'must','shall','will','would' vs 'should' or subjunctive

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younghon

Senior Member
Korean - Korea
A professor insists that they use 'must','shall','will','would' instead of 'should' or subjunctive in modern English.
He presented following examples. Do you agree with his argument like this? *I l aready know that they use present or past tense instead of subjunctive.

Ex)
We demand that this burden must be removed.
He insists that you shall be present.
The doctor insists that I shall give up smoking.
It is perhaps not good that we shall marry.

* should: This one has much wormer meaning than shall. ----Is this true?
I request that something should be done about the matter.
The doctor has given the orders that the patient should have a bath every day.
He commands that we should go.

* will, would: These indicate warmer/milder/softer/periphrastic request. -----Is this true?
It is requested that no one will touch the statue.
 
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  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Only the doctor example reads naturally to me (and even then, only if the definite article before “orders” is deleted).
     

    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    We demand that this burden must be removed.
    He insists that you shall be present.
    The doctor insists that I shall give up smoking.
    It is perhaps not good that we shall marry.
    All four examples demand the subjunctive in my American English dialect. They are all unnatural with the words I've struck out.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    A professor insists that they use 'must','shall','will','would' instead of 'should' or 'subjunctive' in modern English.
    That is too prescriptive - I doubt that the man is a professor.

    There is a good discussion on can, will, could, should, etc at If anyone in the Isles could have found me, it was Lurk.

    Could, should, etc., are all capable (trivially) of being the past tense of can, shall, etc1. but are also capable of implying a conditional sense of levels of probability/possibility. In the latter circumstances, they are modal verbs in their own right and possess no tense.

    1A: "I can do that."
    B: "What did A say?"
    C: "He said he could do that."
     

    younghon

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea
    I saw that kind of a professor's argument in an English grammar book in a big bookstore. In Korea there are a lot of mistake in English grammar books made by Koran English teachers or professors.

    Thank you very much for your kind and quick answer!
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Those sentences all have quite a formal sound to them: they're not the sort of thing you'd drop into a casual conversation. So I think I would probably go for a present subjunctive, certainly in writing, although "should" works for me as an alternative.

    But to me, "will" and "would" both alter the underlying meaning there.
     
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