Reasons for the Frequent Occurrence of the Passive



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Reasons for the Frequent Occurrence of the Passive



§ 69. Itis common knowledge that the passive is extensively
used in English. This seems to be due to a number of reasons:

1) In English there are no means of avoiding the indication of
the doer of the action in active constructions.

In other languages we find special active constructions which
make it possible to avoid any mention of the agent. For example,
in Russian there are several grammatical means that serve the
purpose:

a) the so-called indefinite-personal sentences in which there is
no subject and the predicate is in the third person plural,

e.g. Греков держали как пленников, но при этом обращались с
ними самым почтительным образом и предоставляли им
всевозможные блага.

b) sentences with reflexive verbs,

e.g. Эта картина ценилась выше, чем все другие.

Он знал, что оставался еще один важный вопрос.
Его неожиданное появление объяснялось очень просто.

c) impersonal sentences,

e.g. He слышалось никакого шума.
Все небо обложило тучами.


In French and German the same idea is often expressed in sen-
tences with the indefinite pronoun on (Fr.) and man (Ger.).

e.g. He is much spoken about He issaid to be ill.

in the town.

Man sprichtviel von ihm Mansagt, dass er krank ist.

in der Stadt.

On parlebeacoup de lui dans On ditqu'il est malade.

la ville.

It is true that in English the indefinite pronoun one and occa-
sionally the personal pronouns we, you and they and the noun peo-
ple
may be used in the same way.

e.g. "One ought to keep one's languages up," said Roy; his gaze

was solemn, reproving, understanding. "It's terrible how

oneforgets them. Isn't it?"
Onewill have to think twice about accepting invitations — if

there is a risk of being made miserable. Onewill just have

to refuse.
"Is that the old lady who lives in the house by the church?"

"That's right." "Theysay she's sharp," said Tiddler.

"They say there's nothing goes on near that Miss Marple

doesn't hear about."
In my young days it was considered to be bad manners to

take medicines with one's meals. If youhad to take pills

or capsules, or a spoonful of something, youwent out of

the room to do so.
"Oh, I'm sure I never said anything of the kind," Lola laughed.

"Peopleexaggerate so."

But for some reason or other, the use of this kind of sentences
is restricted, and English, instead, resorts to passive constructions.

2) In English, owing to the loss of distinction between the ac-
cusative and the dative cases, the number of verbs taking a direct
object is quite considerable. It accounts for the extensive use of
the Direct Passive.

3) There is a great variety of passive constructions in English.
Although some of them are restricted in their application, they
still contribute to the frequent occurrence of the Passive.


MOOD

§ 70. Generally Moodshows the relation between the action ex-
pressed by the predicate verb and reality. This relation is estab-
lished by the speaker.

In present-day English the category of moodis made up by a
set of forms opposed to each other in presenting the event de-
scribed as a real fact, a problematic action or as something un-
real that does not exist.

§ 71.Actions represented as real facts are expressed by the In-
dicative Mood.

e.g. Architects have donesome very good work, too, in designing
new schools. Many of these areprefabricated, which means
that as much of the building work as possible is donenot
on the building site but in factories where mass produc-
tion methods are used.

When the brothers hadgone home, Mr Waterall announced
that they werea much pleasanter pair of young men than
he had been ledto believe.

The Indicative Mood is characterized by a great number of
tense-aspect-phase forms which may be used in the Active or in the
Passive Voice. These forms have been described in "Verbs", § 7-68.

Note. It should be stressed that the use of the Indicative Mood does not always-.
mean that the action expressed by the predicate verb is true to fact, that it actually
takes (or took, or will take) place in reality. When the speaker uses the Indicative
Mood he merely represents an action as a fact, but he may be mistaken or even tell-
ing a lie.

e.g. "I've seen to it," he said, but everyone knew it was not true.

§ 72. Commands and requests which are problematic actions
are expressed by the Imperative Mood.

The Imperative Mood is the plain stem of the verb (e.g. Come
over here. Listen to him,
etc.). It may be used in the affirmative
and in the negative form. The negative form is an analytical form
built up by means of the plain stem of the auxiliary verb to dofol-
lowed by not(in spoken English — don't)and the infinitive of the
notional verb without to(e.g. Don't go over there. Don't listen to


him, etc.). The negative form of the verb to be is also built up by
means of the auxiliary verb to do(e.g. Don't be inquisitive. Don't
be afool,
etc.).

If we wish to make a command or request more expressive, we
use the emphatic form. It is also an analytical form built up with
the help of the plain stem of the auxiliary verb to dowhich is
placed before the notional verb, including to be(e.g. Do come over
here. Do listen to him. Do be quiet,
etc.).

A command or request is generally addressed to the second
person singular or plural (see the examples above). There is usual-
ly no need to mention the subject of the action before the verb in
the Imperative Mood. But occasionally the verb may be preceded
by you in familiar style (e.g. You don't worry.).

A command or request may be addressed to the third person,
singular or plural. Commands and requests of this kind are formed
with the help of the plain stem of the verb to letwhich is followed
by a personal pronoun in the objective case (him, her, it or them)
and the infinitive of the notional verb without to(e.g. Let him go
there at once. Let them do it by themselves,
etc.).

