Sunday, 9 February 2014

Modal Verbs

Can, could, may, might, will, would, shall, should (Modals)

4.187 CAN

Generally CAN indicates freedom. When I say I can do something my message is one of these:
           there’s nothing to stop me from doing it if I want to,
           I know how to do it,
           I have the permission to do it,
           It’s possible for me to do it. 

           I can lift this box with one hand.
         Can you swim?
         You can borrow my car if you want to.
         Anybody can learn to cook.
Let’s see in detail the messages we can convey using ‘can’:

1. Possibility 
         You can attend an Intermediate class or an Advanced class.
         You can sit here until I come back. (if you like)
         I’ll see what I can do.
         Can you call me back tomorrow, say, 3 p.m.?
Note: This ‘possibility’ meaning of can is only theoretical, i.e. it’s possible for you to attend either class.
          It does not indicate/mean ‘you are likely or not likely to attend either class’. For this you
          have to use may,  might or could:
           I may attend the Advanced class.
        ‘You can sit here until I come back.’   ‘Thanks, but I may/might not.’
        Will you answer the phone? It could/may/might be your mother.’ 

2. Permission
         You can switch on the TV.
        ‘Can we borrow these books?’ 
Note: When used for ‘permission’, can is an informal alternative to may.

3. Ability—know how to something
         general/present time
         I can speak French well.
       He can cook better his wife.
       He can do the work of three men.
       I can help you if you permit.
       I can’t answer the question.
       I can’t speak Thelugu.  
Note:  Be able to is possible in these sentences but not as common as can.

         future time
       You will be able to pass your driving test next time you take it.
    (NOT: You can pass your driving test next time you take it.)
      Our baby will be able to walk in a few weeks.
    (NOT: Our baby can walk in a few weeks.)

But can is used to make decisions in the present time about future ability: 
      We can talk about that later.
      We are too busy today but we can repair your car tomorrow.

Note: Can cannot be used in present perfect tense form.
       Since his accident, he hasn’t been able to leave the house. 
       I haven’t been able to get much work done today.

4. Characteristic behaviour   
       He can tell awful lies.
      He can be very tactless sometimes.
      Scotland can be warm in September.
      It can be very cold here in winter.

5. Offer help(only with first person)
       I can do that for you.
      I can lend you a hundred, if that will help.

6. Unusual but possible
       Even expert drivers can make mistakes.
      Your brother is usually cooperative but he can be stubborn at times.

7. Circumstances permit
       You can come to the meeting tomorrow, I suppose.
      You can ski on the hills.

8. Opportunity    
       As tomorrow is a holiday, we can spend the day at home.
      I can meet you any evening after Monday next. 

9. Make suggestions
      We can meet in a restaurant tonight, if you like.
     ‘What shall we do?’  ‘We can try asking Srinidhi for help.’
     Can we meet again tomorrow?

10. Help express an on-going ‘progression’ of ‘state’ verbs that cannot be used in
      progressive tense:
         I can’t understand what he’s saying.
        He can’t remember a thing. 
        I can smell something burning.                } These are ‘sense’ experiences
        I can see Sashi over there.                     } going on at the moment
        I can feel something crawling up my leg.  } of speaking.   

Negative Sentences
1. Prohibition
         We can’t wear jeans at work.        = We mustn’t wear jeans at work.
        You can’t park your vehicle here.  = You mustn’t part your vehicle here.
         You can’t smoke here.                      = You mustn’t smoke here.
        You can’t go swimming.                = You mustn’t go swimming.

2. Characteristic behaviour
         Gold can’t be dissolved in hydrochloric acid.
        You can’t get him to believe in God.

3. Unreadiness to believe a fact
         It can’t be four o’clock already!
       That can’t be Sruthi—she’s in Trivandrum.
       He can’t have slept through all that noise.
       She can’t have missed the way. I explained the route carefully and even drew a map.
       He left just now; he can’t have gone very far.

4. Can’t help + -ing = can’t avoid + ing
        I can’t help thinking he knows more than he has told us.
       I can’t help having an argument with my superior all the time.
       A Maruti Suzuki TV Ad says, ‘Can’t help showing off!’
       She’s selfish by nature but somehow I can’t help liking her.
    Other structures:
        It’s a pity we missed the film but it couldn’t be helped = We had to miss the film.
       She burst out laughing—she couldn’t help herself = She couldn’t stop herself from
       I couldn’t help it if the bus came late. = It wasn’t my fault that the bus came late.
Note: ‘Not’ is written separately from ‘can’ only where emphasis on or separation of the negative is
          necessary:     Can you not interrupt, please!     Can I not help you?
                                 He says we can refuse but we can certainly not.   
Question Sentences
1. ask for permission
        Can I borrow your car for a day?
       Can I buy you a drink?

