Exercise 53. Both PRESENT and PAST Modal forms can render a PRESENT grammatical target. For all of this exercise, our Modal time frame remains open. We can work as in the ■→MIND PRACTICE solely, or with the ■→GRAMMAR VISUALS as well. Our head verb is to learn.

Example: may

Answer: may be learning, or
might be learning

Exercise 54. We use the task from exercise 53 with other head verbs. Let us remember about their stative use: we can stay with the variable {ON}, regardless of the Progressive cue.

Example: read, may
Answer: may be reading, or
might be reading

1. write; 2. have (a good memory); 3. work; 4. know; 5. love; 6. think; 7. recall; 8. consider; 9. joke; 10. play.

Exercise 55. Let us try “jumping” time extents. We can view time as on a symbolic line.

Our cues are telling,

One time extent “forward”;

One time extent “backward”.

Example: In Washington D.C., you WILL BE ABLE TO visit the Library of Congress.

We think about the target time cue and relative frame, for highlighted forms.
Answer: In Washington D.C., you can / may visit the Library of Congress.

1. After a day of a hop-on and off the Washington trolley, you MAY feel you should have bought a two-day ticket.

2. In Washington, we were renting right on the Anacosita. The area was lovely. We just HAD TO take a walk in the Kenilworth Park.

3. You MUST book your seats in the Lisner Auditorium. The American Air Force jazz ensemble may perform live.

4. You NEED TO give up on wading, in the Roosevelt Memorial waterfalls. It is not allowed.

5. You MAY enter the National Gallery of Art on first-come basis.

Natural language happens to involve text rich interpretation. The “Washington trolley” will be the Washington trolley tour, for example.

Exercise 56. Let us try “targeting” time extents. The target time extent is the one in which we “land”. Examples here invoke the ■→ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain. Let us think flexibly, especially for examples 3 and 5.

Example: I thought I WOULD behave a while, if I COULD.


Answer: I think I WILL / WOULD behave a while, if I CAN / COULD;
(Form Relativity).

1. But how CAN we do it, if we don’t know what it is?

2. The widow rung a bell for supper, and you HAD TO come to time.

3. And more ― they‘VE GOT TO (HAVE TO) waltz that palace around over the country wherever you want it, you understand.

4. It fetched us a dollar a day apiece, all the year round ― more than a body COULD tell what to do with.

5. Well, three or four months run along, and it was well into the winter, now. I had been to school most all the time, and COULD spell, and read, and write just a little, and COULD say the multiplication table up to six times seven is thirty-five, and I don’t reckon I COULD ever get any further than that if I WAS TO live forever.

Phrases as “you understand” (example 3), or “I don’t reckon” (example 5), tell the time of the narrator, the character that tells the story.
Human lives are not just stories, but the narrator time can help comprehend the notional time, the time of the person who speaks.

Feel welcome to the Grammar Grapevine:

You don’t know about me at all, but I can tell I have read that story by Mark Twain, about the boy, Huck Finn. If you like the story too, we could get along, I guess. ■→MORE GRAMMAR OFF THE RECORD

Exercise 57. Let us try to choose our Modals. We can stay with Huckleberry for the while.

Example: He MAY / WILL be in the woods now.
(I know that he is in the woods.)

Answer: He WILL be in the woods now.

1. Let us not worry about it. There WILL / CAN be no advantage to it.
(It is certain that there is going to be no advantage.)

2. They HAD TO go / MAY HAVE gone out to the woods.
(The woods are not the only way.)

3. You SHOULD learn / SHOULD HAVE learned the way through the woods.
(Now is the time to learn.)

4. You MAY / WILL get lost in these woods.
(It is certain.)

5. They HAD TO get / MAY HAVE gotten lost in the woods.
(We are looking for them. The only way is through the woods.)

6. You SHOULDN’T/ CAN’T get lost in these woods.
(It is impossible. You know the way very well.)

7. He DIDN’T HAVE TO get / COULDN’T HAVE gotten lost in the woods.
(He knew the way.)

8. They MUST HAVE / MAY HAVE gotten lost in the woods.
(They are late, and they took the way through the woods.)

9. You MAY / HAVE TO avoid the way through the woods.
(It is not safe.)

10. You WOULD HAVE / SHOULD HAVE gotten lost in the woods.
(That was certain.)


Example 4 Modal verb WILL can tell about CERTAINTY for the PRESENT. We may compare example 3 in Exercise 55, and try to avoid the cumbersome, “soothsayer” style that would result from using WILL for all and strictly FUTURE forms.

