November 2005 Archives
I recently attended a talk on English grammar given by Michael Swan and he pointed out some changes in modal usage. Firstly there are changes in the way some modals are being used, like the use of you may have been klled instead of you might have been killed when we know that the person didn't die. He also said that we are using modals less nowadays, an observation that reflects on quite an important change in language, one I hadn't noticed at all.
My newspaper quoted the recently elected president of Liberia:
"We're going to do it right from day one," Johnson-Sirleaf, a widowed grandmother, said in her trademark glasses.
The more I looked at this sentence, the crasser it appeared to me.