1

She will not have minded much when Kenneth Clarke, a Tory grandee who is a former home secretary as well as chancellor, was picked up on a microphone this week calling her a “bloody difficult woman”.

[Source: Economist.com]

I understand it basically means that she did not mind it. But why should "will not have minded" be used which as far as I know is future perfect?

  • Please make sure you quote the relevant source and its name when you ask a question next time. I edited your question. – user140086 Jul 10 '16 at 11:01
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Like most modals, "will" has an epistemic meaning as well as its principal one: a meaning which as about the speaker's knowledge rather than about how the world is.

The epistemic meaning of "will" is something like "I conclude", so the given sentence means something like "We presume she didn't mind when... "

The OED, s.v. will, v., meaning 15 d.: " With the notion of futurity obscured or lost: = will prove or turn out to, will be found on inquiry to; may be supposed to, presumably does. "

  • Thank you very much Colin for your informative comment. I have a follow-up question though. If most modals have epistemic meaning, can other modal verbs be used in the same sentence or it would alter the meaning? – Nimitta Jul 10 '16 at 10:46
  • Different modals have different epistemic meanings. – Peter Shor Jul 10 '16 at 11:06
  • Indeed, Peter. If you put "should" or "ought" into that sentence, they would be read as deontic not epistemic. But "could" would be epistemic there, with a similar meaning but a different nuance from "will": it would imply that her reaction was a bit unexpected. – Colin Fine Jul 10 '16 at 11:11

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