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Re: Weekly Vocab 6: to know

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 7, 2003, 21:27
Andreas Johansson scripsit:

> * What in the ergativity is the infinitive of "can"? "To can" appears to mean > something else ... The English modals appear not to deign to have any > infinitives.
Correct. The English modals are radically defective: the old present vs. preterite relationship has been mostly discarded in favor of a realis/irrealis one (although the rules for sequence of tenses still show the old system: "He says that he will go" vs. "He said that he would go"). In general, there are paraphrases for all of them except "dare", which serves as both modal and non-modal. can be able to must have to, need to may it is possible that ... etc. etc. -- BALIN FUNDINUL UZBAD KHAZADDUMU BALIN SON OF FUNDIN LORD OF KHAZAD-DUM