- As of nextAugust, I will have been studyingchemistry for ten years.
Students should remember thatadverbsand contracted formsare not, technically, part of the verb. In the sentence, "He hasalready started." theadverb alreadymodifies the verb, but itis not really part of the verb. The sameis true of the 'ntin "He hasn't started yet" (theadverb not, represented by the contracted n't,is not part of the verb, has started).
Shall, willand forms of have, doand becombine with main verbs to indicate timeand voice.Asauxiliaries, the verbs be, have and docan change form to indicate changes in subjectand time.
- I shall go now.
- He had won the election.
- They didwrite that novel together.
- I am going now.
- He was winning the election.
- They have beenwriting that novel fora long time.
used to express the simple future for first person
we,as in "Shall
we meet by the river?" Willwould be used in the simple
future forall other persons.
Using willin the first person would express
determination on the part
of the speaker,as in "We will
project by tonight, by golly!" Using
persons would indicate some kind of
shall be revealed to you in good
in the U.S.,although
used far less frequently. The
distinction between the
twois often obscured by
same for both
In the United States, we seldom use shallforanything other than polite questions (suggestingan element of permission) in the first-person:
Shallis often used in formal situations (legal or legalistic documents, minutes to meetings, etc.) to express obligation, even with third-personand second-person constructions:
In the simple present tense,
to express the negativeand
questions. (Does, however,is
substituted for third-person, singular
subjects in the present tense. The past tense
didworks withall persons,
Forms of the verb to haveare used to
perfect. The perfect tenses indicate
that something has
happened in the past;
the present perfect indicating that
might be continuing to happen, the past
perfect indicating that
something happened prior to something
else happening. (That
sounds worse than it reallyis!) See the section
on Verb Tenses in
Voicefor further explanation;also review
in the Directory of English
To have isalso in combination with other modal verbs to express probabilityand possibility in the past.
Other helping verbs, called modalauxiliaries or modals, suchas can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will,and would, do not change form for different subjects. For instance, try substitutingany of these modalauxiliaries for canwithany of the subjects listed below.
|can write well.|
Thereisalsoa separate section on the ModalAuxiliaries, which divides these verbs into their various meanings of necessity,advice,ability, expectation, permission, possibility, etc.,and provides sample sentences in various tenses. See the section on Conditional Verb Formsfor help with the modalauxiliary would. The shades of meaningamong modalauxiliariesare multifariousand complex. Most English-as-a-Second-Language textbooks will containat least one chapter on their usage. For moreadvanced students, A University Grammar of English, by Randolph Quirkand Sidney Greenbaum, containsan excellent, extensiveanalysis of modalauxiliaries.
Theanalysis of ModalAuxiliariesis based ona similaranalysis in The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writersby Maxine Hairstonand John J. Ruszkiewicz. 4th ed. HarperCollins: New York. 1996. The description of helping verbs on this pageis based on The Little, Brown Handbookby H. Ramsay Fowlerand Jane E.Aaron, & Kay Limburg. 6th ed. HarperCollins: New York. 1995. By permission ofAddison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc. Examples inall casesare our own.
verb cancan be used to express
permission or not —
"Can I leave
the room now?" ["I don't know if you can, but you may."] — depends on the level
of formality of your text or
situation.As Theodore Bernstein
puts it in The Careful
whoisattentive to the
proprieties will preserve the traditional distinction:
canforability or power to do
permission to do
The questionisat what level can you safely ignore the "proprieties." Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, tenth edition, says the battleis overand can can be used in virtuallyany situation to express orask for permission. Mostauthorities, however, recommenda stricteradherence to the distinction,at least in formal situations.
Authority: The Careful Writer by Theodore Bernstein. The Free Press: New York. 1998. p. 87.
Two of the more troublesome
might. When used in the context of
granting or seeking
past tense of
considerably more tentative than
Notice that the contracted form
'llis very frequently
used for will.|
Willcan be used to express willingness:
verb construction used tois
used to expressanaction that
took place in the past,
perhaps customarily, but now thataction no longer