I hate to bitch but bitch I must

Bob Hall rjhjr0 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 20 02:17:26 UTC 2009

On Sun, Oct 18, 2009 at 11:48:55AM -0400, PJ wrote:
> Bob Hall wrote:
> > On Sat, Oct 17, 2009 at 05:36:43PM -0400, PJ wrote:
> >   
> >> Bob Hall wrote:
> >>     
> >>> On Sat, Oct 17, 2009 at 02:34:40AM +0000, Mark wrote:
> >>>   
> >>>       
> >>>> Actually, this has got very little to do with being a native English
> >>>> speaker or not. It's ere a matter of intonation (which, in writing, can
> >>>> only be conveyed to a certain degree, of course). 'Should' can certainly
> >>>> mean "Don't try that." As in:
> >>>>
> >>>> Will the ice hold me?
> >>>> Well, technically it should.
> >>>>
> >>>> (Meaning: it probably will, but I'm not overly confident.)
> >>>>     
> >>>>         
> >>> Actually, what's happening here is dropping part of a sentence. It's
> >>> common in English to shorten
> >>> 	Yea, it should work, but it doesn't.
> >>>   
> >>>       
> >> Absolutely not! There is nothing to suggest either statement above. If
> >> one says it should work, it can mean (of course, it changes within
> >> different contexts) that all is ok and normal conditions (whatever they
> >> may be) will allow things to function correctly. There is certainly no
> >> implication about confidence... where do you get that? 
> >>     
> >
> > >From common English usage. Specifically, where? Australia, England, Russia, France, USA, Canada... Again, that is your personal interpretation and certainly not "common English usage." Or better yet, try common sense. Or, better yet, you *should* go back to school.

The third edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage gives British and
American usage.  Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage
concentrates more on American usage. I don't have access to any
specifically Australian or Canadian reference books.  Anyone interested
in the topic can look up the use of "should" as a modal verb and see
what is common usage.

My compliments to the authors of the man page for their clear and
concise use of English. My complements to Polytropan for spotting the
fact that "should" was being used as a modal verb, even if he didn't
call it that. My compliments to Warren Block for submitting the PR.  I
believe that's my cue to exit the thread.

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