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Autor:  Brian W
E-mail:  não-disponível
Data:  31/MAR/2009 11:37 PM
Assunto:  Modal auxiliary

As JR says there is no clear delineation in English between these various words - modal auxiliaries express the speaker's personal interpretation of factors like obligation, likelihood, necessity etc. 


These concepts are vague and abstract and so the uses of the words expressing these 'speaker judgements' are similarly vague and overlapping.

Because, in this example, the speaker appears to be talking about more than sheer possibility, I would tend towards 'may'. 'May' seems to include a broader assessment of what might be considered reasonable after a nasty break up.

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 English Made in Brazil -- English, Portuguese, & contrastive linguistics
Modal verb>can/may  –  Aman  31/MAR/2009, 10:31 PM
Modal verb>can/may  –  José Roberto  31/MAR/2009, 11:21 PM
 Modal auxiliary  –  Brian W  31/MAR/2009, 11:37 PM
Modal auxiliary  –  Dale/CR  31/MAR/2009, 11:47 PM
Modal auxiliary  –  Aman  02/ABR/2009, 10:33 AM

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