9.1. MODAL SYNTAX, GRAMMATICAL PRESENT OR PAST

To think about a perfect orange and ideal management in context, we can keep the mild sense of humor from ■→CHAPTER 9. We could ask about the grammatical PRESENT, Where is the handle?

PROBABILITY
38. The handle MAY HAVE broken off.
38a. It MIGHT HAVE broken off.
39a. It COULD HAVE broken off.

Which of the above forms could answer a question about the grammatical PAST, as What happened? Let us compare some more Modal syntax, for our PRESENT and PAST Fields of Time.

CERTAINTY
40. The handle MUST HAVE broken off.

CONTINGENCY
41. You SHOULD HAVE checked on the handle.
42. The handle OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN checked.
43. You NEEDN’T HAVE manipulated the handle.

Example 43 would be an unfounded conjecture, should the handle be still in place.

 

Well, the verb to have can be quite a handle itself, and we can see it in the Modal phrases above. We may begin with visualizing the infinitive (■→APPENDIX 1) and the head time. Our head time is mauve. The infinitive is capitalized.

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44. I remember TO EXERCISE.

TEXT EXTENT: I REMEMBER -- TO EXERCISE

If we recall our exercise as something prior, ■→ANTECEDENT, we might say:

44a. I remember TO HAVE EXERCISED.

TEXT EXTENT: I REMEMBER -- TO HAVE EXERCISED

With the infinitive and the verb to have, our main grammatical time could be the PAST, PRESENT, as well as FUTURE.

TEXT EXTENT: I WAS HAPPY -- TO HAVE EXERCISED
TEXT EXTENT: I WILL BE HAPPY -- TO HAVE EXERCISED

MAIN GRAMMATICAL TIME: THE PRESENT
I am happy to have exercised.

MAIN GRAMMATICAL TIME: THE FUTURE
I will be happy to have exercised.

MAIN GRAMMATICAL TIME: THE PAST
I was happy to have exercised.

Would the auxiliary HAVE generally make an antecedent reference in time? An antecedent reference does not mean the time has to be PAST.
If we say we have learned something, we say we began learning some time before speaking about it, that is, the PRESENT.
If we say we will have learned, or we had learned something, respectively, we place the learning some time before a FUTURE or PAST time.

Let us focus on the Modal form alone. IS finding the handle or WAS it much of an open matter?

45b. The handle MIGHT HAVE / COULD HAVE broken off.

The Modal form alone does not give enough guidance. We need to venture our time frames. Feel welcome.
■→9.2. THE MODAL TIME FRAME