A command or request may be addressed to the first person
plural. It is also formed with the help of the plain stem of the verb
to letfollowed by the pronoun us (the contracted form is let's)
and the infinitive of the notional verb. This form is actually an
invitation to a joint action (e.g. Let's have a cup of tea. Let's do
it together, etc.). In the negative form let's is followed by not
(e.g. Let's not talk about it.).

Note. In colloquial English we also find Don't let's talk about it.

§ 73. Actions represented as unreal are in present-day English
expressed by a variety of forms.

Among them there is a mood form — the Conditional Mood
(see § 124).

The fact that there are a number of forms engaged in ex-
pressing unreal actions can be explained historically.

In the older periods English used to be a synthetic language
and had special forms which served to express unreal actions —
the so-called Subjunctive Mood. It was built up synthetically by
means of inflections. As a result of loss of inflections, the differ-
ence between the forms of the Indicative Mood and the Subjunctive


Mood has in most cases disappeared. The place of the old Subjunc-
tive Mood was in a number of cases taken up by analytical forms
and modal phrases, i.e. combinations of modal verbs with the in-
finitive. It is this historical process that accounts for the great
variety of different forms expressing unreality in modern En-
glish.

As some of the forms expressing problematic or unreal actions
are modal phrases, it is necessary before describing the different
forms of unreality to treat modal verbs first.

§ 74. The speaker's attitude towards the action in the sentence
may be expressed in different ways:

1)By one of the mood formswhich serve, as has been said, to
show whether the action is represented as a real fact or as prob-
lematic, or unreal. This form of expression is found in every sen
tence because it is indispensable to predication.

2) By modal verbswhich represent an action as necessary or
unnecessary, possible or impossible, certain or doubtful and the
like. But modal verbs need not be used in every sentence and are,
therefore, to be regarded as an additional means of expressing the
speaker's attitude towards the action in the sentence.

3) By attitudinal adverbssuch as certainly, perhaps, probably,
luckily, unfortunately,
etc. (see also "Adverbs", § 2, 8). They ex-
press different degrees of certainty on the part of the speaker or
the desirability of the action from his point of view.

Modal Verbs

§75.We find the following modal verbs in English: can, may.
must, ought, shall, should, will, need
and dare.Besides, tohave

and to bein some of their uses are also classed among modal

verbs.

A modal verb in combination with the infinitive forms a modal

Compound predicate.

Modal verbs are defective verbs since they lack many forms
characteristic of regular verbs: they have no -s in the third per-
son singular in the present tense and no verbals, so they have no
analytical forms; some of them lack the form of the past tense.


Modal verbs have the following peculiarities:

1) they are followed by the infinitive withoutthe particle to
(with the exception of ought, to have and to be);

2) their interrogative and negative forms are built up without
the auxiliary do.

Most of the modal verbs have more than one meaning. Each of
their meanings is characterized by a specific usage.

1) Some of the meanings may be found in all kinds of sentenc-
es; others occur only in affirmative or interrogative or negative
sentences;

2) Different meanings may be associated with different forms
of the infinitive — simple and perfect (both in the active and pas-
sive forms), continuous and perfect continuous;

3) If the modal verbs have more than one form (can — could-,
may — might, will — would,
also the verbs to have and to be),
their different meanings are not necessarily found in all those
forms.

The use of modal verbs is in most cases independent of the
structure of the sentence: the use of this or that modal verb is de-
termined by the attitude of the speaker towards the facts con-
tained in the sentence. In this case we may speak of the free or in-
dependent use of modal verbs.

e.g. He admires you. He thinks you're a little beauty. Perhaps I

oughtn't to have toldyou that.
He may bein the hall now, waiting for me.

But sometimes the use of certain modal verbs depends on the
structure of the sentence, mainly on the type of the subordinate
clause, and occasionally also on the lexical character of the predi-
cate verb in the principal clause. This may be called the structural-
ly dependent use of modal verbs.

e.g. Itis obviously necessary that an investigation should be

made.
Christine feared she might not be metat all.

As the difference between the active and the passive forms of the infinitive is of
no consequence for the meaning of the modal verb, there is no need to illustrate these
forms separately. However, instances where the differentiation between the active
and the passive infinitive is important, are dealt with specialty.


When the use of modal verbs is structurally dependent, their
meaning is sometimes weakened; in fact, it may be quite vague.
This may be accounted for by the fact that these verbs become
rather part of the structure than bearers of individual meaning.

It is important to take into account one more feature peculiar
to modal verbs. They all show that a certain action is represented
as necessary, possible, desirable, doubtful, etc. from the pointof
view of the speaker.Consequently, modal verbs are generally used
in conversation, In past-time contexts they may be found only in
reported speech or thought. Thus You should have done it before,
or He might be wrong, or It must be true cannot be possibly found
in narration unless they are used after He thought that... . He
said that... . He knew that...,
etc.

The only exceptions are the past tense forms could, would,
had, was
and might which may be used not only in conversation
but also in narration.

e.g. Walker was illiterate and could notsign his name.

When I looked at her I saw tears in her eyes. So I had totell
her the truth.

