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    #1

    Use of Modal Verbs

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to express your opinion about the following sentences? Could you catch the meaning of every one of them without an explanatory context?

    1. You will get dinner ready.
    2. Will you (could you) get dinner ready?
    3. You should (ought to) get dinner ready.
    4. You should have got dinner ready.
    5. You can get dinner ready.
    You neednít get dinner ready.
    6. I have to get (must get) dinner ready.
    I had to get dinner ready.
    Iíll have to get dinner ready.
    7. Can she have got dinner ready?
    8. She must be getting dinner ready.

    Thank you in advance for your efforts.

    Regards.

    V.

  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Use of Modal Verbs

    1. You will get dinner ready.
    => A command

    2. Will you (could you) get dinner ready?
    => A (poilte) request

    3. You should (ought to) get dinner ready.
    => An obligation

    4. You should have got dinner ready.
    => An obligation that wasn't fulfilled

    5. You can get dinner ready.
    => A suggestion

    6. You needn't get dinner ready.
    => You don't have to

    6. I have to get (must get) dinner ready.
    => A necessity

    7. I had to get dinner ready.
    => A past necessity

    8. I'll have to get dinner ready.
    => A future necessity

    9. Can she have got dinner ready?
    => informal for "Could she have...?";i.e., is it possible that she could have got dinner ready (by now)?

    10. She must be getting dinner ready.
    => An assumption


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    #3

    Re: Use of Modal Verbs

    Hi Soup,

    Thank you for your successful attempt. Judging by the results I think that this one was a near guess.

    Nr 3 = a bit of advice
    Nr 4 = criticism of a past action
    Nr 5a and 5b = permission to do or not to do smth.
    Nr 7 = strong doubt about the actions taking place in the past
    Nr 8 = near certainty about the actions taking place at the moment of speech

    Thank you for your empathy.

    Regards.

    V.

  2. Soup's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Use of Modal Verbs

    vil, I can only give you what my intuition as a native speakers tell me. You had, after all, asked, "Could you catch the meaning of every one of them without an explanatory context?" So, yes, I guess you could say they were near guesses.

    Hope that helps.

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    #5

    Re: Use of Modal Verbs

    Hi Soup,

    Thank you again more than I can say. I have to begin every my sentence with the words "Sorry!" Pardon me!". I am doing that by way of an apology to you just in case it befalls an unintentional indecorum on my part in conscequence of my misinterpretation and misapplication of many English words and expression. Something that left misunderstood from many fault-finding pople at the present forum who think they are highborn only because are NSE by birth. May it please God they are for the present a minority.

    I accept with thanks your backing.

    Regards.

    V.


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    #6

    Re: Use of Modal Verbs

    I think what Soup was expressing, and it's a very very important point, is that especially with modals, context, who one is talking to, and even whether a contraction is used or not, are all crucial as to meaning and emotive feeling.

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    #7

    Re: Use of Modal Verbs

    Agreed.
    In another context,
    1. You will get dinner ready.
    => A command
    can have a different meaning, as in "I guess you will get dinner ready as soon as you can"

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    #8

    Re: Use of Modal Verbs

    Hi Riverkid,

    Thank you for your kind and very edifying explanation. Thanks ever so much for your gratuitous help and your invaluable working knowledge which is handed down by you so generously and without reservation.

    Regards.

    V.

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    #9

    Re: Use of Modal Verbs

    Hi Kraken,

    I take your view expressed in your post above.

    Thank you for your further explanation as well as for your vivid diversification.

    Regards.

    V.

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    #10

    Re: Use of Modal Verbs

    Thank you for being so kind. You're welcome.

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