English grammar questions, answered by Alan

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Post by gerseyli » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:59 am

I was reading James Joyce's ' The Dead' when I came across the following sentence:
"He waited outside the drawing-room door until the waltz should finish<...>"
My question is why is there 'should' ? Why not just write " until the waltz finished" ?
Hope you help me with this problem!

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Re: Should

Post by Alan » Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:52 am

It is a rather literary option deriving from an old subjunctive construction. It contains a slight suggestion that the future event in question (here the finishing of the waltz) might not occur.