Can

§ 76. The modal verb can has the following forms: can —the
present tense (e.g. He can speak English) and could —the past
tense. The form could is used in two ways: a) in past-time contexts
as a form of the Indicative Mood (e.g. He could speak English
when he was a child),
b) in present-time contexts to express unre
ality, or as a milder and more polite form of can, or as a form
implying more uncertainty than can (e.g. He could speak English
if necessary. Could I help you? Could it be true?)
Compare with
the Russian мог бы: Он мог бы сделать это, если бы у него
было время
(unreality). He мог бы я вам помочь? (politeness) He
ужели он мог бы так сказать"!
(uncertainty).

§ 77. Can has the following meanings:
1) ability, capability,

e.g. I can imaginehow angry he is.
He can reada little French.


This meaning may also be expressed by to be able.The phrase
can be used in all tense-forms if necessary.

In the meaning of ability and capability can occurs in all kinds
of sentences.

e.g. She can playa few simple tunes on the piano.
Canyou writewith your left hand?
I cannot (can't) promiseyou anything.

In this case can is followed by the simple infinitive (see the ex-
amples above) and reference is made to the present. But depending
on the context it may also refer to the future.

e.g. We can discuss your paper after lunch.

However, if the time reference is not clear from the context or
if it is necessary to stress that the action refers to the future,
shall/will be ableis used.

e.g. He will be able to writeto us from Portugal.
I shall be able to earnmy own living soon.

The form could may be used in past-time contexts and in this
case it is followed by a simple infinitive. It is a form of the Indica-
tive Mood here.

e.g. He could reada great deal during the holidays.
Couldthe boy readbefore he went to school?
After what had happened I couldn't trusthim.

The form could may also be used in present-time contexts in
combination with the simple infinitive to express unreality with
reference to the present or future.

e.g. "I don't want my daughter to be a typist." "Why not? She could

besecretary to some interesting man." (могла бы быть)
You could articulatemore distinctly with that cigarette out
of your mouth, (мог бы говорить более отчетливо)

As the form could may be used in two ways (see § 76) it is
Usually understood as expressing unreality with reference to the
present or future unless there are indications of past time in the
sentence or in the context. Thus the sentence She could paint
landscapes
will be understood as Она могла бы писать пейзажи.


If there is no indication of past time in the context but the speak
er wishes to refer the action to the past, was/were able is used in-
stead
of could to avoid ambiguity.

e.g. She was able to explainthe mystery.

In combination with the perfect infinitive could indicates that
the action was not carried out in the past.

e.g. She could have explainedthe mystery. Она могла бы объяс-
нить эту тайну, (но не объяснила)

2) possibility due to circumstances,

e.g. You can seethe forest through the other window.

We can useeither the Present Perfect or the Present Perfect
Continuous in this sentence.

In this meaning can is found in all kinds of sentences. It is fol-
lowed by the simple infinitive and it refers the action to the
present or future.

e.g. You can obtaina dog from the Dogs' Home at Battersea.
Canwe use the indefinite article with this noun?
We can'tuse the indefinite article with this noun.

In past-time contexts the form could is used. It is followed by
the simple infinitive in this case.

e.g. You couldsee the forest through the other window before the
new block of houses was erected.

The form could in combination with the simple infinitive may
also express unreality with reference to the present or future.

e.g. You couldsee the house from here if it were not so dark.

In combination with the perfect infinitive, could indicates that
the action was not carried out in the past.

e.g. You could have seenthe house from there if it had not been
so dark.

Note. When could is used with reference to the past it denotes only the ability
or possibility of performing an action but not the realization of the action. There
fore when a realized or an unrealized action is expressed, could is naturally not
used. If an action was carried out in the past, it is expressed with the help of to
manage
or to succeed (the latter is used in literary style).


e.g. He managed to settle the difficulty.
He succeeded in attaining his aim.

If an action was not realized in the past it is expressed with the help of to fail,
or to manage and to succeed in the negative form.

e.g. He failed to reach the peak.

He did not manage to settle the difficulty.

Compare with the Russian: Он мог (был способен) переплыть Волгу в юно-
сти. — In his youth he could swim across the Volga.

But: Он смог переплыть Волгу а прошлом году. — Не managed to swim
across the Volga last year.
Also in: Он не мог (ему не удалось) переплыть Волгу
в прошлом году. — Не failed (didn't manage) to swim across the Volga last year.

As for to be able, it may, depending on the lexical character of the infinitive
or the context, express either the ability or possibility of performing an action or
the realization of that action.

e.g. He was able to speak English well. (Он мог/умел хорошо говорить по-англий-

ски.)

Не was able to get the book from the library. (Он смог достать книгу в биб-
лиотеке.)

Permission,

e.g.You can takemy umbrella.

Can in this meaning is found in affirmative sentences, inter-
rogative sentences in which a request is expressed, and in negative
sentences where it expresses prohibition.

Cf. You can usemy car.
CanI useyour car?
You can't usemy car today.

In this meaning can is combined with the simple infinitive.
The form could with reference to the present is found only in
interrogative sentences in which it expresses a more polite request.

e.g. CouldI useyour car?

The form could is found in reported speech (i.e. in accordance
with the rules of the sequence of tenses).

e.g. He said that I could usehis car.

Heasked me if he could usemy car.

4) uncertainty, doubt,

e.g. Canit betrue?


In this meaning can is found only in interrogative sentences
(in general questions). Besides, sentences of this kind are often
emotionally coloured and so their application is rather restricted.

Depending on the time reference, can in this meaning is used
in combination with different forms of the infinitive.

