1 ENGLISH MODAL VERBS. 5
1.1 Types and Characteristics of Modal Verbs. 5
1.2 Difficulties of Using English Modal Verbs. 8
2. PROBLEMS OF TRANSLATING ENGLISH MODAL VERBS. 10
2.1 Translating of the Meaning of Modal Verbs. 10
2.2 Differences and Peculiarities of the Usage of Modal Verbs in Newspapers and faction 11
2.3 The Usage of Modal Verbs in Business English. 27
1 ENGLISH MODAL VERBS
1.1 Types and Characteristics of Modal Verbs
... These verbs have acquired an independent, present tense meaning. The German verb möchten is sometimes taught as a vocabulary word and included in the list of modal verbs, but it is actually the past subjunctive form of mögen. An example of the subjective use of "may" in English is in the sentence "That may be, or may not be," meaning "That could be true, but maybe it is not."
The English verbs dare and need have both a modal use (he dare not do it), and a non-modal use (he doesn't dare to do it). The Dutch verb durven is not considered a modal (but it is there, nevertheless) because its modal use has disappeared, but it has a non-modal use analogous with the English dare. Other English modal verbs include want, wish, hope, and like. All of these differ from the main modals in English (i.e. most of those in the table above) in that they take the particle to in the infinitive, like all other English verbs (may; to want), and are followed by to when they are used as a modal (may go; want to go). Some may be more than one word, such as "had better" and "would rather."
In English, main verbs but not modal verbs always require the auxiliary verb do to form negations and questions, and can be used to form emphatic affirmative statements. Neither negations nor questions in early modern English used to require do. ...
2. PROBLEMS OF TRANSLATING ENGLISH MODAL VERBS
2.3 The Usage of Modal Verbs in Business English
... When author came to the study of each modal verb, a third problematic issue was to categorize the uses of the modal auxiliary verbs, so as to be both precise and at the same time general enough to produce manageable and meaningful results. A first way would have been to categorize the modal auxiliaries into epistemic, deontic and dynamic. But if such classification is relevant in terms of grammar it is also relatively inefficient in terms of practical communication for instance, the deontic may can be used to express either a choice between two or several elements but also something optional as in the following sentences:
Example 3: A sensing device measures the required parameters: these devices may be gauges, photo-electric cells, thermocouples, sensors, etc. [a choice between several elements]
Translation 3: Данное устройство измеряет необходимые параметры: этими параметрами могут быть, фотоэлементами, термопарами, датчиками, и т.д. [выбор между несколькими элементами]
Example 4: For machining wood or brass you may want to install a switch cover (P/N 3015) to keep the fine dust out of the power switch. [something optional]
Translation 4: Для механической обработки леса или латуни возможно вы захотите установить покрытие на выключатель, чтобы мелкая пыль не попадала на выключатель. [кое-что произвольное]
Would it be sensible - and perhaps feasible - to keep meanings one or two separate or to associate them?
Making out the very precise meaning of some modal verbs as well as isolating their uses in formal classes would sometimes be almost impossible and besides, would also be pointless: on the one hand the difference between may expressing a choice and may expressing something optional is often hardly significant and would not lead to any interesting distinction. This is why the both shades of meaning under the same heading have been chosen. ...