Exercise 58. Our story is now about general POTENTIALITY and PROBABILITY, in the grammatical PAST. We do not need the auxiliary time here. Our Modal frame remains open.

We are back with the dayfly from ■→EXERCISE 43. As in exercise 42, we learn to keep our thinking together even when words are unusual.

Example: The dayfly (can think) about physical matter without butterflies.

Answer: The dayfly was able to think about physical matter without butterflies.

1. The dayfly (consider) it somewhat rude of the butterfly to make reservations on the wings. They (may differ), but there (be) no reason for the remark. Anyway, now the butterfly (have to be) far away, with its wings.

2. The dayfly (start) to reckon about infinity. If there (be) infinity, the word “infinite” (can) only denote it. You (need) five letters to write the word. The letters and the word (be) undeniably finite.

3. Alphabets (have to be) physical matter in a way, the dayfly (think). Five letters (can make) an eight-letter word (!) You just (need to compose) them.

4. The number of possible words and phrases you (can make) with one alphabet (have to be) innumerable. That (be) the closest approximation to matter and infinity the dayfly (can envision).

5. Letters also (can tell) numbers. The dayfly (think) what all alphabets (will have) in common.

6. If there (will be) anything universal about all letters in the world, that (may be) the essence of writing. Nothing as universal readily (occur) to the dayfly, however.

7. Letters (can take) various shapes. Only language (can make) writing of a matter.

8. The dayfly (start musing) if there (may be) universal thoughts.

In example 1, the phrase “might differ” tells about holding an opinion. We can give it an open frame.

Exercise 59. The westerly (■→EXERCISE 44) is in the mountains. Generally in the grammatical PAST, we decide if we open the Modal frame or close it. We think about Expression, the Interrogative and the Negative, too.

Example: The westerly (can gambol) on the shore a little longer, but it (gather) to go see the future: the mountains.

Answer: The westerly COULD HAVE gamboled on the shore a little longer, but it gathered to go see the future: the mountains.

1. What (will happen) about the present time? The westerly (can perceive) something indivisible and intermediate about time. Time (be) in a way continuous, but it also (consist) of parts.

2. The present (have to border) on the past and the future; it (be) somehow intermediary. How long (will last) the present? Sometimes, you (can view) the present as lasting as long as a day. Sometimes, it (will be) a split second.

3. Well, you N (can exist) only in the future or only in the past. There always (will be) a present moment that (will be) the only present. This only present N (will be) anywhere else but where you (be) yourself, and you always (say) “here” for such a place.

4. The wester (get) to the mountains. They (be) its present now. The wester N (can think) about a more beautiful present. It N (need) the ocean, to say, “It is beautiful here”.

5. The mountains yet N (can be) always the “here”. The wester (think) if  there (be) some kind of “here” you always (have) with your Self.

FROM THE KEY: With example 4, the open frame phrase, COULDN’T think about a more beautiful present”, would place the thinking in the mountains; the closed frame, COULDN’T HAVE thought”, would likely place it on the shore, where the wind was in exercise 44.

We may have come across patterns named the Unreal Past or Conditional. Let us try a grammar theory of relativity. Our use of the word “relativity” is not about physics or families. It is linguistic. Feel welcome to ■→CHAPTER 10, FORM RELATIVITY GALORE.

■→This text is also available in Polish.


The world may never have seen her original handwriting, if her skill was taken for supernatural. Feel welcome to Poems by Emily Dickinson prepared for print by Teresa Pelka: thematic stanzas, notes on the Greek and Latin inspiration, the correlative with Webster 1828, and the Aristotelian motif, Things perpetual — these are not in time, but in eternity.
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