Future perfect for predictions?

I have seen a discussion regarding Harry Potter quotes, such as: Voldemort will not have made it easy to discover his hiding place. Which is said in a situation when Voldemort had hidden the thing already (in the past). But I am thinking – if I did not know the context, I could think that … Read more

Words like ‘maybe’, ‘possibly’, ‘might’ ‘likely’

What is the technical term for words that indicate probability? For example: You might mean this, but possibly that instead. And some such words can be tagged on the end, maybe I thought of ‘filler’ to start with, but that’s more like, ‘like’, and um, ‘um’. I’m pretty sure there is one, but it’s gone … Read more

He must regret his decision vs He must be regretting his decision

(1) He must regret his decision. (2) He must be regretting his decision. If you’re sure that "he" regrets his decision, can you say either (1) or (2)? In other words, can (2) be interpreted as not having a progressive meaning to it? Answer To answer your last question first, it will always be interpreted … Read more

So, “might have been sleeping” (Modal perfect continuous) corresponds to past continuous, present perfect continuous or past perfect continuous?

“Modal + have + PP” refers to the past But it is quite ambiguous!! What does “the past” mean? Simple Past, Present perfect, Past perfect all refers to the past. So the question is: Does Modal + have + PP” refer to Simple Past, Present perfect, or Past perfect? Similarly, Does Modal + have + … Read more

What is the meaning of “would”, and how to use it?

What is the meaning of would, and which tense is it used in the following sentences? For example, That would be Ram calling. I’ll answer it. (the meaning of would and which tense is used) The guy on the phone had southern accent. That would be Tom. (the meaning of would and which tense is … Read more

Can for future possibility

I’m doing a research on English modality (for reference I’m using F.R. Palmer’s book “Modality and the English Modals”). In the book the author distinguishes between the three kinds of modality: Epistemic modality (for possibility) Deontic (for permission and obligation) Dynamic (subject oriented “modality” i.e. objective potential) To test the practical application of the theoretical … Read more

Could you explain the usage of “would + perfect infinitive” in this example?

— Did you have anything to do with the things that were put on the wall there? — No, that would’ve been Sam. I’ve always seen would’ve been in conditional sentences, as in "If you were smarter, you would’ve bought it". But the usage in my example isn’t part of a conditional sentence, is it? … Read more

Is this a correct usage of “could”?

Sorry if this question is too simple. Someone wrote a sentence in which he used the word "alacrity" and asked whether he used it correctly. A native speaker replied: I have a feeling many people could not define alacrity. Does "could not" sound natural here? I know that "could" can be used when we are … Read more