Talk:Modal verb

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Michael Williams in "The English Verb" explicitly pairs "shall" and "should"; David Crystal lists them consecutively and Practical English Usage lists them consecutively - so I've gone back to that.--Bob M 18:06, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Must/should confess that I didn't actually check any sources - was playing it by ear. But won't haggle :)--Technopat 18:55, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

double modal verbs in the SW US[edit]

In Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona I would not be at all surprised to hear someone say "They might could help you." Such usage may be common elsewhere, but my "research" into this has been spotty. ;-) Will 11:02, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

I've no doubt you could. It's all about descriptive and prescriptive grammar. Take "to be" - there are many people in the UK who say "we was" instead of "we were". But if we are teaching non-native speakers we need to give them hard and fast rules about how the language works, telling them about various exceptions which exist in various parts of the English speaking world is not helpful.
In a sense we teach a "standard English" which perhaps does not exist outside of the minds of English teachers.  :-) --Bob M 12:18, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, it is a curous regionalism; sorry if mentioning it was off-topic. I remember it sounding odd when I've heard it, odd but understandable.
I think "standard English" does have an existence if one is willing to accept that any particular utterance may have partial membership in it, and that the degree of membership may be a matter of perception, varying among individuals. Somehow I think it is relevant to say that speakers of my primary brand of English consider it to be the pure (American) strain, free from any accent. Only after spending a lot of time away from the Great Lakes was I able to hear it as an accent.
On the scale from anthropologist to missionary I generally lean toward a playful polyglottal anthropological view, acknowledging prescription to be useful for assuring enough idiomatic uniformity that we understand each other. Will 13:17, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
On accents, it's interesting that these are typically something which other people have. I've met a number of people who maintain that they "don't have an accent". This is a bit strange as one can tell immediately that they:
  • come from a medium sized island in the North Atlantic.
  • that they come from the a part of that island called "England".
  • that you can usually make a good stab at which part of England.
Still they maintain they "don't have an accent".--Bob M 14:11, 9 September 2009 (UTC)


I did not want to edit this article - and possibly muck it up - at this stage. I have written an article on Modals. At some stage the two will need to be combined, but I'll leave them as they are for the moment. - Gramorak 21:15, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Modals are always difficult because they can be interpreted in various ways. For instance their use as "past" forms which I see you made a shot at. Apart from their use in reported speech I don't think they are really used as past forms.
But then there is the exception of "would" - "When I was younger we would always go to Brighton on holiday." It's a messy and potentially controversial area.
We might be better off pointing out to teachers that there are differing interpretations and they they shouldn't be too surprised if their textbooks contradict each other. --Bob M 22:56, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you. I shall come back to this later. At present I am attempting to see if I can provide information for the links in the verbs article.
I now have a problem -I have somehow got the article on Modals that I mentioned above up with the main title 'Modal Verbs'; this is unhelpful, as there is already this article with the title 'Modal Verb'. Eventually I'd like the two to be merged to avoid confusion. At present, I'd just like my article to stay up (subject to editing by others, of course), but with the main title as 'Modals. I can't seem to manage the change (I am far from expert at editing). Any assistance would be appreciated. --Gramorak 08:08, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Hi Gramorak. Don't worry of you're new at editing. We were all new once.  :-) So you want to move it to "modals"? I think you may lack permissions - but page moves are probably not something you really want to start playing with just yet anyway, so I've done it for you. Cheers.--Bob M 10:55, 22 March 2011 (UTC)