a date by which life might <start><have started> to get back to normal

JJXR

Senior Member
Russian
Hello to all,

Thanks for reading my post.


Source:

Trump Stresses Need To Reopen America While Continuing To Fight The Coronavirus

Sample sentence:

Trump said that he didn't know when life would get back to normal but said it would be "a lot sooner than three or four months" and that he didn't want the pandemic to disrupt the nation so badly that today's economic foundering curdles into a depression. "We're not going to let the cure be worse than the problem," Trump said. Trump has come under pressure to at least give a date by which life might <start><have started> to get back to normal.

Question:

The simple form "start" is used in the original. Are both options correct in this case?


Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!

Regards,
JJXR
 
  • suacy

    Member
    English - USA
    It's referring to a hypothetical date in the future, so you have to use "start".
    You could also say "a date by which, perhaps, life will have started" but you can't say "might will have started".
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for your responses, suacy and london calling.

    As far as I know, the fact that the date in question is in the future makes no real difference. Here's my earlier thread in which "might have + past participle" is correct, and here's another thread in which that same construction is correct.

    So, based on that, the two sentences below mean approximately the same thing:

    1. Trump has come under pressure to at least give a date by which life might have started to get back to normal.

    2. Trump has come under pressure to at least give a date by which life will probably have started to get back to normal.


    "Might have started" = "will probably have started."

    The same applies to the two sentences below:

    3. Trump has come under pressure to at least give a date by which life might start to get back to normal.

    4. Trump has come under pressure to at least give a date by which life will probably start to get back to normal.


    "Might start" = "will probably start."

    It is the perspective of the speaker which determines whether the simple form or the perfect form is used. Both forms are grammatically correct. This is again a matter of personal preference.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    It is the perspective of the speaker which determines whether the simple form or the perfect form is used. Both forms are grammatically correct. This is again a matter of personal preference.
    I don't agree with that statement at all. He's looking to the future so it makes no sense to use the perfect form.
     

    Shooting Stars

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    This is an interesting question.

    As for your sample sentence, the writer means before that date, the US is on lockdown, after that date, the lockdown is gradually lifted.
    If you use "might have started", it seems to mean the lifting of the lockdown has possibly started before that date.
    That is how I interpret the difference. But I am not sure if my interpretation is correct.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Trump has come under pressure to at least give a date by which life might <start><have started> to get back to normal.

    Question:

    The simple form "start" is used in the original. Are both options correct in this case?
    I don't see why you can't use either. ;)

    To me, the essential difference is that in the sentence as written, the inference is that signs would be indicating a reasonable anticipation of a gradual return to normality. If you change it to use what is essentially a future perfect, then the signs would be indicating that that gradual process (of a return to normality) had already started to take place. :)
     
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