2. Polite request 
        Can you come here for a minute, please?
       Can you tell me the right time, please? 
       Can I read your newspaper?
       Can I take you home?     
Note: can’t is used for sincere/serious request:   
         Can’t you help him?
         Can’t you let her have what she wants?  
Request for help:
        Can you help me with this sum?
       Can you help me with this box?
       Can you pass the salt? (at the dining table)    

3. Ability
        Can you type?
       Can you remember where they live?
       He can’t ride a bike.

4. Possibility in the present
        Can the news be true?
       Can it be Sadhana?
       What can she possibly want?

5. Negative meaning
        How can you bear that noise? =(Isn’t it unbearable?)
       How can you talk like that? =(It’s unfair of you to talk like that.)

6. Guessing about the past/expressing doubt or surprise
        What can they be doing?
       Can she be serious?
       Where can she have gone?
       What can have happened to her?

Modal auxiliaries and speculation in the past time:
      He had to cut the grass himself. (obligation and action performed)
      He didn’t have to cut the grass himself. (no obligation and no action performed)
      He needn’t have cut the grass himself. (no obligation but action performed)
       He may have cut the grass himself. (It’s possible he cut the grass but I doubt it.)
       He might have cut the grass himself. (It’s possible he cut the grass but I doubt it very much.)
        He could have cut the grass himself. (He didn’t do it, probably didn’t want to.)
      He should have cut the grass himself. (He was supposed to do it but didn’t)

4.188 COULD

In statement sentences

1. This is used as past tense form of ‘can’ in reported speech:
          He said, ‘I can’t come to the meeting.’  (direct speech)
         He said (that) he couldn’t come to the meeting. (indirect/reported speech)

          He said, ‘I can lend you the money if you want it.’
         He said (that) he could lend me the money if I wanted it.

2. It is used in conditional clauses where something that is not happening or will not
    happen is imagined to be so:  
          If you tried harder, you could get better grades. (future)
        If you loved him, you could forgive him. (present)
        You could help him if you wanted to.      (present/future)
   In all these, neither the condition nor the result are happening or will happen. But the speakers
   are imagining both the condition and the result to be happening in the present or to happen in
   the future. This is called ‘hypothetical’ conditional clause.

3. Possibility
         My grandmother could be unpleasant at times. (past)
        Will you answer the phone? It could be Suresh? (present)
        According to the radio, it could rain this evening. (future)
        You couldn’t have left it on the bus, could you? (past)
        I could do it now, if you like.                            (present)
        She could’ve gone off with her friends. (past)

4. Hesitant suggestion
         You could phone Ravi and see if he’s coming.
        You could help me move the furniture.
         You could always try his home number.
        They could write a letter to the Director.
        We could try asking Saritha, if you think it’s a good idea.

5. Offer of help
         I could do the shopping for you (, if you’re tired).
        I could deliver the parcel for you (, if you want me to).
6. Ability
         He was a terrific liar; he could make anyone believe him. (past)
        I read the letter but couldn’t understand it.
        She could play the veena when she was young.
        Years ago, only men could vote in elections.
        Could he get another job (if he left this one)? (hypothetical) (present/future)
        I could get you a copy if you want one. (conditional) (present/future)
        He could have stopped the train. (but he didn’t)
        I could have lent you the money. Why didn’t you ask me?
Note:  Use ‘was/were + able + to’ to express ability in the past time with reference to a particular action,
           not ‘could + infinitive’:
           How many eggs were you able to sell? (don’t say: how many eggs could you sell?

7. Permission
         Father said we could switch on the TV.
        On week days we had to get up early but on Sundays we could stay in bed till nine.

8. Gentle doubt
        His story could be true but I hardly think it is.
        You could be right but I don’t think you are.
         It could rain this evening.

In interrogative sentences

1. Permission
         Could I use your phone, please?
        Could I borrow you car?
        Could I ask you something, if you aren’t too busy?
    This use of  ‘could’ is politer than the use of ‘can’ because it expresses an element of hesitation
     on the part of the speaker.      

