Modals general characteristics- Modals of Ability
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Elias, Acevedo, Ramirez, Acosta Luz

Elias, Acevedo, Ramirez, Acosta Luz

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Modals general characteristics- Modals of Ability Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Grammar I Modal Auxiliaries and related verbs
  • 2.
    • General Characteristics:
    • Verbs like *can
    • *may are called Modal Auxiliaries; though we often refer to them simply as modal verbs or modal.
    • Frequently Uses:
      • Ask for permission
      • Grant permission
      • Give/receive advice
      • Make/respond : requests and offers, etc.
    • Modals have two major functions:
    • 1- Primary : when they closely reflect meanings
      • Ability : can------  I can type really fast.
    • could--  Sara could speak three languages by the age of six.
      • Permission:
    • may--  You may leave early.
    • might  Migth I borrow your jacket?
      • Prediction:
    • will--  It will rain soon.
    • would  I would feel better after this medicine
    • * shall(after I/We)-  Can we find our way home?-I´m sure we shall.
      • Escapable obligation or duty:
    • should-  You should do as you´re told.
    • ought to  You ought to be right.
      • Inescapable obligation
    • must-  You must be quiet!
      • Absence of obligation:
    • needn´t-  You needn´t wait.
  • 3. 2- Secondary :( nine of the modal auxiliaries-not shall- can be used to express the degree of certainty /uncertainty a speaker feels about a possibility:
  • 4.
    • Primary and secondary functions of 'must' compared:
    • Some ways in which modals resemble 'be', 'have', 'do':
    • The Negative :
  • 5.
    • Questions :
    • Yes/No questions are formed as for be have and do.(M + Subj + Predicate) e.g. May we leave early?
    • In question-word questions, the q-w precedes the modal. e.g. When may I leave?
    • With Yes/No question, the m used in the answer is normally the same as the one used in the question.
    • e.g. Can you come and see me tomorrow? - Yes I can 'No, I can't.
    • Negatives questions :
    • As with be,have and do, the full form of the negative q with M. requires `not´ after the subj e.g.Can you not help me?<This is FORMAL and RARE>So, contracted forms are normally used e.g. Can´t you help me?
    • Shouldn´t you ...? Is usually prefered to Oughtn´t you to....?perhaps because the latter is more difficult to pronounce.
    • Some ways in which modals differ from be, have and do
    • ´Defective Verbs´
    • `1)M cannot be used as infinitives. If we ever need an infinitive, we have to use another verb:
    • e.g. If you wanto to apply for this job, you have to be able to type at least sixty words a minute.
    • 2) We do not use a to-infinitive after M . Only the bare infinitive can be used after modals(EXCEPT ought which is ALWAYS FOLLOWED by to )
    • e.g. You mustn´t/mus´t phone him this evening.......not ^to phone^
    • 3)M . have no –ing. form. Instead of- ing we have to use another verb or verb phrase
    • e.g. I couldn´t go/I wasn´t able to go home by bus, so I took a taxi.
    • 4)M . Have no –(e)s in the 3rd person sing
    • e.g. The boss can see you now.
    • 5) Each of the M. has a basic meaning of its own
    • Only one M can be used in a single verb phrase: e.g.
    • -We may call the doctor.
    • -We must call the doctor ------------------------- but not may and must together
  • 6.
    • M.Auxiliaries compared with future tenses:
    • Uses of M compared with verb tenses:
    • The labels we use to describe the verb tenses( pres, progr, past, perf) cannot easily be applied to M
    • <Present> All M can refer to the immediate pres or the fut, therefore pres is not always a reliable label.
    • eg. I can/may phone now. I can/may phone tomorrow.
    • <Progresive> There is no prog form for M. But we can put the verb that follows the M into the pregressive form
    • eg. Alan is singing in public. ( present prog)
    • Alan may be singing in public. (m + be + verb-ing)
    • Alan may have been singing in public. (m + have been + -ing)
    • <Past>Woud ,could, might, should--  can be called `past´ when are used in indirect speech
    • eg. John says you could/might/would leave early.
    • Migth can have a past reference in historical narrative, however might usually expresses more uncertainty than may.
