Modals

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# Modals - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Modals. Modals have two basic functions: Logical Probability Functions “Social” Functions. High certainty. Low certainty. Modals – Logical Probability What are the chances?. Lifted from: Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book. Modals – Logical Probability with negation.

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Modals

• Modals have two basic functions:
• Logical Probability Functions
• “Social” Functions

High certainty

Low certainty

Modals – Logical Probability

What are the chances?

Lifted from: Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book

Modals – Logical Probability

with negation

Fairly High Possibility

Impossibility

Adapted from: Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book

Modals – Logical Probability

Prediction

High probability

Low probability

Lifted from: Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book

Modals – “Social”

Making Requests

• General Requests:
• Will you help me with this math problem?
• Would you help me with this math problem?
• Can you help me with this math problem?
• Could you help me with this math problem?
• Requests for Permission:
• May I leave the room now?
• Might I leave the room now?
• Can I leave the room now?
• Could I leave the room now?

Lifted from: Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book

Modals – “Social”

Responding to requests

• General Requests [for help with the math problem]:
• Yes I can. No I can’t.
• Yes I will. No I won’t.
• Yes I could. No I couldn’t. Yes I would. No I wouldn’t.
• Requests for Permission [to leave the room]:
• Yes you may. No you may not.
• Yes you can. No you can’t.
• Yes you might. No you might not. Yes you could. No you couldn’t.

Lifted from: Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book

Modals – Social

A Hot Tip from Mss. Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman

• “Many ESL/EFL students, even at the advanced level, do not recognize that they are often perceived by native speakers of English as being abrupt and aggressive with their requests, given the social circumstances. If they learned to soften requests by employing the historical past tense forms of the modals, they might find their requests being better received. For example,
• Could (instead of Can) I talk to you for a minute?
• Would (instead of Will) you open the door?
• “[italics mine]

Lifted from: Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book

Modals – Social

A funny thing about requests and negation

"Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting to a snail.

"There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.

See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!

They are waiting on the shingle--will you come and join the dance?

Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?

Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?

"You can really have no notion how delightful it will be

When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!“

But the snail replied "Too far, too far!" and gave a look askance—

Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.

Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.

Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.

`"What matters it how far we go?" his scaly friend replied.

"There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.

The further off from England the nearer is to France—

Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.

Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?

Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?"

Lifted from: Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Modals – Social

A funny thing about requests and negation, con’t

• What’s the difference between these two negated requests?:
• Won’t you join the dance?
• Will you please not join the dance?

Adapted from: Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book