Keywords: modality, epistemic words, probability scale, confidence, uncertainty


The article deals with the concepts of modality and the way it influences utterances in a fictional discourse. The confidence / uncertainty of the utterances with epistemic modal verbs (must, have to / have got to, might, may, could, should, ought to, would, will) was analyzed and ranked on the probability scale of Renooij S. and Witteman C. It was found that must, have to, modified with epistemic words will and would and hypothetic will belong to “probable” (85%) part of the scale, should, ought to, and hypothetic would belong to “fifty-fifty” (50%) part of the scale, might, may, could belong to “uncertain” (25%) part of the scale, might not, may not, could not, would not, should not belong to “improbable” (15%) part of the scale, can’t, will not belong to “impossible” (0%) part of the scale.The article also analyzed modality strength and degree of modal verbs and direction of uncertainty of utterances with modal verbs. An important point discovered in the research is that other epistemic words that co-occur with epistemic modal verbs influence their direction of uncertainty, strength and degree of modality. The influence of epistemic words on modal verbs with a strong deontic component and futurality component was studied. The article also studies the structural composition of utterances with different modal verbs. It’s discovered that should, ought to, could are often followed by existential propositions and may, could are followed by contradictory propositions.


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How to Cite
Nizhnik, L., & Galaidin, A. (2021). MODAL VERBS TO EXPRESS CONFIDENCE / UNCERTAINTY. Scientific Journal of Polonia University, 40(3), 49-59.

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