From: Stevens, Charles C (Charles.Stevens@unisys.com)
Date: Wed Jun 21 2000 - 13:25:40 EDT
One of the aspects of first- and third-person imperatives that ISTM can't
adequately be expressed is the issue of "degree of involvement", for want of
a better phrase.
"Let him <infinitive>" implies, in English, the involvement of the target
audience; this is a "three-entity" construction (the speaker; the audience,
who is being involved by the use of "let"; and the target person who is
supposed to be carrying out <infinitive>).
Likewise, "Let me <infinitive>" invites the audience into the process of
ensuring that the action takes place.
"I must <infinitive>" is an observation, not a command; it also involves the
speaker in two roles, as speaker and as performer of the desired action; it
is inherently reflexive.
ISTM that the "pure" first- and third-person imperative forms would not
contain any implication of that sort of multiple-party or reflexive
involvement. Moreover, would not that be the essence of the semantic
distinction between e.g. AFES + subjunctive and the pure imperative forms in
first and third person, at least when both were in common use?
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