LINGUIST List 8.1694

Tue Nov 25 1997

Sum: English Modals

Editor for this issue: Elaine Halleck <>


  1.>, English Modals

Message 1: English Modals

Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 11:42:00 +0900
From:> <>
Subject: English Modals

At the end of October I raised a question about English modals. My
question is as follows:

Can we say (1a), (2a), and (3a) in the sense of (1b), (2b), and (3b) 
(1) a. She would be 80 when she died.
 b. I think she was 80 when she died.
(2) a. She might be 80 when she died.
 b. It is possible that she was 80 when she died.
(3) a. She had to be 80 when she died.
 b. She must have been 80 when she died.

Soon after that I got 36 e-mails. Thank you for answering my
question. I wou ld express my sincere thanks to the following people
who supplied useful data: Vincent Jenkins, E. Bashir, Timothy Ostler,
Julian Lloyd, J. Kingston Cowart, Virginia P. Clark, Mel Sanchez,
Lance Eccles, Paul H. Listen, Klein Braley, Patrick Lucas, Colin
Whiteley, Bill Fisher, H. Stephen Straight, Lynn Santelmann, Michael
Horlick, Lisa Matthewson, Deborah Milam Berkley, Nicole Rosen,Timothy
Dunnigan, Mark Donohue, Peter T. Daniels, Alison Moore, Chad D.
Nilep, Melanie Misanchuk, Virginia Brennan, Steven Schaufele, Lee
Hartman, Stephen Rowland, Alan Wallington, I. R. Warner, M. Lynne
Roecklein, Lance Nathan, Craig Thirrsch, Bruce Despain, and Darcy
Bruce Berry The result of this inquiry is as follows. I will show it
in percentages: 

(1a) ok 17 ? 11 * 72 
(2a) ok 8 ? 0 * 92 
(3a) ok 59 ? 15 * 26 

With best wishes, Kenji Kashino
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