Lost in conjugation

Do you remember your modals?
My English students at Dongsuh Foods told me they learned in their Korean high schools that “could”, “would” and “might” have the same meaning in English.

dongsuh foods--makers of powdered creamer coffee and oreo cookies

I let it go at the time, grateful we had understanding on “should” and “will”.

Then Nu ri asks me last night, isn’t “shall” the future tense of “should”?
That’s what she learned in high school.

Hyo Jung, my Friday night Toyota student, echoed this and added,
“‘might’ is the future tense of ‘may’ right?”


This makes me wonder if our Korean teachers adjust any grammar for our non-native brains.

The Korean grammar for “have to” is explained as inclusive of “should” as well. My students use “have to” in English often. I thought they were emphatic, but maybe there is no “should” equivalent in Korean.

For the record, “shall” is not the future tense of “should”.
You want to fight about it? Let’s go.

Also learned in Korea this week—

Election day
Is a national holiday.

Next Wednesday, businesses are closed, and my Toyota students won’t be learning English, because Koreans have the day off to vote. Fascinating.

If November 2 was an American holiday, would more citizens vote?


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