grammar

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Casiopea

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RonBee said:
Should I say Cas is smarter than me or Cas is smarter than I?

:wink:


Cas is neither. :oops:

_________
Descriptive grammar
"I" with a verb: smarter than I am. :D
"me" without a verb: smarter than me. :D
(e.g. between you and me) :D

Prescriptive grammar
"I" after than: smarter than I. :D
"me" never after than: smarter than me. :(
(e.g. between you and me) :D
 

RonBee

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I don't know who is smarter between us,
But men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

:wink:
 

Tdol

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It's a proper noun, however improper the user. ;-)
 
C

CitySpeak

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Casiopea said:
tdol said:
You can't have is perfectly normal BE. The positive is not used, we would use must have instead. ;-)

CitySpeak said:
I don't understand how "You must have seen him." is used as the opposite of "You can't have seen him."

"The positive (i.e. You can have seen him) is not used, we would use must have instead." In other words, speakers do not use 'can have -en' forms, which tdol refers to as 'The positive' form of 'can't have -en' because it lacks negation, 'not'.

To me, You can't have seen him = You couldn't have seen him.

Moreover, to me, the opposite , or affirmative of 'can't have' is 'can have':

Negative: You can't have that cake. (means, impossible)
Affirmative: You can have that cake. (means, possible)

But there is no 'can have -en',

Negative: You can't have seen him. (means, impossible, OK)
Affirmative: You can have seen him. (means, possible, Not OK)

"You can have seen him is not Ok because 'can' must agree in Time with 'seen'==> "You could have seen him. In the case of "You can't have seen him", which is Ok, it differs in that the adverb 'not' serves to sever the relationship between 'can' and 'seen', like this,

a. You can [do this] (e.g. You can [have the cake])
b. You can [not have seen him]. S+V+O

In b. the "not have seen him" functions as the object of the verb "can". compare, c. below, wherein "not have seen" functions as the verb phrase and "him" functions as the object of that phrase:

c. You could not have seen [him]. S+V+O

Let's compare the two,

d. You can not have seen him. object
e. You could not have seen him. object

The difference between d. and e. has to do with structure. Some speakers view "can" as a verb (as in d.), whereas other speakers view "can" as a modal (as in e.) If speakers view "can" as a modal, then "can" must agree in Time with "seen" (i.e. could have seen); if speakers view "can" as a verb, then "can" need not agree in Time with "seen" because "seen" is not functioning as a verb; it's functioning as an object.

:D

I'm well aware of all that. :p :shock:

Using "must have" as the contrary form of "can't have" still does not make sense to me. I will continue to only use "couldn't have" and not "can't have". I completely understand how "can't have" may be taken as a stronger or more certain statement, but I think "couldn't have+participle" does the job just fine. I can't be sure we really need "can't have+participle".

I view "can" as a modal, by the way. Modals are not verbs.
 

RonBee

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CitySpeak said:
I view "can" as a modal, by the way. Modals are not verbs.

What is the verb in "I can"?

:)
 
C

CitySpeak

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RonBee said:
CitySpeak said:
I view "can" as a modal, by the way. Modals are not verbs.

What is the verb in "I can"?

:)


Glad you asked, really. 8) :shock: :)


The verb would be understood in the conversation.

2 - Can you help me with this please?

9 - Yes, I can. I'll be right there.

understood - Yes, I can help you.

Here the verb is "help". The verb "help" is given additional meaning with the modal "can".

I might help you.

I may help you.

I will help you.

I would help you, but.........

I should help you.

I shall help you.

I can help you.

I could help you.

I must help you.

Of course we can negate all of these. And, of course, we can also put them in the past by adding "have+past participle". The exception would, of course, be "can". - no "can have+past participle.

This is my view of modals. That's how I see it, as the system of English verbs is principally non-inflected. In a way, sometime we might see the modals as the "inflections", as they add meaning to verbs in English.

We might classify "do", "does" and "did" with modals. They are all auxiliaries. The three "Ds" also serve to add meaning to a verb in their own way.

As I see it, all auxiliaries revolve around the verb in English. To me, this is logical.


When I think of "I can", I think "can what?" What is the "thing" I can do. That's were the verb comes in.
 

Tdol

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CitySpeak said:
I view "can" as a modal, by the way. Modals are not verbs.

I view 'can' as a modal, but I think of modals as verbs. They are often close to adverbs in meaning or effect, but they still come into the verb category in my book. ;-)
 
C

CitySpeak

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tdol said:
CitySpeak said:
I view "can" as a modal, by the way. Modals are not verbs.

I view 'can' as a modal, but I think of modals as verbs. They are often close to adverbs in meaning or effect, but they still come into the verb category in my book. ;-)


Very well, but let me ask you. Do you understand the logic I illustrated about modals? Even though you do see modals as verbs, does the logic I outlined, at least, make sense to you?

From a teaching and learning point of view, I also find it more practical to show modals/auxiliaries as revolving around verbs to affect and change their meaning.

Honestly though, I can't see how modals represent any sort of action. At best they are states - states which change the meaning of verbs.
 

Tdol

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They are a funny bunch and very slippery characters. You can study them for years and they still continue to surprise. I see what your getting at, but the fact that they show tense means I don't think I could ever get away from seeing them as verbs. ;-)
 
C

CitySpeak

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tdol said:
They are a funny bunch and very slippery characters. You can study them for years and they still continue to surprise. I see what your getting at, but the fact that they show tense means I don't think I could ever get away from seeing them as verbs. ;-)


Showing tense or indicating time is not enough for me. That would simply be one of the ways in which they add to or alter the meaning of verbs.
 