Thus, if reference is made to the present, the simple infinitive
is found with stative verbs.

e.g. Canhe really beill?
Canit beso late?

With dynamic verbs, the continuous infinitive is used.

e.g. Canshe be tellinglies?

Canhe be makingthe investigation all alone?

Can in combination with the perfect infinitive refers the ac-
tion to the past.

e.g. Canhe have saidit?

Canshe have tolda lie?

The combination of can with the perfect infinitive may also
indicate an action begun in the past and continued into the mo-
ment of speaking. This is usually found with stative verbs.

e.g. Canshe really have beenat home all this time?

However, if can is followed by a dynamic verb the Perfect
Continuous infinitive is used.

e.g. Canshe have been waitingfor us so long?

Could with reference to the present is also used in this way,
implying more uncertainty.

e.g. Couldit betrue?

Couldshe be tellinglies?

Couldhe have saidit?

Couldshe have been waiting for us so long?

In Russian both variants, with can and could, are rendered in
the same way: Неужели это правда?, Неужели она лжет? and
so on.


5) improbability,
e.g. It can't be
true. (Это не может быть правдой. Вряд ли это так.)

In this meaning can is found only in negative sentences, which
are often emotionally coloured. Depending on the time reference,
this can is also used with different forms of the infinitive.

e.g. He can't bereally ill.
She can't be tellinglies.
He can't have saidit.

She can't have beenat home all this time.
She can't have been waitingfor us so long.

Could is also used in this way making the statement less cate-
gorical.

e.g.It couldn't betrue.

She couldn't be telling lies.

He couldn't have saidit.

She couldn't have beenat home all this time.

She couldn't have been waitingfor us so long.

§ 78. Can and could followed by different forms of the infinitive,
are found in special questions where they are used for emotional co-
louring (for instance, to express puzzlement, impatience, etc.).

e.g. What can (could)he mean?
What can (could)he be doing?
What can (could)he have done?
Where can (could)he have gone to?

Itcan be rendered in Russian as: Что, собственно, он имеет
в виду?

§ 79. As is seen from the above examples, the form could refer-
ring to the present is sometimes clearly opposed to can in that it
expresses unreality whereas can expresses reality. This may be ob-
served in the following meanings:

ability — He can speak English.

He could speak English if necessary.


possibility due to circumstances —

You can getthe book from the library.

You could getthe book from the library if necessary.

In the other meanings, however, this difference between the
two forms is obliterated. Could is used either as a milder or more
polite form of can (a) or as a form implying more uncertainty
than can (b):

a) permission — CanI useyour pen?

CouldI useyour pen? (more polite)

b) uncertainty, doubt, improbability —

Canit betrue?

Couldit betrue? (less certain)

It can't betrue.

It couldn't betrue, (less certain)

§ 80- In addition to the above cases illustrating the inde-
pendent use of can, this modal verb occurs in adverbial clauses of
purpose, where it is structurally dependent (for a detailed treat-
ment of this use of can see "Verbs", § 143).

e.g. I'llleave the newspaper on the table so that he can see itat

once.

I left the newspaper on the table so that he could seeit at
once.

§ 81. Note the following set phrases with can:

a) She can't help crying.

He couldn't help laughing.

/ can't help doing means не могу удержаться от... or не могу
не делать (чего-то).

b) I can't but askhim about it.
They couldn't but refusehim.

/ can't but do something means {мне) ничего другого не оста
ется, как...
.

c) Не can't possibly doit.

I couldn't possibly refusehim.

I can't (couldn't) possibly do means просто не могу (не мог)
сделать... .


may

§ 82.The modal verb may has the following forms: may —the
present tense (e.g. It may betrue) and might —the Past tense.
The form might is used in two ways: a) in past-time contexts,
mainly in reported speech in accordance with the rules of the se-
quence of tenses (e.g. He told me that it might be true) and b) in
present-time contexts as a milder and more polite form of may, or
as a form implying more uncertainty than may (e.g. Might I come
and see you? It might be true),
or to express unreality (e.g. He
might have fallen ill if he hadn't taken the pills).

§ 83.May has the following meanings:
1) supposition implying uncertainty,

e.g.He may bebusy getting ready for his trip.

In Russian this meaning is generally rendered by means of the
modal adverbs возможно and может быть.

In English this meaning may also be rendered by means of the
attitudinal adverbs perhaps and maybe.

In the meaning of supposition implying uncertainty the verb
may occurs in affirmative and negative sentences.

e.g. He may beat home.

He maynot beat home. (Возможно, что его нет дома. Мо-
жет быть, его нет дома.)

In this meaning may can be followed by different forms of the
infinitive depending on the time reference expressed.

May in combination with the simple infinitive usually refers
the action to the future.

e.g. He may come soon.

The action may also refer to the present but only with stative
verbs.

e.g.He may beill.

He may not knowabout it.

May in combination with the Continuous infinitive of dynamic
Verbs refers the action to the present.


e.g. It's too late to phone him now. He may be sleeping.

I never see him about now. For all I know, he may be writing
a book.

May in combination with the Perfect infinitive refers the ac-
tion to the past.

e.g. He may have fallen ill.

"What's happened to the dog?" I said. "It isn't here. His
master may have taken it with him."

The combination of may with the Perfect infinitive may also
indicate an action begun in the past and continued into the mo-
ment of speaking. This is usually found with stative verbs.

e.g. He may have been at home for about two hours.

