User talk:Boson

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Sent by MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 00:11, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

A favor, please[edit]

Hi Boson,

I'm trying to explain the use of shall as opposed to will to modern readers of some 19th century personal letters, and am unsure of this use of "should" – is it correct to say that these are the subjunctive mood?

  • I should have enjoyed some of that cake you write of
  • Tell them I should like to be with them
  • I guess if we were to go to the North Pole now, we should smother to death
  • I am astonished that Mabel Wood should be so far ahead of the field
  • How I should like to see her!

Is the Mabel Wood quote different? Many thanks for any help. Milkunderwood (talk) 23:44, 12 August 2017 (UTC) ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── In the context you are talking about, I think the main point is that (as explained at Shall and will) particularly in older (and/or British?) English, shall and should replace will and would in the first person, so "... if we were to go to the North Pole now, we should smother to death" is "equivalent" to the third-person "... if they were to go to the North Pole now, they would smother to death". The asserted difference (in the second and third person) is that the modal auxiliary will/would expresses futurity, supposition or expectation, whereas the modal auxiliary shall/should expresses intent. In the first person the meanings are reversed. The usual example quoted is "I shall die, for no-one will save me." I would say the Mabel Wood quote is different. I would treat the others in the same way as sentences with would in modern English (in remote, or hypothetical, conditional constructions).

Subjunctive?: It's a bit difficult because in English schools, grammar was often taught in conjunction with other languages (especially Latin), so traditional grammar may use terms less suited to modern English, which uses analytic constructions with modal auxiliaries instead of inflection. This may, of course, be helpful when teaching English as a foreign language. In more inflected languages, the conditional or subjunctive mood would probably be used. I believe some people use the term "conditional mood" for an analytic construction with a similar function that uses a modal auxiliary (would or should). So in "If I were you, I would do it", were is often called the past subjunctive (I prefer irealis) and "would do" might be called the conditional. For your purposes, it may be best to think of "would do" (and "should do" in the first person) as the conditional mood of the verb "do" (but I wouldn't write anything like that in Wikipedia).

Personally, I would not call such use "conditional mood" or "conditional tense"; I would generally prefer to talk of secondary uses of the preterite (simple past form) of modal auxiliaries to express remote modality. "I am astonished that Mabel Wood should be so far ahead of the field" is different, and, to me, less old-fashioned I would put it under "assorted idiomatic uses of should" in subordinate clauses to express weak emotive modality. This probably doesn't help very much. --Boson (talk) 13:42, 14 August 2017 (UTC)

Yes, it does help, and I very much appreciate your taking the time for an extensive discussion. But let me go back to a more basic question, since none of the people I would be addressing will have any idea of your terminology: In standard English grammar, would it be less incorrect to call these uses (other than the Mabel Wood quote) subjunctive or conditional? Those are probably the only two grammatical terms that might be at all vaguely familiar to them. (You can see that I'm confused, myself.) Milkunderwood (talk) 19:55, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
If you really want a term for the verb phrase "would x", I would (reluctantly) go for conditional for the would/should form, when used together with an if-clause (or when a similar condition is implied). If you call it a subjunctive, you have a problem with sentences like "I guess if we were to go to the North Pole now, we should smother to death, because the were is called a subjunctive. If you want a term for the would or should by itself, when talking of modern English, I would say mainstream grammarians call would and should the past tense of will and shall, respectively, and use the term "past subjunctive" exclusively for the word were (though you will find some who say that the had in 'if I had... is a past subjunctive that is morphologically indistinguishable from the simple past). If you use the word subjunctive for the verbs in hypothetical conditions, you have to say "past subjunctive" anyway, so people have to get used to the idea that "past tense" doesn't necessarily refer to past time but can refer to something that is "unlikely" or "hypothetical". --Boson (talk) 22:20, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
I think this answers my confusion -- again, I very much appreciate your help. Milkunderwood (talk) 00:19, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

Dear Boson, Thank you so much for editing the John Cabot University page. All the best, Berenice at John Cabot University (talk) 07:35, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

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Sent by MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 17:35, 1 September 2017 (UTC)

Proposed deletion of European Cybercrime Centre[edit]

Ambox warning yellow.svg

The article European Cybercrime Centre has been proposed for deletion because of the following concern:

No reason why this one body of Europol could not be described enough in the main article

While all constructive contributions to Wikipedia are appreciated, pages may be deleted for any of several reasons.

You may prevent the proposed deletion by removing the {{proposed deletion/dated}} notice, but please explain why in your edit summary or on the article's talk page.

Please consider improving the page to address the issues raised. Removing {{proposed deletion/dated}} will stop the proposed deletion process, but other deletion processes exist. In particular, the speedy deletion process can result in deletion without discussion, and articles for deletion allows discussion to reach consensus for deletion.

Hey Boson, I proposed deleting European Cybercrime Centre since I don't think there is any reason to keep an article of one office of Europol while it could certainly be described in the main article with enough coverage. I'm currently rewriting and editing the main article on Europol. Cheers! Shadowdasher (talk) 09:47, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

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