RonBee

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If can is a modal and not a verb and do is a modal and not a verb. what about "I can do it?"

:)
 
C

CitySpeak

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RonBee said:
If can is a modal and not a verb and do is a modal and not a verb. what about "I can do it?"

:)


In, "I can do it.", "can" is adding meaning to the verb "do".

Here, "do" is functioning as a verb, not an auxiliary. 8) :) "Can" is the auxiliary in that sentence.

:)


"Do" functions as a verb and an auxiliary. I don't believe I said anything about it being a modal. :shock: :shock:

Things are getting a little bit winding, perhaps.
 

RonBee

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CitySpeak said:
RonBee said:
If can is a modal and not a verb and do is a modal and not a verb. what about "I can do it?"

:)


In, "I can do it.", "can" is adding meaning to the verb "do".

Here, "do" is functioning as a verb, not an auxiliary. 8) :) "Can" is the auxiliary in that sentence.

:)


"Do" functions as a verb and an auxiliary. I don't believe I said anything about it being a modal. :shock: :shock:

What about:
We might classify "do", "does" and "did" with modals. They are all auxiliaries. The three "Ds" also serve to add meaning to a verb in their own way.

:)
 
C

CitySpeak

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RonBee said:
CitySpeak said:
RonBee said:
If can is a modal and not a verb and do is a modal and not a verb. what about "I can do it?"

:)


In, "I can do it.", "can" is adding meaning to the verb "do".

Here, "do" is functioning as a verb, not an auxiliary. 8) :) "Can" is the auxiliary in that sentence.

:)


"Do" functions as a verb and an auxiliary. I don't believe I said anything about it being a modal. :shock: :shock:

What about:
We might classify "do", "does" and "did" with modals. They are all auxiliaries. The three "Ds" also serve to add meaning to a verb in their own way.

:)


I'll clarify what I meant there. I mean they are all "auxiliaries". I mean we can classify them with modals as auxiliaries. We can think of all of them as "auxiliaries".

The three Ds - do does did - are not modals; however, they are auxiliaries.

8) :shock: :)
 

Casiopea

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CitySpeak said:
I don't understand how "You must have seen him" is used as the opposite of "You can't have seen him."

tdol said:
The positive [can have seen] is not used [in BE], we would use must have instead. ;-)

Negative: You can't have seen him.
Positive: You must have seen him.

Not being a BE speaker myself, I, too, don't get the association: can have seen (possibility) = must have seen (insistence).

:D
 
J

jwschang

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tdol said:
You can't have is perfectly normal BE. The positive is not used, we would use must have instead. ;-)

I agree although I ain't a BE speaker! :wink: A side issue on the present perfect:

1. You saw him last week.
2. You have seen him last week. (Not OK, present perfect not used with past and finished time, unless used with modal auxiliary, which gives a different meaning to the verb construction)
3. You can have seen him last week. (Not OK)
4. You could have seen him last week. (Modal used, OK to use present perfect with finished time)
5. You must have seen him last week. (Modal used, OK to use present perfect with finished time)
6. You can't have seen him last week. (Modal used, OK to use present perfect with finished time)
7. You couldn't have seen him last week. (Modal used, OK to use present perfect with finished time)

Am I correct re the usage of the present perfect? :wink:
 
J

jwschang

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tdol said:
They are a funny bunch and very slippery characters. You can study them for years and they still continue to surprise. I see what your getting at, but the fact that they show tense means I don't think I could ever get away from seeing them as verbs. ;-)

Absolutely. :lol: Funny, very slippery and want-to-be-difficult bunch of characters they are!! As are shall/should/will/would. Shady and opportunistic too, they ride on the backs of other people (oops, I mean other verbs). Enigmatic and inscrutable sometimes, pushy and could be ambivalent if you don't acknowledge them. But very very good for double-talk! Try using them to proposition your girl (not excluding any intention of eventually marrying her). :lol:
 
J

jwschang

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tdol said:
It's a proper noun, however improper the user. ;-)

Is it a proper noun improbably improperly used by an improper user?
 

Casiopea

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tdol said:
CitySpeak said:
I view "can" as a modal, by the way. Modals are not verbs.

I view 'can' as a modal, but I think of modals as verbs. They are often close to adverbs in meaning or effect, but they still come into the verb category in my book. ;-)

Verbs have participle forms (e.g. see: seen, seeing)

=> see, saw, seen, seeing (verb) I have seen it.
=> is, was, been, being (auxiliary verb, linking function)
=> do, did, done, doing (auxiliary verb, referential function)
=> can, could, ? , ? (not a verb) *I have could it.

Auxiliary verbs carry person and number inflection for the verbs they give help to (e.g. do, does)

=> She sees. She does see. Does she see?
=> She walked. She did walk. Did she walk?

Modals do not have participle forms, nor do they carry person and number inflection for the verbs they modify:

=> can
participle: *I am canning.
agreement: *She cans. *She does can. *Does she can?

Modals modify verbs:

I can do it. (modal auxiliares)
I would help you if I could (help you). (modal auxiliaries)

There are two major categories: verbs & modals. There are auxiliary verbs (e.g. To Be) and modals that act like auxiliaries (e.g. can).

:D
 
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