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Evolutionary Syntax

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Academic Paper

Title: 'Will': tense or modal or both?
Author: Raphael Salkie
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Brighton
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Most grammarians refuse to treat 'will' as a marker of future tense in English. We examine the arguments against treating 'will' as a tense and find them weak; the arguments in favour of treating it as a modal also turn out to be poor. We argue that 'will' should be treated as a marker of future tense, and that its so-called modal uses are either not modal or have independent explanations. The one exception is the volitional use of 'will': to account for this, we propose that willingness is a semantic relic from an earlier meaning of the word.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 14, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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