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Query Details


Query Subject:   tense in subordinate clauses: modified
Author:   hiro-t
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Syntax
Subject Language(s):  English


Query:   Dear Linguists,
I am investigating the tense system of ''_will_ in the main clause +
past(present) tense in the relative clause'' and ''_will_ in the _if_/
_beofore_ clasue.'' First, I would like to know the acceptablity and
the meaning of the ''_will_ + past tense.'' Are the following sentences
acceptable, which is adapted from Depraetere(1996),_The Tense System in
English Relative Clauses: A Corpus-Based Analysis_ (Mouton de Gruyter)?
And what is the meaning of them, i.e., is the past tense in the relative
clause viewed from the main clause or from the present time? For
example, if (1) is acceptable, when is _the day before_, i.e., does _the
day before_ mean yesterday(the day before the present time(now)) or
does it mean the day before the day a sit-in protest will continue(the
time veiwed from the main clause)? Please put *, ? or OK into each slot
for the acceptabilities and write the interpretation you understand
(two or three, if any) from the context.

(1) a. ( ) Students of the engineering faculty will continue a
sit-in protest which began the day before. (Your interpretation is:
)
b. ( ) Students of the engineering faculty will continue a sit-in
protest which will have begun/will begin/ begins the day before. (Your
interpretation is: )

(2) a. ( ) The bleeding will be caused by the cut she got when he
attacked her.
(When is her getting the cut when being attacked? Your interpretation is
: )
b. ( ) The bleeding will be caused by the cut she will get/gets
when he attacks her.
(When is her getting of the cut when being attacked? Your interpretation
is: )

(3) a. ( ) The governor will be an elderly man, and he will have the
clearest possible recollection of the British who came with Colonel
Younghusband forty-five years before.
(Exactly when is the coming (the time of forty-five years before) of the
British? Your interpretation is: )
b. ( ) The governor will be an elderly man, and he will have the
clearest possible recollection of the British who will have come/will
come with Colonel Younghusband forty-five years before.
(Exactly when is the coming (the time of forty-five years before) of the
British? Your interpretation is: )
c. ( ) The governor will be an elderly man, and he will have the
clearest possible recollection of the British who came with Colonel
Younghusband forty-five years ago.
(Exactly when is the coming of the British? Your interpretation is: )

 (4) Consultants saw that as significant because Siemens' PBXs offer
ISDN capabilities, so the IBM move in that direction makes is more
plausible that the companies can merge their PBX tecnology and minimize
disruption for customers. ( )The new software will also let IBM
customers' telephones automatically identify the number from whcih an
incoming call originated.
(When is the originating of an incoming call? Your interpretation is:
)

(5) ( ) Under the agenda of the anti-choice movement, there will be
absolutely nothing that the adoption option will be able to do for the
women who wanted an abortion, couldn't have one and died from continuing
the pregnancy.
(Exactly when is the events shown in the past tense in the relative
clause? Are they before the present time(now) or before the future time
shown by the main clause? Your interpretaion is: )

(6) a. ( ) A few scuffles will break out among the 600 students who
were allowed into the hall before university ushers locked the door.
(Exactly when is the students' being allowed into the hall? Your
interpretation is: )
b. ( ) A few scuffles will break out among the 600 students who
will have been/will be allowed into the hall before university ushers
locked the door.
(Exactly when is the students' being allowed into the hall? Your
interpretation is: )

(7) a. ( )You will meet a man who is wearing a blue coat.
(Exactly when is a man's wearing a blue coat? Is it now or in the future
you will see him? Your interpretation is: )
b. ( )You will meet the man who is wearing a blue coat.
(Exactly when is the man's wearing a blue coat? Is it now or in the
future you will see him? Your interpretation is: )
c. She will look up with a busy smile at ( )a/ ( )the enormous
figure who is clearing his throat importantly.
(Exactly when is a/the figure's clearing his throat? Is there any
difference between ''a'' and ''the''? Is it now or the same time as her
smiling in the future? Your interpretation is: )
d. A left-wing student will seize the microphone but will be
quickly cut off by ( )a / ( )the official who cuts the cord.
(Is there any meaning difference between ''a'' and ''the'' about the tense
in the relative clause? (The same question as above.) your
interpretation is: )

Second, please help me judge the following sentences about the _will_
in the _if_/_before_ clause. Please put *, ? or OK in each slot. Please
make comments if any in each sentence.

(8) a. ( ) If you will be hungry, there is a hamburger in the
refrigerator.
b. ( ) If you are hungry, there is a hamburger in the
refrigerator.

(9) a. ( ) If it will rain tomorrow, you should cancel the date now.
b. ( ) If it rains tomorrow, you should cancel the date now.