2. Polite request
          Could you pass the salt? (at the dining table)
         Could you tell me the time, please?
         Could you show me the way?
          Couldn’t come a little earlier?  
          Could you babysit for us on Friday?
    ‘Could you’ introduces a politer request than ‘can/would you’.

3. Tentative suggestion
          Could we meet again tomorrow?
         You could always say ‘no’ to her suggestion.
          I could do that for you
4. Offer
         could I give you a lift?
In all these four senses/meanings, ‘could’ is formal and ‘can’ is informal.

5. Possibility
        The money has disappeared, who could have taken it?  

In negative statement sentences

1. Ability
        I hurt my food so I couldn’t play in yesterday’s match.
       He read the message but couldn’t understand it.
        I tried to life the box but couldn’t.

2. Prohibition
        The junior staff couldn’t use the front door. (=are prohibited to……)
        We couldn’t smoke in the restaurant.

3. Hypothetical sense
        in the past
       Even if he had been there, he couldn’t have helped you.
            (he wasn’t there, he didn’t help you.)
        in the present and future
            (see 2 under ‘statement sentences’)

4. Unavoidable in the past
     She couldn’t help wondering what he was up to.
     I’m sorry. I couldn’t help overhearing what you said. 

5. possibility
    She couldn’t be serious about her marriage. (It’s not possible that she is serious, is it?)

4.189 MAY

In Statement sentences

1. Possibility (with a degree of doubt)

    It may rain tomorrow.               (It’s possible it’ll rain but I doubt it.)
    He may need to borrow money. (It’s possible he’ll need money but I doubt it.)
    The news may be true.             (It’s possible the news is true but I doubt it.) 

    Note: ‘May’ expresses less doubt and ‘might’, more doubt.

2. Likelihood
    You may walk miles and miles through the forest without meeting anyone.

3. Result of an arrangement
    You may go by bus or by train.
    Note: Here ‘may’ can be replaced by ‘can’, which is informal and more frequently used.
     1, 2 and 3 talk about present or future time.        

4. Speculative past
    He may have gone.                                        
    The letter may have been sent.
    If you had asked her, she may have joined you.

5. Permission
    You may leave after half an hour.
    He may borrow my car if he so wishes.
    Note: ‘May’ indicates permission given by the speaker whereas ‘can’, permission in
               a more general and impersonal sense:
                    You may leave when you like. (I permit you to leave when you like.)
                    You can leave when you like.  (You are permitted to leave when you like.)
     In the meaning of ‘permission’, ‘may’ is more formal and less common than ‘can’.

6. Wishes
    May you prosper!
    May the best team win!
    May God bless you!
    May you both be happy!
    May the New Year bring you all your heart desires!
    May she rest in peace! (for a dead person)

7. Concession (with a ‘but’)
     He may be poor but he’s honest. (He’s poor, yes, but he’s honest.)
     He may be the shop owner but he’s kind to his shop assistant.  
     (It’s true he’s the shop owner but…)
     You may be a good teacher but you’re a terrible student.
    It may be a very fast and comfortable car but it uses a lot of petrol.
    He may be clever but he hasn’t got much common sense.
    We may have our differences but we do respect each other. (I admit we have our…)
     Strange as it may seem (Strange to say), I’m looking forward to the exam.
    I don’t really enjoy television, strange as it may seem.

8. Reluctant recommendation
    We may as well stay the night here. [=There’s no point looking elsewhere.]
     You may as well the tell the truth. [=You gain nothing by not telling the truth, so you better tell the truth]

9. Polite comment/enquiry
    You look lovely, if I may say so.
    If I may just add one thing, …
    May I ask why you took that decision?

In Interrogative sentences

10. Seek permission
     ‘May I leave now?’                     ‘Yes, you may.’  (or)  ‘No, you may not.’
       ‘May I use your phone?’         }
      ‘May I have some more wine?’}  ‘Yes, of course, you may.’ 
Note: ‘May’ is more polite than ‘can’ or ‘could’.

11. Speaker’s superiority
      And what may you want? }
      And what may you be?    }  ‘you’ is said with force.

Note: ‘May’ is not used in questions to express ‘possibility’; we use other expressions:
                   It’s likely to rain, do you think?  (NOT: May it rain?)
                      Do you think Sriram is with Raag Venkat?  (NOT: May Sriram be with Raag Venkat?)