However, if may is followed by a dynamic verb, the Perfect
Continuous infinitive is used.

e.g. He may have been waiting for us for an hour.

In the meaning of supposition implying uncertainty, the form
might is also found. It differs from the form may in that it em-
phasizes the idea of uncertainty. It may be followed by the sim-
ple, Continuous or Perfect infinitive.

e.g. He might come soon.
He might be ill.

He might be doing his lessons now.
He might have spoken to her yesterday.

2) possibility due to circumstances,

e.g. You may order a taxi by telephone.

A useful rough-and-ready rule is that time adverbs may come
at either end of the sentence, but not in the middle.

May in this meaning occurs only in affirmative sentences and
is followed only by the simple infinitive.

The form might is used in past-time contexts in accordance
with the rules of the sequence of tenses.

e.g. He said he might order a taxi by telephone.


Might followed by the Perfect infinitive indicates that the ac-
tion was not carried out owing to certain circumstances (ex-
pressed in the sentence or implied).

e.g. He might have fallen ill if he hadn't taken the medicine.
Luckily he wasn't driving the car. He might have been hurt.
You are so careless. You might have broken the cup. (Ты чуть
было не разбил чашку.)

3) permission,

e.g. The director is alone now. So you may see him now.

May in this meaning is found in affirmative sentences, in in-
terrogative sentences which usually express a request, and in nega-
tive sentences where it denotes prohibition. But in negative sen-
tences it is not common as prohibition is generally expressed by
other modal verbs (see can and must).

e.g. You may smoke in here.
May I smoke in here?
You may not smoke in here.

In this meaning may is combined only with the simple infinitive.
In interrogative sentences the form might is also found when
we wish to express a more polite request.

e.g. Might I join you?

In reported speech the form might is used.

e.g. He told me that I might smoke in the room.
He asked me if he might join us.

4) disapproval or reproach,

e.g. You might carry the parcel for me.
You might have helped me.

Here we find only the form might used in affirmative sentenc-
es and followed by the simple or Perfect infinitive. In the latter
case it expresses reproach for the non-performance of an action.

§ 84. The form might which expresses unreality is not always
Parallel to may.


Might expresses unreality only in combination with the Per-
fect infinitive.

e.g. You might have let me know about it beforehand.

There was a car accident in front of our house. Luckily
Tommy was at school. He might have been killed.

In most cases might is used as a milder and more polite form than
may (a) or as a form implying a greater degree of uncertainty (b):

a) permission — May I speak to him now?

Might I speak to him now? (very polite)

b) supposition — He may come a little later.

He might come a little later, (less certain)

The two forms are not opposed in the meaning of possibility
due to circumstances where only may is used, nor in the meaning
of disapproval or reproach where might alone is found.

e.g. You may findthe book at the library.

You might have considered your parents' feelings.

§ 85. Notice the following set phrases with may and might:

a) May as well (might as well, might just as well) + infinitive
is a very mild and unemphatic way of expressing an intention. It is
also used to suggest or recommend an action.

e.g. I may as well take the child with me. (Я, пожалуй, возьму
ребенка с собой. Пожалуй, будет лучше, если я возьму
ребенка с собой.)

You may as well give him the letter.

I might as well stay at home tonight,

"I'llgo at six." "That's far too late; you might just as well
not
go at all." (Можно было бы и не ходить туда совсем.)

b) It might have been worse means 'Things are not so bad after
all.' In Russian it is rendered as: Могло бы быть и хуже or В
конце концов дела обстоят не так уж плохо.

c) Не might have been a... means 'He might have been taken
for a...', 'He looked like a... .'

e.g. Roy Wilson, the new doctor, was twenty-eight, large, heavy
mature and blond. He might have been a Scandinavian sailor-


d) /f / may say so... has become a stereotyped phrase in which
the meaning of permission is considerably weakened.

e.g. If I may say so, I think you have treated him very badly.

§ 86. In addition to the above cases illustrating the independent
use of may, this modal verb occurs in subordinate object clauses
after expressions of fear as well as in adverbial clauses of purpose
and concession. Here it is structurally dependent (for a detailed
treatment of this use of may see "Verbs", §§ 135, 143, 152).

e.g. I fear he may fall ill.

He is coming here so that they may discuss it without delay.
However cold it may be, we'll go skiing.

can and may compared

§ 87.The use of can and may is parallel only in two meanings:
possibility due to circumstances and permission. In these mean-
ings, however, they are not always interchangeable for a number
of various reasons.

1) Thus in the meaning of possibility due to circumstances the
use of may is restricted only to affirmative sentences, whereas can
is found in all kinds of sentences.

May Can

He may findthis book at the He can findthis book at the

library. library.

Can he findthis book at the

library?

He cannot findthis book at the
library.

Their time reference is also different. May refers only to the
Present or future; the form might is used in past-time contexts
only in reported speech. Can (could) may refer to the present,
Past or future.

May Can

He may findthe book at the He can findthe book at the

library. library.


Isaid that he might findthe He could findthe book at the

book at the library. library yesterday.

He can findthe book at the
library tomorrow.

Both could and might combined with the Perfect infinitive in-
dicate that the action was not carried out in the past.

e.g. He might have foundthe book at the library.
He could have foundthe book at the library.

