The Translation of the Main Modal Verbs in the General Provisions of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China

Peize Li


This paper will mainly delve into the meanings and use of main modal verbs including “may”, “shall” and “must” in
legal texts. Among all these three modal verbs, the modal verb “shall” is the emphasis of this article due to its most frequency
of use, the importance of function and the very debatable translation in legal texts. Firstly, the author will introduce the basic
meanings of them and the relevant theories of their translation. Secondly, in order to reveal how they exist in legal texts, the author
will analyze the three modal verbs in the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China in combination
with previous studies, and present examples to illustrate whether the translations are appropriate enough or not. Finally, the author
will give her own opinion on the use and translation of those main modal verbs in legal texts.


Modal verbs; Shall; May; Must; The General Provisions of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18282/l-e.v10i2.2331


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