In Negative statement sentences
12. She may not be at home.    
       He may not listen to you.

     Note:  She may not be at home. (It’s possible she is not at home.)
              She can’t be at home.      (It’s not possible she is at home.)
13. Refuse permission (code of conduct)
     Hostel students may not stay out after 10 p.m. without written permission.
     You may not watch TV now.
     Visitors may not feed the animals (at the zoo)
     Borrowers may not take out of library more than two books at a time.

Special Note: Maybe/Perhaps = uncertainty/a degree of doubt
                    ‘Are you going to sell the house?’
                   ‘Maybe.’ (/ Perhaps/ I may.) 
                    We go there maybe once a month.
                   Maybe you should tell her the truth.
14. permission
       You may not go swimming. [You are not allowed to go swimming.]

4.190 Might

1. Possibility
    It might rain tomorrow.                (It’s possible it’ll rain but I doubt it very much.)
    He might need to borrow money.  (It’s possible he’ll need money but I doubt it very much.)
    The news might be true.              (It’s possible the news is true but I doubt it very much.)
    They might not be telling lies.       (It’s possible they are not telling lies.)
   Note: Here ‘might’ is more tentative than ‘may’; in other words, it expresses more doubt than ‘may’ about
             the possibility.

Contrast with ‘will’ and ‘may’:
      Take an umbrella. It will rain before evening.                   (It’s certain to rain, so…)
      You’d better take an umbrella. It may rain before evening. (Rain is possible, so…)
      I think you should take an umbrella; it might rain before evening.
       (Although the sky is bright now, a change in the weather is always possible in this climate.)

2. as past tense form in ‘if’ and reported speech clauses
    If you took more exercises, you might not be so fat. (improbable in the present time)
     He said he might leave early tomorrow. (as past tense of ‘may’ in indirect speech)

     Speculative past:
     He might have gone.
    Had you asked him he might have come with you.
    You might have taken my car instead of calling a taxi. (formal)
    You could have taken my car instead of calling a taxi. (informal)

3. Permission
    Might I ask if you’re using your typewriter?
    I wonder if I might have a little more cheese/sugar?
Note: ‘Might’ is politer than ‘may’ and is less common than ‘may’.

4. Casual command
     You might post these letters for me. (=Post these letters for me, will you?)
     (Use ‘might’ in this sense only when you speak to acquaintances/ not intimate friends.)

5. Persuasive request (to acquaintances/ not intimate friends)
    You might tell me what happened. (=Please tell me what happened.)

6. Tentative suggestion
    It might be a good idea to talk to your wife.
    You might discuss your problem with your boss.
    You might try his home number.

7. Mild reproach
    You might try to be a little more helpful.
    You might listen when I’m talking to you.
    You might have answered my letter.

8. Reluctant recommendation
    You might as well tell the truth.
    You might as well stay the night.
    You never listen—I might as well talk to a brick wall.

9. Annoyance/Irritation
    You might at least offer to help.     (present/future)
     Honestly, You might have told me.  (past)
     (=I’m annoyed that you didn’t tell me.)
     She might have told you she was going to stay out all night.

 4.191 Will

1. Command
    All students will attend roll-call at 9 o’clock. (school notice)
     ‘You’ll stay here until you are relieved,’ said the officer.
    No one will leave the examination hall before 12 o’clock.
    All members of the team will be at the station at 2.15 p.m.
    You’ll do it this minute!
    Will you be quiet?

Note: You’ll work here under Mr Raghavan.         a command from the speaker
          You’ll be working under Mr Raghavan.       a statement 
        We’ll fly at 30000 feet.                            a decision by captain
          We’ll be flying at 30000 feet.                        a statement by captain
          When will you pay back the money?            abrupt demand by the speaker
          When will you be paying back the money? tactful statement from the speaker

2. Habits and characteristics
    He’s strange—he’ll sit here for hours without saying anything.
    She’ll tell you anything.
    Sulphuric acid will dissolve most metals.
    He’ll often say something and then forget what it was he said.
    When nobody’s looking, she’ll go into the kitchen and steal biscuits.
    She’ll listen to music, alone in her room for hours.

3. Assumption/Prediction    
    (in the present time)
    That’ll be the postman/the doctor. (on hearing the doorbell ring)
     He’ll be there now; give him a ring.
    He’ll have reached Paris by now. (It’s very likely he’s reached Paris.)
     She’ll have had her dinner by now.
    Don’t phone them now—they’ll be having dinner. 