It follows from the above that the sphere of application of can
in this meaning is wider than that of may.

2) When may and can express permission the difference be-
tween them is rather that of style than of meaning — may is more
formal than can which is characteristic of colloquial English.

Cf. May (might) I speakto you for a moment, professor?
Can (could) I havea cup of tea, Mother?

May in negative sentences expressing prohibition is uncommon.

Must

§ 88. The modal verb must has only one form. It is used in
present-time contexts with reference to the present or future and
in combination with the Perfect infinitive it refers to the past. In
past-time contexts this form is used only in reported speech, i.e.
the rules of the sequence of tenses are not observed with must.

§ 89. Must has the following meanings:

1) obligation(from the speaker's point of view),

e.g. You must talkto your daughter about her future.
Musthe doit himself?

In different contexts must may acquire additional shades of
meaning, such as dutyor necessity.

Inthis meaning must is found in affirmative and interrogative
sentences and followed only by the simple infinitive.

Prohibition,


e.g. He must not leavehis room for awhile. (Он не должен/ему

нельзя выходить из комнаты некоторое время.)
This meaning is expressed in negative sentences and must is
also followed by the simple infinitive.

Note, Absence of necessity (in Russian не нужно, нет необходимости) is ex-
pressed by other verbs (see to have and need).

Emphatic advice,

e.g.You must come andsee us when you're in London.
You must stopworrying about your son.
You mustn'tgive another thought to what he said.
You mustn't miss the film. It is very good.
You must have your hair cut. It's much too long.
You mustn't cry.

This meaning is found in affirmative and negative sentences
and is closely connected with the two above mentioned meanings.

4) supposition implying strong probability,

e.g. He must beill. He looks so pale.

It must be late as the streets are deserted.

Must in this meaning is found only in affirmative sentences.

In Russian this meaning is generally rendered by means of the
attitudinal adverbs вероятно, должно быть.

In English this meaning may also be expressed by means of the
attitudinal adverb probably.

In this meaning must may be followed by different forms of
the infinitive. If reference is made to the present, the Continuous
infinitive is used with dynamic verbs.

e-g. The book is not on the shelf. Jane must be readingit.
Let's have something to eat. You must be starving.

Ifmust is followed by the simple infinitive of dynamic verbs,
it expresses obligation.

e-g. Jane must read the book.
You muststay here.

However, with stative verbs the simple infinitive is used to
express supposition.


e.g. He must beover fifty.

He must knowall about it as he has read a lot on the subject.

Must in combination with the Perfect infinitive refers the ac-
tion to the past.

e.g. Do you see him smoking over there? He must have finished

his work.
It is six o'clock. She must have comehome.

The combination of must with the Perfect Continuous infini-
tive indicates an action begun in the past and continued into the
moment of speaking.

e.g. It must have been rainingall the night. There are big pud-
dles in the garden.

However, if must is followed by a stative verb, the Perfect in-
finitive is used.

e.g. He must have beenhere since breakfast.
He must have knownit all along.

Note. Occasionally the combination of must with the Perfect Continuous infini-
tive may express an action going on at a given past moment.

e.g. He must have been writinga letter when I came.

When must expresses supposition implying strong probability,
its use is restricted in two ways:

a) It is not used with reference to the future. In this case we
find attitudinal adverbs in the sentence.

e.g. He will probably cometomorrow.
He will evidently knowall about it.

b) It is not used in the interrogative or negative form. It is
found only in the affirmative form.

Note. To express supposition implying strong probability with negative mean-
ing, in addition to attitudinal adverbs, the following means are employed:

e.g. He must have failedto get in touch with her.
He must have misunderstoodyou.
He must be unawareof that.
He must never have guessedthe truth.

No one must have toldhim about it.

 


§ 90. Note the following set phrases with must.

a) Must needsdenotes obligation.

e.g. He must needsgo there. (Он непременно должен пойти туда.)

b) / must be going and / must be off both mean 'it is time for
me to go* (in Russian Мне пора уходить).

c) / must tell you that... and / must say... are stereotyped
phrases in which the meaning of obligation is considerably weak-
ened inmust.

d) In the sentences: You must come and see me some time.
You must come and have dinner with me. You must come to our
party. You must come and stay with us for the week end
and the
like, the meaning of obligation in must is also weakened. Must
has become part of such sentences which are a common way of ex-
pressing invitations.

must and may Compared

§ 91.Must and мaу can be compared in two meanings:

1) Both may and must serve to express suppositionbut their use
is not parallel. May denotes supposition implying uncertainty where-
as the supposition expressed by must implies strong probability.
Cf. For all I know, he may bean actor. His face seems so familiar.

He must bean actor. His voice carries so well.

I saw him an hour ago. He maystill bein his office now.

He always comes at 10 sharp. So he must bein his office

now.

2) May and must are used to express prohibitionin negative
sentences. But may is seldom found in this meaning. In negative
answers to questions with may asking for permission we generally
find must not or cannot.

e.g. "May I smoke here?" "No, you mustn't(you can't)."

