Modal verbs (may, must / mustn't,
should / shouldn't, needn't)
Look at the meanings of the verbs below.
It is forbidden to move the computers.
You must not move the computers.
Anyone who takes part in a swimming competition may use these lockers.
Anyone who takes part in a swimming competition is allowed/permitted to
use these lockers.
People who work here must leave by 5 p.m.
It is necessary/essential that people who work here leave by 5 p.m.
Swimmers from visiting teams needn't pay to use lockers.
It isn't necessary for swimmers from visiting teams to pay to use lockers.
Chris should phone Sam.
Chris is advised to phone Sam.
Complete the second sentence so that it means the
same as the first. Use one of the verbs below.
may must mustn't should shouldn't needn't should
0 I advise you to catch the early train.
• You should catch the early train.
1 It is essential to check in your luggage an hour before your flight.
• You must check in your luggage an hour before your flight.
2 Smoking is forbidden in the youth hostel.
• You mustn’t smoke in the youth hostel.
3 It isn't necessary to take your own towel to that swimming pool.
• You needn’t take your own towel to that swimming pool.
4 Customers are advised to check their change before leaving the shop.
• You should check your change before leaving the shop.
5 Visitors are permitted to use the school canteen.
• Visitors may use the school canteen.
6 Students are advised not to leave all their revision until the day before the
• Students shouldn’t leave all their revision until the day before the exam.
Match each modal verb (1-7) with one meaning
A) Obligation and Permission: must/needn’t/should/may and can
1 You may... A It is possible (for you) to ...
2 You mustn't ... B You are advised to ...
C It is necessary/essential (for you) to ...
3 You must ...
D You are advised not to ...
4 You needn't... E It is forbidden/You are not allowed to ...
5 You should ... F You are allowed/permitted to ...
6 You shouldn't... G It isn't necessary to ...
7 You can ...
Complete the second sentence so that it means the
same as the first, using each verb in the box once only.
needn't can should mustn't must shouldn't may
1 It is possible for students to borrow four library books during the holidays.
Students ______________ borrow four library books during the holidays.
2 Parents are advised not to let young children climb on this.
• Parents_______________ let young children climb on this.
3 It isn't necessary to book tickets for the cinema.
You ________________ book tickets for the cinema.
4 Students are not allowed to eat in the study centre.
• Students _____________ eat in the study centre.
5 You are permitted to take one piece of hand luggage onto the plane.
You ______________ take one piece of hand luggage onto the plane.
6 It is essential for all visitors to leave their name at reception.
• All visitors _____________leave their name at reception.
7 Customers are advised to book early so they are not disappointed.
Customers __________ book early so they are not disappointed.
• On a piece of paper write two rules for your
school. Use You must and You mustn't ....
You must be in your classroom by 7.30
You mustn't run in the school.
• Read your rules to the class.
How many different rules are there?
Do you agree with them? Are they good rules?
• Are there any rules in your school that you
would like to change? Why?
Requests and offers
Which of these are requests (R) and which
are offers (O)?
Could you get me a new toothbrush? R
Shall I book it then? O
Would you check to see if there's any post for me? R
I can book the hotel for us this afternoon. O
Why don't I help you? O
Can you help me find them? R
Will you post this letter for me?
Look at the previous requests. Which are more polite?
Rewrite these requests making
them more polite.
1 Will you lend me your camera?
Would you lend me your camera?
2 Can you help me do the shopping?
Could you help me do the shopping?
3 Will you get me a stamp?
Would you get me a stamp?
4 Can you give me a lift home?
Could you give me a lift home?
What would you say in the
• You want your father to drive you to college.
Can you drive me to college, please?
• You want a friend to open a window.
Can you open the window?
• A friend has several bags to carry. You want to carry one for him.
Why don’t I carry one of your bags?
• You want your brother to turn his music down.
Will you turn your music down?
• You want to help your mother cook dinner.
Shall I help you cook dinner?
• You want your teacher to give you more time to do your homework.
Could I have some more time to do my homework?
Advice and suggestions
Read these sentences. Underline the words we use to give advice or
• You must go to Rome.
• You should go to the mountains too.
• You could go to the lakes too.
Put the expressions you've underlined in the correct place below.
very strong not strong
You must You could
You ought to
If I were you, I'd ...
Give these people some advice using one of the
0 Your friend wants to take her grandmother out
on her birthday. Give him advice on where to go.
If I were you I’d take her to a restaurant.
1 Your friend's sister has had a baby. He wants to
buy the baby a present. Give him advice.
You could buy some clothes.
2 Your friend is coming to your country on holiday.
Give her advice on what to bring.
You should bring a sunhat.
3 Your cousin wants to try an exciting sport. Give him
If I were you, I’d go surfing.
4 Your friend is babysitting a four-year-old on Saturday.
Give her advice on what to do.
You ought to take her to the park.
5 Your mother wants to buy a new mobile phone. Give her
advice on what kind to get.
You shouldn’t buy the most expensive one.
6 Your friend wants to buy some new trainers. Give him
advice on which shop to go to and what kind to get.
If I were you, I’d go to a sports shop.
7 Your friend wants to see a good film. Give her advice on
which film to see.
You must see the new Harry Potter film.
Think of a situation like those in the previous exercise.
Work in groups. Ask for and give advice.
If I were you, I'd look at the
adverts in the newspaper.