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Hi,
i would like to to know the rules that need to be followed when using the words, "would " and "could"
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Do you seriously not know the difference between "X means Y" and "X sometimes contains the meaning of Y within it"? You are deliberately being obtuse, Terry.

CJ
Jim wrote:
Do you seriously not know the difference between "X means Y" and "X sometimes contains the meaning of Y within it"?


That was the point of my posting, Jim. I believe that this has been misanalysed. I believe that has no connection to , none at all. Normally, because double modals are not allowed in English, when one chooses to use or , with modal meanings that are decidedly different from , a change has to be made to a periphrastic modal, which in this case is .

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I don't beleive that it is proper to say that a modal has a past "tense." Modals can not be inflected for tense.


Dear Cacarr, modals can be inflected for tense but only syntactic tense.
I'm not sure anyone has actually compiled a set of "rules"


There are many good books (and not so good books) on modal logic. Works by David Lewis such as On the plurality of worlds and a general search on "modal logic" would yield decent results.

eq
Dear Cacarr, modals can be inflected for tense but only syntactic tense.


I'd be interested in seeing some of those "inflections", equivocal.
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Hi, eq,

My reference to rules was to rules found in elementary textbooks of English as a foreign language. You know the sort of thing: Subjects and verbs must agree in number. How to use apostrophe-S. I wasn't expecting students to study mathematics or anything quite so rigorous as you are suggesting!

I see a distinct difference between "modal logic" with its P(x) = ~N(~x), etc. and a "rule" which helps a student decide how to fill in the blank below.

I thought I _____ go to the party with Tim. (could, would, may, might, will, can, ...)

Even if there is a relationship between the formulas and the practical choices, it's not clear to me that a mastery of one would result in a mastery of the other.

Jim
That's interesting, equivical.

What is the nature of the inflection? Tense is a morphological thing:

Smoke -Present Tense

Smoked -Past Tense

Will smoke = future time. See that the verb is without an affix of any kind? There is no future tense in English. We use a modal to refer to future time.

Could

Coulded?

Would

Woulded?
Eq:

modals can be inflected for tense but only syntactic tense.


Excellent point, Eq, and it feeds well into the discussion, but I'm not sure every one here is familiar with the term syntactic tense.
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