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Verbs, time, and modality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216 - 234
Number of pages19
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1977


In the first part of this paper it is argued that Vendler's classification of verbs into aspectual categories, called activities, accomplishments, achievements, and states, is better seen as classifying the meanings of sentences, and a recursive scheme for describing the aspectual character of sentences is presented. In the second part, this scheme is applied to the discussion of the epistemic and deontic meanings of the modal verbs must, will, and may. In particular, the relation between the “future” and “nonfuture” senses of epistemic will is examined.

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