    • Could sometimes expresses ability in the past:
    • eg. Tania could(or was able to) swim five miles when she was a child .
  • 7.
    • *Couldn´t and wasn´t able to: are usually interchangeable
    • Other main use of could; as a more polite alternative to can in requests.eg. Could you help me, please?
    • *Would and should have special uses ,but would expresses the past in:
    • When we were young we would spend our holidays in Bs.As.
    • *Must can express past time only in inderict speech, otherwise it has to be replaced by have to, etc
    • eg. Alice asked her boss if she must work or ( had to work ) overtime.
    • <Perfect and Past>
    • Forms with M + have + past part or with
    • M + have been + progressive -------------are not necessarily the equivalent of the present perfect.
    • The M refers to the present while have+ past participle refers to the pas…..So, depending on the context,
    • You must have seen him can mean:
    • I assume (now) you have seen him (bef now; equivalent of the pres perf)
    • I assume (now) you saw him (then equivalent to the past)
    • I assume (now) you had seem him( before then, equivalent to the past perfect)
    • Uses of Modals to express ability:
  • 8.
    • ` Can´= ability : the present
    • 1)` Can + verb (natural ability)
    • eg. Can you run 1500 metres in 5 minutes? (= Are you able to run? Are you capable of running)
    • I can/cannot/can´t run 1500 metres…..
    • Can and (am/is/are) able to are generally interchangeable to describe natural ability.though able to is less common
    • Jack is only nine months old and he can already stand up.
    • Jack is only nine months old and he is already able to astand up.
    • *Able to* would be unusual when we are commenting on something that is happening at the time of speaking:
    • eg. Look! I can stand on my hands!
    • 2)` Can ´ + verb (learned ability or ´know-how´)
    • eg. Can you drive a car? (=Do you know to ? Have you learnt how to?)
    • Verbs such as drive,play,speak,undrstand -  indicate skills or learned abilities. Can, and to a lesser extent, am/are/is able to, often combine with such verbs and may generally be used in the same way as the simple present tense:
    • eg. I can/can´t play chess( I play/don´t play chess).
    • ´Could/Couldn´t = ability: the past
    • Past ability (natural and learned) expressed with could
    • Could/couldn´t or was/ were (not) able to----  can decribe natural and learned ability in the past, not related to any specific event:
    • eg.
    • Jim could/couldn´t run very fast when he was a boy.
    • Barbara could/ couldn´t sing very well when she was younger.
    • Jim was able to/ was unable to run fast when he was a boy
  • 9.
    • Another often use to talk about or describe past abilities: used to - be able to
    • eg. I used to be able to hold my breath for one minute under water.
    • * Could and was ( or would be) able to occur after reporting verbs:
    • eg. He said he could see me next week.
    • 2) The past: could + verb: achievement after effort
    • Could and was/were aable to can be interchangeable when we refer to acquisition of a skill after effort:
    • I tried again and found I could swim/ was able to swim.
    • *Could cannot normally be used when we are describing the successful completion of a specific action
    • Was/were able to, managed to or succededed in + -ing must be used instead.-
    • eg. In the end they  were able to rescue  the cat on the roof.
    • “ “ “ “  managed to rescue  “ “ “ “ “ .
    • “ “ “ “  succeeded in rescuing  “ “ “ “ “ .
    • If an action was not successfully completed, we can use couldn´t.
    • eg. They tried for hours, but they couldn´t save the cat.
    • (or weren´t able to, didn´t manage to, etc.)
    • *Could can be used when we are asking about a specific action ( as opposed to describing it ):
    • Could they rescue the cat on the roof?( did they manage to? )
    • -No, they couldn´t .It was too difficult.
    • However an affirmative response requires an alternative to could:
    • -Yes, they managed to. (Not ´could´)
  • 10.
    • ´ Can/could´ + verbs of perception:
    • Verbs like see, hear, smell, rarely occur in the progressive. Can and to a lesser extent, am/is/are able to, combine with such verbs to indicate that we can see, hear, smell,etc something happening at the moment of speaking. In such cases can has a grammatical function equivalent to the simple present in statements and to do/does in questions and negatives.
    • eg. I can smell something burning
    • I can´t see anyone.