   (in the future time)
    I’ll be there in half an hour.
   No doubt I’ll see you next week.
   You’ll feel better after this medicine.
    By next week, they’ll have completed the contract.
    By 2010, I’ll have taught for 20 years.

    If the crop fails there’ll be famine. (Every time the crop fails…)
     Oil will float on water. (Every time you pour oil on water, it will float)
     He’ll talk for hours if you let him. (Every time he gets a chance….)
     Engines won’t run without lubricants.

4. Intention
    I’ll write as soon as I can.
    We won’t stay longer than three hours.
    I’ll break your neck.
    Will he say ‘yes’?
    Will they oblige?
    What will she do now?

5. Willingness/volunteering
    I’ll post the letter if you like.
    ‘Can someone help me?’  ‘I will.’
    ‘There’s the doorbell.’   ‘I’ll go.’       They won’t lend us any more money.
6. Insistence
    If you WILL go without your overcoat, what can you expect?
    Boys WILL be boys.
    The silly dog WILL chase cars.
Note: ‘will’ should be said louder than other words.

7. Promise/Threat
    I’ll ask you if I need help.
    Do that again, I’ll hit you.

8. Polite request
    If you will wait here a moment, I’ll see if the GM is free.
    If you will come this way, …
Note: Don’t use abbreviated form of ‘will’ here (‘ll).

9. Ability
    That’s a fine car. How fast will it go?
    The new stadium will hold not less than ninety thousand spectators.

In question sentences

11. Invitation
      Will you come to tea tomorrow?
      Will you have another drink?
      Won’t you come in? 
      Won’t you have some more?
      Won’t you stay a little longer?
      Will you have another cup of coffee?  
12. Request
      Will you help me carry this heavy bag, please?
      Will you do me a favour?
      Will you give him this letter?

13. Other uses
      ‘You’ll never pass this examination.’
      ‘Won’t I?’  (= Don’t be so sure!)
        My brother can’t come to play tennis with you this evening. Will I do instead?
      (Will you accept me as an adequate substitute?)

        Will you be using the car tomorrow?                 }polite way of asking about
       Will you be having dinner at home this evening?}someone’s plans/decisions

        The car won’t start. The door won’t open. (…. refuses to…..)

         Will I see you again?               }It’s the context and the speaker’s tone that
       Will we achieve our goal ever? }will decide the actual message, which could
                                                                        be doubt, wonder, sadness or any other.

         Will we go? (prediction)
        Shall we go? (an opinion or a preference)  

Read this:
         ‘Will you be back early this evening?’
        ‘Are you asking for information or do you want me to come early?’
The listener is seeking clarification because the question he is asked is ambiguous. The speaker’s intention would have been clear if the question were:
          ‘What time will you be back this evening?’  (information)
          ‘Will you be back early this evening, please?’  (desire/wish)

4.192 Would

1. As past tense form in reported speech clauses
    He said he wouldn’t lend me any money. (He said, ‘I won’t lend you any money.’)
     He knew he would be late.

2. A ‘result’ imagined
    She’d look better with shorter hair.
    If you went to see him, he’d be delighted.
    Hurry up! It would be a shame to miss the beginning of the film.
    She’d be a fool to accept it. (=She’d be a fool if she accepted it.)
    What would you do if you had a million rupees?
    If he asked you what would you tell him?
    If she had the time she’d listen to music.

3. Refusal
    He wouldn’t help me in any way.
    They wouldn’t lend me any money.
    My car wouldn’t start this morning.
    She wouldn’t change her opinion even though she knew it was wrong.
4. Habitual past behaviour
     In the spring, the birds would return to their old haunts and the woods
      would soon be filled with their music.
     When we were younger we would walk for an hour before breakfast.
    Grandma would tell stories and they would listen.
    He would spend hours on the telephone.

Note: These four sentences describe what was true over a period of time in the past.
          You already know that ‘used to’ also describes what was true over a period of
          time in the past.  I won’t be surprised if this question crosses your mind:
                          Can I substitute ‘used to’ for ‘would’ in these sentences?
          Before we find an answer to your question, let’s take a look at these:
                          I used to live in Kolkota when I was young.
                      I would live in Kolkota when I was young.

                      I used to like him when we were at school.
                      I would like him when we were at school.     

                           I used to have an old Ambassador.
                      I would have an old Ambassador.

