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I am beginning to find that I have a gross lack in the understanding of the English language. I was trying to explain the use of "may not/dare not/need not" to my ESL student (I'm volunteering with Literacy Volunteers of America) and I ran across an example that stumped me. I was stating that "dare not" should be used if you were afraid or scared of a situation (e.g. "I dare not call that bouncer a pr*** because he is big and strong and could smash my head" or "I dare not cross the street without looking both ways") but one of the practice sentences included:

"I'm afraid I _______ get the contract after all."

The answer here is "may not" but my explanation (of being scared/afraid) doesn't work with this sentence. (Though I did mention "possibility/permission" should be connected with the phrase "may not" - it is just that my definition of "dare not" doesn't fit well with this example.)

Any ideas how to better explain the use?

Also, does anyone have a suggestion for a good, *technical* grammar book?


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