    • *Could can be used in place of the simple past in the same way:
    • eg. I listened carefully, but couldn´t hear anything.
    • *Can/could can be used with verbs suggesting “ understanding” :
    • I can/can´t understand why he decided to retire at 50.
    • I could/couldn´t “ “ “ had decided to retire at 50.
    • *Couldn´t/Can´t cannot be replaced by the simple present or simple past when conveying the idea ´beyond (my)control´
    • I can´t /couldn´t imagine what would be like to live in a hot climate .( Not * don´t/didn´t*)
    • ´ Could´ and ´would be able to´ :
    • We can use can as an unreal past in the sense of ´would be able to´. When we do this, an if-clause is something implied:
    • Could + never has the sense of `would never be able to´ eg. I could never put up with such inefficiency if I were running an office.
    • Could is often used to express surprise,anger, etc, in the present: I could eat my hat. I could slap your face!
  • 11.
    • ´ Could have´ and ´would have been able to´:
    • We don´t use can/can´t have + past participle to express ability or capacity. We use them for possibility or conjecture( He can´t have told you anything I don´t already know)
    • However, in conditional sentences and implied conditionals we may use could have+past participle ( in place of would have been able to) to refer to ability or capacity that was not used owing to personal failure or lack of opportunity
    • If I hadn´t been for the freezing wind and blinding snow, the rescue party could have reached the injured man before nightfall.
    • Ability in tenses other than present and past
    • If we need to express abilitty in other tense combinations ( future or present perf, then the appropiate forms of be able to, manage to or succeeded in must be used:
    • I´ll be able toto pass my driving test after I´ve had a few lessons.
    •  I´ve been trying to contact him, but I haven´t managed to.
    • *Can referring to ability,skill, or perception, is usable in clauses after if and when to refer to the future:
    • If you can pass ( or are able to pass )your driving test at the first attempt, I´ll be very surprised.
    • Expressing ability with ´can´ and ´could´in the passive:
    • Passive constructions with can and could, indicating ability, are possible where the senses allows:
    • This car can only be driven by a midget.
    • The lecture couldn´t be understood by anyone present.
    • The injured men could have been reached if heavy equipment had been available during the rescue operation.
  • 12.
    • Can/ could = capability/ possibility:
    • Can + be+ adject. or noun  has the effect of ´is sometimes´or ´is often´and refers to capability or possibility. It can be replace by be capable of + -ing , but not by am/are/is able to:
    • -It can be quite cold in Cairo in January.
    • (=It was sometimes-or often-quite cold)
    • -He can be very naughty.
    • *Could has the same effect in the past:
    • -It could be quite cold in Cairo in January when I lived there.
    • (= It was sometimes –or often-quite cold.)
    • -He could be very naughty when he was a little boy.
    • *Could can also have a future reference in this kind of context:
    • It could be quite cold when you get to Cairo.
  • 13.
    • Grammar practice:
    • 1)Five of these sentences have mistakes.Find and correct the mistakes and then tick the other sentences.
    • My mother could speak chinese when she was young.
    • Where you able to go to the bank at lunchtime?
    • I don´t be able to see you today.
    • Can you finish the report by Friday?
    • I couldn´t get the tickets for the concert.
    • We don´t can afford to buy a new car.
    • Will you be able to come to the party?
    • Can you be able to help me with this exercise?
    • 2)Decide whether you can use could and was/were able to in these sentences. I f you can only use was able to , cross out could . If you can use both, put a tick:
    • a)I *was able to/could *get to the bank just before it colsed.
    • b)He *was able to/ could* speak several languages by the time he was twelve.
    • c)They *were able to/could* get the tickets for the concert on Friday.
    • d)She *was able to/could* find out how to pronounce memorise by looking it up in a dictionary.
    • e)We *were able to/ could* meet our friends for a coffee on the last day of our holidays.
    • f)You *were able to/ could* read at least a year before you started school.
  • 14.
    • Bibliografia:
    • Longman -English Grammar by
    • L. G. Alexander.
    • Longman-Going for Gold, Intermediate by Sally Burgess with Richard Acklam and Araminta Crace.
    • Profesora: Graciela Tutuy
    • Año: 2009