(10) a. In order to see whether the baby will be a boy or a girl, put
the pregnant woman in the middle of a flock of wrens. The baby will be
a boy if they fly away in terror, because white boys stalk and torture
and kill them. If it ( )will be a girl /( )is a girl, they will
cluster around singing, because girls grind grain and scatter some for
the wrens.
b. In order to see whether the baby will be a boy or a girl, put
the pregnant woman in the middle of a flock of wrens. If the baby ( )
will be a girl /( )is a girl, they will cluster around singing,
because girls grind grain and scatter some for the wrens. It will be a
boy if they fly away in terror, because white boys stalk and torture and
kill them.

(11) a. [No context]. How long before ( )you'll get here / ( )you
get here?
b. A: I'd like to come over and see you. Would eight in the
morning be OK?
B: Now would be better. How long before ( )you'll get here /
( ) you get here?

(12) a. The fire would probably blaze and smoulder three or four days
before it ( )would burn / ( )burned itself out.
b. The fire probably blazed and smouldered three or four days
before it ( )would burn / ( ) burned itself out.
c. Before the fire ( )would burn / ( )burned itself out, it
probably would blaze and smoulder three or four days.
d. Before the fire ( )would burn / ( )burned itself out, it
probably blazed and smouldered three or four days.
e. The fire will probably blaze and smoulder three or four days
before it ( )will burn / ( ) burns itself out
f. The fire probably blazes and smoulders three or four days
before it ( )will burn / ( ) burns itself out

(13) a. Alex wondered how much longer it would be before he
( )would stand / ( )stood so much alone and isolated that his
position in the bank would be untenable.
b. Alex wondered how long it would be before he ( )would stand
/ ( )stood so much alone and isolated that his position in the bank
would be untenable.
c. Alex wondered how much longer it was before he ( )would
stand / ( )stood so much alone and isolated that his position in the
bank was untenable.
d. Alex wondered, before he ( )would stand / ( )stood so much
alone and isolated that his position in the bank would be untenable,
how much longer it would be.
e. Alex wondered when his position in the bank would be untenable
before he ( )would stand / ( )stood so much alone and isolated.
f. ( )How much longer will it be / is it before he will stand so alone and
isolated that his position in the bank will be untenable?
g. ( )How long will it be / is it before he will stand so alone and
isolated that his position in the bank will be untenable?

(14) a. The Japanese are faced with problems which must be overcome
before they ( )will be / ( )are able to exert so strong an influence.
b. Before the Japanese ( )will be / ( )are able to exert so
strong an influence, they are faced with problems which must be overcome.
c. The Japanese are faced with problems which are difficult to
solve before they ( )will be / ( )are able to exert so strong an
influence.

(15) a. [No context]. It is only a matter of minutes before he
( )will arrive / ( )arrives.
b. A: What's wrong with him? He's not here yet. Did you tell him
the exact time?
B: Wait, wait, wait! It is only a matter of minutes before he
( )will / ( )arrives.

(16) a. Despite Thalidomide's proven safety record, trials of the
drug on humans were required in the United States before its sales ( )
would be / ( )were approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
b. Despite Thalidomide's proven safety record, before its sales
( )would be / ( )were approved by the Food and Drug Administration,
trials of the drug on humans were required in the United States.
c. Despite Thalidomide's unproven safety record, the drug was
tried on humans in the United States before its sales ( )would be /
( )were approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
d. Despite the drug's proven safety record, trials of it on humans
are required in the United States before its sales ( )will be / ( )
are approved by the Food and Drug Administration

(17) a. At 1:40, twenty minutes before the meeting ( )would begin /
( ) began, there was standing room only in the second hall and new
arrivals were still appearing.
b. At 1:40, before the meeting ( )would begin / ( )began,
there was standing room only in the second hall and new arrivals were
still appearing.
c. Before the meeting ( )would begin / ( )began, there was
standing room only in the second hall and new arrivals were still
appearing.
d. At 1:40, twenty minutes before the meeting ( )will begin /
( ) begins, there will be standing room only in the second hall and
new arrivals will still be appearing.
e. There was standing room only in the second hall and new
arrivals were still appearing, twenty minutes before the meeting
( )would begin / ( ) began at 1:40.
f. There was standing room only in the second hall and new
arrivals were still appearing, before the meeting ( )would begin
/ ( ) began at 1:40.
g. There was standing room only in the second hall and new
arrivals were still appearing, before the meeting ( )would begin
/ ( ) began.
h. There will be standing room only in the second hall and new
arrivals will still be appearing, twenty minutes before the meeting ( )
will begin / ( ) begins at 1:40.
i. There will be standing room only in the second hall and new
arrivals will still be appearing, before the meeting ( )will begin /
( ) begins at 1:40.
j. There will be standing room only in the second hall and new
arrivals will still be appearing, before the meeting ( )will begin / ( )
begins.

Thanks a lot in advance. I am looking forward to your reply.

Best wishes,

Hiroaki Tanaka

Associate Professor,
1-1, Minamijousanjima-cho, Tokushima, 770, Japan
Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences,
Tokushima University, Japan

hiro-t@ias.tokushima-u.ac.jp
LL Issue: 8.152
Date posted: 01-Feb-1997



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