems?" This would be seen as a bit 'matter-of-fact' but not impolite. I myself would use the could/would phrasing, because it softens the request so it seems less of a 'demand', less 'come on and tell me!'
    Thank you for your detailed explanation.

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