Meanings Of Modal Verbs III.
Shall: It is becoming rarer and rarer.
1. We use it for prediction with first person subject. Shall is substitute for the future use of will in formal style. In old english the future auxiliary with WE and I should be should, but its old fashioned.
2. Volition: With first person subjects. In the intentional sense shall is a formal alternative to will after I or we. In questions containing shall I SHALL consults the wishes of the addresse thus moves towards an obligational meaning. It is used for making offers: Shall we deliver the goods to your home. And we use it to make suggestions about shared activities.
What shall we do this evening. Shall we go to… Also used in tag questions. Its use is restricted with 2nd and third person subjects. It can have the meaning of must in case of obligations.
The past tense forms of the modals: could, might, wold and should:
Past time in indirect speech: In indirect speech the past time modals are used. They can express
permission,ability,possibility,prediction,volition, can be used in offers.
Past time in other constructions: Can and could act as the past equivalent of can and will. But might and should do not act as the past equivalent of may and shall.
Can-Could: permission We could do whatever we wanted, possibility Could be dangerous, ability Could speak language.
Will-Would: prediction Later he would learn his error.,habitual prediction She would sit there continously.,willingness No one would do that. insistence He would leave the house in a muddle.
Outside indirect speech would is not used in the same sense of intention. There is a rare and archaic use of might outside indirect speech in the sense permitted to We might leave the school only at weekends. Could and would may refer to habitual fulfilment. In implying fulfilment was able to is used and not could. I ran after the bus and was able to catch it.
Hypothetical meaning: Past tense modals can be used in the hypothetical or unreal sense of the past tense. If you could win the game you might ….. refers for future but for past hypothetical we must add perfective aspect. All past tense modals can be used in this way to express the hypothetical version of meanings such as ability, possibility, permission, prediction, and volition. Could and might + perfective are used in complaints: You could have warned me she was coming.
Tentativeness or politeness: could might and would: Tentative permission in polite requests:
Could I see your driving licence. Tentative volition in polite requ.: Would you lend.. Tentative possibility in expressing tentative opinion: There could be something wrong. and in polite directives and requests: Could you please open the door. Apart from the last could and might have the same meaning.
Mood markers: Would and should: Used as a marker of mood. A marker of hypothetical meaning:
If you press that button, the engine would stop. There are other cases: I would hate to loose this pen.
Should as a marker of putative meaning: (vélt): In this use should + infinitive is often equivalent to the mandative subjunctive. She insisted that we should stay .
The modals with the perfective and progressive aspects: These are excluded when the modals express ability or permission or when shall or will expresses volition. These aspects are used :
Possibility: He might have missed the..
Necessity: You must be dreaming.
Prediction: He will still be reading.
Obligation can only be expressed with the perfective or progressive when combined with should or ought to. I ought to be working now. This implies nonfulfilment. Perfective progressive with modals is also possible: You must have been dreaming.