                      We would go swimming in the lake in summer.
                      We used to go swimming in the lake in summer.

                      When we were younger we would walk for an hour before breakfast.
                      When we were younger we used to walk for an hour before breakfast.

                      Grandma would tell stories and they would listen.
                      Grandma used to tell stories and they used to listen.

                      He would spend hours on the telephone.
                      He used to spend hours on the telephone.

                      In the spring, the birds would return to their old haunts and the woods
                        would soon be filled with their music.
                           In the spring, the birds used to return to their old haunts and the woods
                             used to be soon filled with their music.

          In the first three pairs, ‘would’ is not possible because it can describe
          only repeated actions whereas ‘used to’ is used to talk about states,
          situations and actions.
          The following sentences are also right:
                    I lived in Kolkota when I was young.
                I liked him when we were at school.
                We went swimming in the lake in summer.
                When we were younger we walked for an hour before breakfast.
                Grandma told stories and they listened.
                He spent hours on the telephone.
                In the spring, the birds returned to their old haunts and the woods
                  were soon filled with their music.
         Go back to an earlier page where you’ll find the uses of ‘past tense’.

5. Conditional result in the past time (third type of ‘if’ clause)
    If I had seen the ad in time, I’d have applied for the job. (I didn’t see the ad in time, I didn’t apply.)
    They would never have met if she hadn’t gone to Sekhar’s party. (She went to the party, they met)
    Had she not instigated him, he wouldn’t have got into trouble. (She instigated him, he was in
    If it had rained I’d have had to cancel the trip. (It didn’t rain, I didn’t cancel my trip)

6. Polite request
    Would you mind opening the window?
    Would you help me address these letters?
    Would you make some tea, please?
    Would you please be quiet?

    Note: ‘would you’ is more polite and deferential than ‘will you’.
               ‘could you’ is a better alternative to ‘would you’. 

     If you would come this way please, I’ll take you to the Director.
    I’d like to see Mr Patil.  (There is no politeness in ‘I want to see Mr Patil.)
7. Insistence       
     She WOULD keep interrupting me.
    He WOULD act the fool.
    ‘would’ here is said with stress.

8. Seeking permission politely    
     Would you mind if I opened the window?
    Would you mind if I sat here?
    Would you mind if I smoked?
    ‘would you mind…’ is politer than ‘do you mind…’

9. Asking politely for someone’s wish
     At what time would you like breakfast?
     Would you like to order lunch now?            Would you like me to order a taxi?
10. Express regret about someone not willing to do something
     I wish they would talk more quietly. / I wish they talked more quietly.
     If only he would speak out! / If only he spoke out!  

11. Polite offers/Invitations
     Would you like one more dosa?
     Would you care for another cup of coffee?
     Would you have dinner with me on Friday?
     Would you have another helping? (with a dish in hand or pointing to a dish at dinner table)

12. Used with ‘like’, ‘love’, ‘hate’, ‘prefer’… (politeness implied)
      I’d love a coffee.
     I’d be only too glad to help.
     I’d hate to leave now, but I must.
     I’d like a glass of water.

13. Preference (with ‘rather’/ sooner)
      I’d rather come with you (than stay here/than go alone etc.) = I prefer to come with you.
       I’d rather you came with us. =I prefer you to come with us.
       I’d sooner leave this place. = I prefer to leave this place.

14. A very not hopeful wish
     I wish it would stop raining.
     I wish you’d be quiet for a minute.

15. Uncertainty
     I would imagine the job will take about a week.
     I’d say he was about six feet.
16. Behaviour that is typical
     ‘Balu says you hit him for no reason.’
     ‘Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?’

4.193 Shall 

1. future actions with first persons
    I shall call you later in the evening.
    According to the opinion polls, I shall win handsomely.
Note: ‘Shall … often sounds formal and old-fashioned. People are more
            likely to say : I’ll (=I will) be late and You’ll (=you will) apologize
            immediately.’  (Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)

2. Formal regulations
    Applicants shall provide proof of age.
    Candidates shall remain in their seats until all the papers have been collected.

3. In questions sentences (with I and we)
    i. ready to help or do service
      Shall I make a cup of coffee?
      Shall I open the window?
      Shall I thread the needle for you?

   ii. request for advice
        Which one shall I buy?
      Which film shall we see?
      What shall I wear for the party?
      I’ll drive, shall I? 

  iii. request for instructions 
      Who shall I address this letter to?
      How many copies shall we make?

   iv. suggestions
        Shall we visit Grandma this weekend?
      Let’s look at it again, shall we?
      Shall we order some coffee?
      Shall we meet at 4 o’clock instead?