To have to

§ 92. To have to as a modal verb is not a defective verb and
can have all the necessary finite forms as well as the verbals.


e.g. He is an invalid and has to havea nurse.
She knew what she had to do.
I shall have to reconsider
my position.
He is always having to exercisejudgement.
My impression was that he was having to forcehimself to talk.
I have had to remindyou of writing to her all this time.
The women at Barford had had to be toldthat an experiment

was taking place that day.
"As a matter of fact," he said, "I've been having to spend

some time with the research people."
It wouldn't have been very nice for the Davidsons to haveto

mixwith all those people in the smoking-room.
Having to workalone, he wanted all his time for his research.

The interrogative and negative forms of the modal verb to have
to
are built up by means of the auxiliary verb to do.1

e.g. Why doI have to doeverything?
Didhe have to tellthem about it?
"That's all right," she said. "I just thought I'd ask. You

don't have to explain."
There was a grin on his face. He did not have to tellme that

he already knew.

§ 93. The verb to have to serves to express obligationor neces-
sity
imposed by circumstances. It is rendered in Russian as прихо-
дится, вынужден.

In this meaning it is found in all kinds of sentences — af-
firmative, interrogative and negative — and is combined only
with the simple infinitive.

e.g. He had to doit.

Didhe have to doit?
He did not have to do it.

In negative sentences to have to denotes absence of necessity
(compare with the negative form of must which expresses prohibi-
tion).

1 The interrogative and negative forms of the modal verb to have to built up without
the auxiliary do are uncommon in American English and infrequent in British English-


e.g.You don't have to gothere. (Вам не нужно/нет необходимо-
сти идти гуда.)
You mustn'tgo there. (Вам нельзя идти туда.)

§ 94. In spoken English the meaning of obligation and necessi-
ty is also expressed by have (has) got to. Like the verb to have to,
it is found in all kinds of sentences and is combined with the sim-
ple infinitive.

e.g. He has got to goright now.
Hashe got togo right now?
He hasn'tgot to gojust yet.

This combination may also be found in the past tense, though
it is not very common.

e.g. He had gotto sell his car.

§ 95. Note the set phrase had better.

e.g. A few drops began to fall. "We'd better takeshelter," she

said. (Нам лучше укрыться.)

She didn't like to say that she thought they had better not
play cards when the guest might come in at any moment.

Had better is followed by the infinitive without to.

to be to

§ 96. To be to as a modal verb is used in the present and past
tenses.

e.g.We are to meetat six.
We were to meetat six.

§ 97.To be to as a modal verb has the following meanings:

1) a previously arranged plan or obligationresulting from the

arrangement,

e-g. We areto discuss it next time.

We were to discuss it the following week.

Is he to arrive tomorrow?

Who was tospeak at the meeting?


This meaning of to be to is found in affirmative and interro-
gative sentences in the present and past tenses. To be to is fol-
lowed by the simple infinitive.

The past tense of the verb to be to in combination with the
Perfect infinitive denotes an unfulfilled plan.

e.g. I promised to go to a club with her last Tuesday, and I really
forgot all about it. We were to have played a duet together.

2) orders and instructions, often official (frequently in report-
ed speech),

e.g. I just mention it because you said I was to give you all the

details I could.

Norman says I am to leave you alone.
All junior officers are to report to the colonel at once.

In this meaning to be to is found in affirmative and negative
sentences and followed by the simple infinitive.

3) something that is destined to happen,

e.g. He was to be my teacher and friend for many years to come.

He did not know at the time that he was never to see his na-
tive place again.

It's been a great blow to me that you haven't been able to
follow me in my business as I followed my father. Three
generations, that would have been. But it wasn't to be.

This meaning of to be to is rendered in Russian as суждено. It
is mainly found in the past tense and its application is limited to
narration. It occurs in affirmative and negative sentences and is
followed by the simple infinitive.

4) possibility,

e.g. Her father was often to be seen in the bar of the Hotel Metro

pole.

Where is he to be found?
Nothing was to be done under the circumstances.

In this meaning to be to is equivalent to can or may. It is used
in all kinds of sentences in the present and past tenses and is fol'
lowed by the passive infinitive.


§ 98. Note the following set phrases with the modal verb to be to:
What am I to do? (Что мне делать? Как мне быть?)
What is to become of me? (Что со мной станется? Что со
мной будет?)

Where am I to go? (Куда же мне идти? Куда же мне деваться?)

§ 99. То be to in the form of were to + infinitive for all per-
sons is found in conditional clauses where it is structurally depen-
dent (for a detailed treatment of this use of the verb to be to see
"Verbs", § 149).

e.g. If he were to come again I should not receive him.

musty to have to andto be to Compared

§ 100.The verbs must, to have to and to be to have one mean-
ing in common, that of obligation. In the present tense the verbs
come very close to each other in their use, though they preserve
their specific shades of meaning. Thus must indicates obligation
or necessity from the speaker's viewpoint, i.e. it expresses obliga-
tion imposed by the speaker.

e.g. I must do it. (/ want to do it.)

He must do it himself. (7 shan't help him.)

To have to expresses obligation or necessity imposed by circum-
stances.

e.g. What a pity you have to go now. (It's time for you to catch

your train.)
He has to do it himself. (He has got no one to help him.)

To be to expresses obligation or necessity resulting from an
arrangement.

e-g. We are to wait for them at the entrance. (We have arranged
to meet there, so we must wait for them at the appointed
place.)

Sometimes the idea of obligation is absent and to be to ex-
presses only a previously arranged plan.

e-g. We are to go to the cinema tonight.


