Mark Twain in France

Mark Twain, the famous American writer, was travelling in France. Once he was going by train to Dijon. That afternoon he was very tired and wanted to sleep. He therefore asked the conductor to wake him up when they came to Dijon. But first he explained that he was a very heavy sleeper. "I'll probably protest loudly when you try to wake me up," he said to the conductor. "But do not take any notice, just put me off the train anyway."

Then Mark Twain went to sleep. Later, when he woke up, it was night-time and the train was in Paris already. He realized at once that the conductor had forgotten to wake him up at Dijon. He was very angry. He ran up to the conductor and began to shout at him. "I have never been so angry in all my life," Mark Twain said.

The conductor looked at him calmly. "You are not half so angry as the American whom I put off the train at Dijon," he said.

(From "10,000 Jokes, Toasts and Short Stories", ed. by Lewis and Faye Coperland)



Functions of Modal Verbs and Synonymous Expressions
ability He can read Arabic.     She's able to run a marathon. He could/was able to read Arabic when he was four. (repeated action - ability in the past) He was able to escape. (single action)
possibility He can win the race. (90% certain) They could still be at school. (50% certain; it's possible they are still at school.)   Tom may be studying in his room. (perhaps; 50% certain; it's possible that he's studying.)   He might want some more food. (40% certain; perhaps he wants some more food.)   It is likely that he will arrive tonight.   He is likely to arrive tonight. She could have been killed in the car crash. (Luckily, she wasn't killed.)   He may have spoken to Jenny yesterday. (Perhaps he spoke to Jenny.)     He might have forgotten. (Perhaps he has forgotten.)   It was likely that he had arrived the day before.   He was likely to have arrived the day before.
probability They will be home soon. (100% certain; prediction)   Greg should win easily. (90% certain; future only; he'll win easily.)   They ought tobe home by now. (90% certain; they will probably be home.)     He should have received his prize by now. (He has probably received it by now.)   They ought to have arrived an hour ago. (They have probably arrived.)
logical assumptions She must be working. (90% certain - positive; I'm sure she's working.)   She can't be over forty. (negative; I'm sure she isn't over forty.)   He couldn't be at work (negative; I don't think he's at work.) She must have been working. (positive; I'm sure she was working.)   She can't have stolen the money. (negative; I'm sure she didn't steal the money.)   He couldn't have been at work yesterday. (negative; I don't think he was at work yesterday.)


Functions of Modal Verbs and Synonymous Expressions
permission You can/can'tborrow my car. (giving or refusing permission; informal)   Could I use your phone? (more polite; asking for permission) You mayuse the phone. (formal; giving permission)   Might I speak to Mr. Jones, please? (more formal; asking permission)   I'm afraid you can't/mustn't see the patient. (informal; refusing permission)   Children may not be left unaccompanied. (formal; refusing permission - written notice) He wasn't allowed to/couldn't cross the border. He was allowed to enter the country. (not: could)            
necessity I must buy a new jacket. (I say so.)     He has to put some petrol in the car. (necessity coming from outside the speaker) I've got to go to the bank now. (informal) My car needs repairing. or   My car needs to be repaired. (it's necessary) They don't have to/don't need to/needn't come if they don't want to. (it isn't necessary - absence of necessity) I ought to get my hair cut. (it's necessary) I had to buy a new jacket. (I was obliged to.)   Since his car was being repaired he had to go to York by train.   I had to go to the bank yesterday. My car neededrepairing. or My car needed to be repaired. (it was necessary) She didn't have to go. (it wasn't necessary - absence of necessity)   He needn't have worn such heavy clothes. (It wasn't necessary for him to wear such heavy clothes but he did.) She didn't need to/didn't have to buy any apples. (It wasn't necessary for her to buy any apples and she didn't.)


Functions of Modal Verbs and Synonymous Expressions
advice You should drink more water. (general advice; I advise you)   You ought to respect the elderly. (I advise you; most people believe this) You had better finish it. (it's a good idea; advice on a specific situation)   Shall I buy that car? (asking for advice) You should have gone to bed earlier last night. (but you didn't)   He ought to have seen a doctor earlier. (but he didn't)   It would have been better if you had finished it yesterday. (but you didn't)    
criticism You could at least help me.         You could haveat least helped me last night.   They should have tried harder. (but they didn't)   You ought to have behaved yourself yesterday. (It was the right thing to do but you didn't do it.)
Obligation I must go on a diet. (I'm obliged to; I say so.)   I have to go on a diet. (I'm obliged to; the doctor says so.)   We ought to help the poor. (It's the right thing to do, but people don't always do it.)   I had to go on a diet a month ago.     I had to go on a diet a month ago.  
requests Can I borrow your book? (informal) Could I borrow your book? (polite) May I have a cup of coffee, please? (formal) Might I use your phone? (very formal) Will you phone Jane tonight? (very friendly) Would you mind sending this fax? (polite)          
offers Can I/we do anything for you? (informal) Shall I/we do it for YDU? (informal) Would you like me to help you?    


Functions of Modal Verbs and Synonymous Expressions
suggestions Shall we dance? I/We can go now if you like. We could leave if you want.   He could have consulted a lawyer.
prohibition You can't smoke there. (you aren't allowed to) You mustn't smoke there. (it's forbidden) You may not smoke there. (formal) They couldn't smoke there. (they weren't allowed)  
duty Everyone must obey the law. People ought to be more tolerant. (It's the right thing to do but they do not always do it.) All the villagers had toobey the law. He ought to have been more tolerant. (It was the right thing to do but he didn't do it.)



: 2015-09-04; : 6224. ; !

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