A special note: It was common in the past to use shall with second and third persons
                         to express promises or threats:
                                 You shall have your money the day after tomorrow. (promise)
                                 If he gets five A’s he shall have a new watch. (promise)
                                 You shall suffer for this! 
                        But we now prefer to use will or find another way of expressing these:
                                  You’ll have your money the day after tomorrow. 
                                  If he gets five A’s he’ll have a new watch.
                                  I’ll make sure you suffer for this!

4.194 Should

1. As past tense form of shall in reported speech
    He asked if he should help me. (He said,  ‘Shall I help you?’)
     I said I should be there before ten. (‘I shall be there before ten.’)
2. Advice (If I were you, I should…/ I’d*1)
    I shouldn’t marry him, (if I were you)* 2 (= I advise you not to marry him.)
    If I were you, I shouldn’t have any more drink. (= I suggest that you stop drinking any more.)
Note:  *1 In conversational style, ’d is used as a contraction of should/would.
           *2 Reading this you’ll know why the conditional clause is provided in brackets:
                An Indian student in a London University wanted to know how he
                could get a scholarship, his lecturer said, ‘I’d speak to the Dean.’
                A few days later the student wanted to know if his lecturer had
                spoken to the Dean, the lecturer was confused and said, ‘I never
                said that, did I now?’ Now it was the student’s turn to be confused.
                The actual problem was the lecturer had assumed that the student
                would follow his advice because of the unspoken ‘if’ clause (‘if I were you’)
                and see the Dean but the student had failed to understand the lecturer’s
                statement as advice because he didn’t realize that there was an implied
                conditional ‘if’!
                Remember it’s natural for a native speaker not to use ‘if I were you’
                as part of giving advice.

3. As conditional auxiliary
    I should* be perfectly happy if I had nothing to do.
       (* ‘would’ can also be used.) 

4. Making offers/suggestions or seeking instructions/advice
    Should I babysit for you?           (offer)
    What do you think I should do?   (seek advice)

5. In subordinate clauses
    i. With ‘if’ and ‘in case’ suggesting a less strong possibility
       If you should change your mind, do let me know.
       Should you see Sudha, give her my best wishes.
       In case you should see Sudha, give her my regards.

   ii. In past sentences with in case (as a formal expression)
       I packed a swimsuit in case I should have time to go to the beach.
       I took the umbrella in case it should rain.

  iii. in past sentences with so that and in order that
        He came into the bedroom quietly in order that/so that he shouldn’t wake the baby.
      I chose my words carefully so that/in order that no one should mistake my intentions.

   iv. with verbs such as
           command, order, insist, request, ask, suggest, advise, recommend
       I insisted that he should be asked to resign.
       The situation demands that we should be careful with our spending.
       Was it necessary that my parents should be informed?
  Note: 1. In American English, these sentences are said without ‘should’.
            2. Of course, it’s also possible to say:
                   Was it necessary to inform my parents?  (or)
                   Was it necessary for my parents to be informed?

    v. with words like amazing, interesting, shocked, sorry, normal, natural  
      to express our reactions to events:
        I’m sorry you should think I did it on purpose.
       I was shocked that she should say that sort of thing about you.
6. i. With why to express inability to understand
       I didn’t offend him. Why should he say such a thing?
       He doesn’t know me. Why should he offer to help?
   ii. With why, how, who, what to refuse something or express surprise/anger
       ‘Tell me the truth.’  ‘Why should I?’ (refuse)
       ‘What’s Prema’s phone number?’  ‘How should I know?’ (irritation)
       I got on the bus and who should be sitting in front of me but Subbu!

7. Criticism    
    He shouldn’t drink and drive.
    She should have been more careful.

8. Expectation  
    We should arrive at Tirupathi before dark.
    I should have finished the novel by Wednesday.    
9. amusement (surprise)
    You should have seen Shyam’s face when he found out he’d been duped !

10. Advise         : You shouldn’t say anything. [you’re advised not to say anything.]

11. Assumption: We shouldn’t be long. [According to my information, we won’t be long.]

12. Probability : They shouldn’t be there yet. [It’s probable that they are not there yet.]

No comments:

Post a Comment