Can "definitely" somehow pair with "will be able to"? For example:

If you go to school, you will definitely be able to meet her.

  • 2
    You can, but "definitely" qualifies "be able to", not "meet her". In other words, you will be in a situation where you can meet her. – Weather Vane Apr 3 at 18:07
  • 1
    @WeatherVane I disagree. "Definitely" modifies the whole verb phrase [be able to meet her]. "Be able" itself is not a constituent in this example. – user373710 Apr 3 at 18:34
  • @Nico in that case, the sentence would be "If you go to school, you will definitely meet her." What is the function of "be able to"? As stated, the sentence means that there is no guarantee, for example the person might be in a different class. – Weather Vane Apr 3 at 18:35
  • 1
    "Be able to" is a (modal) verb which requires a complement and cannot stand alone. Syntactically, your analysis is not correct all the more since adverbs do not "modify", but "specify". – user373710 Apr 3 at 18:40
  • @Nico, it was you who used "modify" – I used "qualify". My interpretation stands though. There is no certainty that there will be any meeting, whether or not you consider it to be a single phrase, since in your version "definitely" applies to "be able to meet her." – Weather Vane Apr 3 at 19:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.