Modal verbs

Discussion in 'English Only' started by HocusPocus93, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. HocusPocus93 Senior Member

    Italiano- Italia
    Very simple question..the use of modal verbs is not allowed is subordinate clauses, right?Can I say "We're doing this when I come to visit you?"I programmed an action (present continuous) and then in the subordinate I have to use the present?
    Thanks, cheers
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Ouf, that's far too wide a generalisation, HP93 - we can certainly use modal verbs in subordinate clauses;).
    But yes, if you're asking whether we say "when I come to visit you" rather than "when I will come to visit you" - you're right:).
  3. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    I don't think your question is about modal verbs - which certainly can be used in subordinate clauses ("I don't know what I should do," "Come whenever you can," "Audition again when you can really play the flute," etc.).

    I think it's about using the future tense in subordinate time clauses following future-tense verbs. In that case, it's not necessary in English to use the future tense in subordinate clauses, when the time of those clauses is obvious from the rest of the sentence. So:

    We'll go to the fair when you're here in May. :tick: totally fine!
    We'll go to the fair when you will be here in May. :cross: not preferred in English

    I'll take him with me when I leave. :tick:
    I'll take him with me when I'll leave. :cross:
  4. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    The question of whether we use the present or the future to indicate future time in when-clauses comes up from time to time.

    I think this thread is probably the most detailed on the subject.
  5. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    No: that's not right at all: I think you may perhaps have misunderstood something you've been told.:confused:
    There's no reason why you can't use a modal verb in your sentence.

    If what mean is using an auxiliary verb to form a compound tense in a subordinate clause, you could do that as well. It obviously depends on the context, but you're certainly not restricted to only using a present tense.

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