9.3. DETAIL ON MODAL STRUCTURES

Auxiliary HAVE for Modal syntax and inversion for questions are regular and standard. The Interrogative for Modals MAY, NEED, or MUST will yet confirm on our Modal net and auxiliary HAVE as a syntactic anchor (■→SUBCHAPTER 9.2).
Expressions 54 – 54b would be rare in American, and they might impress unfavorably, as superfluous in structure or even incorrect. The preference is for patterns without syntactic HAVE, as 54c. The matter is not in language styles.
54. *MAYN’T you HAVE worked a lot?
54a. *NEEDN’T you HAVE worked a lot?
54b. *MUSTN’T you HAVE worked a lot?
Please compare,
55. DIDN’T you NEED / HAVE TO work a lot?

Asking questions with Modals MAY, NEED, or MUST involves making a theory. Unless we ask a question for no reason or purpose and expect no answer at all — unless our question is unreal — we think about some PROBABILITY at least, to ask about the kind of Modality.

With regard to language economy, that is efficiency, we do not need to enclose the same linguistic framework multiple times (click the image to enlarge).

Let us compare the Modal CAN.
56. COULDN’T you HAVE worked away?

The Modal CAN narrates mostly about ability and circumstance. Closed frame questions do not make theory on probable skill or adeptness; they inquire on the circumstance. To ask about efficiency, we also have the phrase to be able to, without the theory anchor.
56a. WEREN’T you ABLE TO work?

We may now compare the PRESENT Interrogative for all Modals we have analyzed so far.

57. We CAN work a lot.
CAN we work a lot?
58. We MAY work a lot.
MAY we work a lot?
59. We SHALL work a lot.
SHALL we work a lot?

60. We WILL work a lot.
WILL we work a lot?
61. We SHOULD work a lot.
SHOULD we work a lot?
62. We MUST work a lot.
MUST we work a lot?
63. We OUGHT TO work a lot.
OUGHT we TO work a lot?


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Let us compare the Negative along with the short forms. They come from the way the language has been spoken.

64. We CANNOT | CAN’T skip work.
65. We MAY NOT | MAYN’T skip work.
66. We SHALL NOT | SHAN’T skip work.
67. We WILL NOT | WON’T skip work.
68. We SHOULD NOT | SHOULDN’T skip work.
69. We MUST NOT | MUSTN’T skip work.
70. We OUGHT NOT | OUGHTN’T TO skip work.

The Modal CAN attracts the particle NOT directly. They become one word, CANNOT. We may come upon the shape CAN NOT in historic texts, as the ■→GETTYSBURG ADDRESS.

President Abraham Lincoln gave the speech at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863. The shape “can not” is rarely used today.

Feel welcome to read the ■→ADDRESS as well as to do the ■→VOLUNTARY EXTRA PRACTICE.

MUST NOT usually implies that something is forbidden or strongly discommended. NEED can take on the regular negative. The auxiliary is the verb to do.

71. We DO NOT NEED to memorize dictionaries.
We can use the short form, DON’T, when our contexts are not formal.
71a. We DON’T NEED to memorize dictionaries.

NEED can take on Modal negation, too. The Modal form may be more emphatic.
71b. We NEEDN’T memorize dictionaries.
(There is definitely no need to memorize dictionaries.)

Our paths may diverge, for NEED and the auxiliary PAST.
72. You DIDN’T NEED to do this.
(Something didn’t need to be done and it was not done.)
72a. You NEEDN’T HAVE done this.
(You did it, but the claim is you COULD HAVE left it alone.)

HAVE TO takes the regular negative.
73. We DO NOT HAVE TO memorize dictionaries.
73a. We DON’T HAVE TO memorize dictionaries.

Inversion patterns for the Negative Interrogative will depend on the form we use, short or full.

74. CAN we NOT work a lot?
74a. CAN’T we work a lot?
75. MAY we NOT work a lot?
75a. MAYN’T we work a lot?
76. SHALL we NOT work a lot?
76a. SHAN’T we work a lot?

77. WILL we NOT work a lot?
77a. WON’T we work a lot?
78. SHOULD we NOT work a lot?
78a. SHOULDN’T we work a lot?
79. MUST we NOT work a lot?
79a. MUSTN’T we work a lot?
80. OUGHT we NOT TO work a lot?
80a. OUGHTN’T we TO work a lot?

The pattern,
MUST we NOT | MUSTN’T we,
ask about the proper course of things, not about permission.

The pattern, OUGHT we NOT | OUGHTN’T we, becomes used without the infinitive more and more often: again, we may think about theory making and logical extents, to comprehend the language economy.

HAVE TO takes the regular Negative Interrogative.
81. DO we NOT HAVE TO work a lot?
81a. DON’T we HAVE TO work a lot?

Let us now exercise our gray matter in some
■→9.4. MODAL RELATIVITY PRACTICE.

■→This text is also available in Polish.


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