Note. In public notices we find must because they express obligation imposed
by some authorities.
e.g. Passengers mustcross the railway line by the foot bridge.

The same is true of prohibition expressed in negative sentences,
e.g. Passengers must not walkacross the railway line.
Visitors must not feedthe animals.

In the past tense, however, the difference in the use of the
three verbs is quite considerable.

Must has no past tense. It is used in past-time contexts only in

reported speech.

e.g. He said he must doit himself.

Had to + infinitive is generally used to denote an action which
was realized in the past as a result of obligation or necessity im-
posed by circumstances,
e.g. I had to sellmy car. (It was necessary for me to do it because

I needed money.)
He had to put onhis raincoat. (It was raining hard out side

and he would have got wet if he hadn't.)

Was (were) to + infinitive is used to denote an action planned
for the future which is viewed from the past. The action was not
realized in the past and the question remains open as to whether it
is going to take place.

e.g. We were tomeet him at the station. (It is not clear from the
sentence if the action will take place.)

If the speaker wishes to make it clear at once that the plan
was not fulfilled, the perfect infinitive is used to show that,
e.g. We were to havemet him at the station. (That means that
we failed to meet him.)
However, the simple infinitive may also be used in this case.

§ 101.In reported speech (in past-time contexts) must remains
unchanged in all of its meanings.

e.g. He said he must doit without delay.
He said I mustn't tellanyone about it.


The doctor told her that she must eat.
They believed the story must betrue.

Parallel to must, had to + infinitive is also used occasionally
reported speech to express obligation.

. He said he had to makea telephone call at once.

In this case had to is close to must in meaning: it does not in-
clude the idea of a realized action but refers to some future moment.

Note. Care should be taken not to replace must by had to in reported speech as
two verbs express different meanings (see above).

ought to

§ 102.The modal verb ought tohas only one form which is used
with reference to the present or future. In reported speech it re-
ins unchanged. Ought is always followed by the infinitive with to.

§ 103.Ought to has the following meanings:
1) obligation,which in different contexts may acquire addi-
tinal shades of meaning, such as advisabilityand desirability,

;.You ought tosay a word or two about yourself.
Oughtshe to warnhim?
He oughtn't to mentionit to anybody.

In this meaning ought to is possible in all kinds of sentences,
though it is felt to be awkward in questions where should ispre-
ferred.

Generally ought to refers an action to the future and is fol-
lowed by the simple infinitive. With reference to the present ought
to
is used with the continuous infinitive or with the simple infini-
tive if the verb is stative.

e.g. At your age you ought to be earningyour living.
You ought to feelsome respect for your elders.

In combination with the perfect infinitive ought to in the affir-
mative form shows that a desirable action was not fulfilled.

e-g. You ought to have chosena more suitable time to tell me
this news.


He ought to have put everything off.

In the negative form ought to in combination with the Perfect
infinitive shows that an undesirable action was fulfilled.

e.g. I'm sorry. I oughtn't to have said it.

You oughtn't to have married her, David. It was a great mis-
take.
2) supposition implying strong probability,

e.g. The new sanatorium ought to be very comfortable.

The use of ought to in this case is not very common as this
meaning is normally rendered by must.

Note the set phrases He/you ought to know it (=he is/you are
supposed to know it). You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

shall and should

§ 104. Historically, shall and should were two forms of the
same verb expressing obligation. 1 But later they came to express
different meanings and in present-day English their use is not par-
allel — they are treated as two different verbs.

shall

§ 105. In modern English the modal meaning of obligation in
shall is always combined with the function of an auxiliary verb of

the future tense.

Shall is still used to express obligation with the second and
third persons, but at present it is not common in this meaning in
spoken English. Its use, as a rule, is restricted to formal or even
archaic style and is mainly found in subordinate clauses, i.e. it is
structurally dependent,
e.g. It has been decided that the proposal shall not be opposed.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by
way of trade, he lent, resold, hired out or otherwise dis-
posed of without the publisher's consent.

1 Shall was the present tense of the Indicative Mood; should was the Subjunctive
Mood.


At present, however, this meaning of obligation, somewhat
modified, is found with the second and third persons in sentences
expressing promise, threat or warning. It is used in affirmative
and negative sentences and combined with the simple infinitive.

e.g. You shall have my answer tomorrow.

"You shall stay just where you are!" his mother cried angrily.
He shall do as I say.

The meaning of obligation may also be traced in interrogative
sentences where shall is used with the first and third persons to
ask after the will of the person addressed. In this case it is also
followed by the simple infinitive.

e.g. Shall I get you some fresh coffee, Miss Fleur?
Who shall answer the telephone, Major?

Sentences of this kind are usually rendered in Russian with the
help of the infinitive: Принести вам еще кофе? Кому отвечать
по телефону?
etc.

should

§ 106. In modern English the modal verb should is used with
reference to the present or future. It remains unchanged in re-
ported speech.

§ 107. Should has the following meanings:

1) obligation, which in different contexts may acquire addi-
tional shades of meaning, such as advisability and desirability,

e.g. It's late. You should go to bed.

You shouldn't miss the opportunity.
Should I talk to him about it?

Should in this meaning is found in all kinds of sentences. Like
ought to, it generally refers an action to the future and is followed
by the simple infinitive.



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