One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Relating to mode or form as opposed to substance.
- ‘The spokesman said the system was attracting people to public transport: ‘We are seeing quite a lot of modal shift from the car to the tram network.’’
- ‘He told the meeting: ‘It would be unbelievably crass to introduce a system without any other element of modal shift.’’
- ‘That is, a person's income does not vary by mode unless it is defined as net of modal costs.’
- ‘We are determined to achieve further modal shift (from cars to buses) and will continue to develop our services to do this.’
- ‘The objective of integrated public transport is clear - to achieve a high transit modal share with a seamless service using two or more modes.’
- ‘In the jargon of transport planners, there has occurred a substantial modal shift in transportation in these cities.’
Of or denoting the mood of a verb.
- ‘One example of the prevalence of the traditional use of modal notions can be found in the early medieval de dicto/de re analysis of examples such as ‘A standing man can sit’.’
- ‘In contrast to the tense distinctions that characterize English, English-based Creoles are said to make a basic modal distinction between realis and irrealis.’
- ‘Holmes distinguishes two functions of tag questions: modal vs. affective.’
- ‘However, it's crucial that the second part of such a sentence (the apodosis of the conditional) normally also has a modal preterite, often would or could or might, but not will or can or may.’
- 2.1 Relating to a modal verb.
- ‘Here a past modal form - would, could, should, might - is usually called for.’
- ‘Seventy-five Panjabi-speaking pupils were assessed on their expression of the English modal auxiliaries can, could, may, and might.’
- ‘If the modality concerns a past-time situation, the modal as such does not appear in a past-tense form.’
- ‘The modal auxiliaries or modal verbs are can, could, may, might, shall, should, will would, must.’
Relating to a value that occurs most frequently in a given set of data.
- ‘Descriptive statistics such as frequencies and modal categories were then calculated for each variable.’
- ‘The Nardus root systems had a more normally distributed root length diameter class distribution with a modal diameter range between 0.3 mm and 0.6 mm.’
- ‘For both mutations the median and modal values were 25% opaque.’
- ‘These distributions for the variance components imply an a priori distribution of heritability and repeatability with respective modal values of 0.15 and 0.23.’
- ‘In the second microdeletion survey, participants examined from as few as 5 cells to as many as 100, but the modal number of cells examined was 20.’
- ‘However, if the income variable data were skewed, the median or modal value would be more appropriate.’
Of or denoting music using melodies or harmonies based on modes other than the ordinary major and minor scales.
- ‘Its three highly creative pieces use alternating meters, compelling ostinatos, modal harmonies and, above all, unexpected twists and turns as the ‘plot’ of each piece unfolds.’
- ‘You knew how to find just the right dreamlike quality for the music, whose harmonic language is neither tonal, nor modal, nor truly chromatic, but a little of all three at the same time.’
- ‘We find also a fascination with Baroque counterpoint and modal melodies from Gregorian chant to Appalachian folk tunes.’
- ‘How might modern Western instruments be transformed for Arab music, say by retuning the piano for microtonal modal systems?’
- ‘There is a good deal of modal harmony, taken from Scandinavian folk music, which is comforting to the ear but far from anodyne.’
(of a proposition) in which the predicate is affirmed of the subject with some qualification, or which involves the affirmation of possibility, impossibility, necessity, or contingency.
- ‘To see that modal propositional logic is not truth-functional, just consider the following pair of statements.’
- ‘The three most important parts of this definition for quantified modal logic are the clauses for atomic, quantified, and modal formulas.’
- ‘In this connection, I describe certain modal paradoxes and the threats they pose for essentialism.’
- ‘Let the letter ‘M’ represent this operator, and add to the axioms of classical propositional logic the modal axiom M (p v q) iff Mp v Mq.’
- ‘The study of inferences involving modal operators goes back to Aristotle, and was continued in the Middle Ages.’
- ‘His arguments regarding this are presented in which also examines more generally his views on modal logic.’
A modal word or construction.
- ‘These preferences often serve to clarify, but a less deft handling leads to tercets like the following, their force buried under prepositions, pronouns and modals.’
- ‘The other students, English majors all, seemed terrified by the prospect of a semester of moods and modals, subordinate clauses and predicate adjectives.’
- ‘All of these women's raps illustrate that they can do what they are doing, and by this I intend for both readings of the modal ‘can’ to be in effect.’
- ‘Coastal Southern and Upper South are typified by double modals: She might can do it; Could you may go?’
- ‘These complements contain modals and therefore can't be infinitives.’
Mid 16th century (in modal (sense 5 of the adjective)): from medieval Latin modalis, from Latin modus (see mode).
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