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Modal Auxiliaries
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Modal Auxiliaries


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  • 1. Modal Auxiliaries Prof. Rinkerman
  • 2. Modal Auxiliaries
    • Modals don’t have an –s , - ed , or ing ending.
      • He can drive ( NOT: He cans drive )
    • Don’t use an infinitive with modals
      • He can go. (NOT: He can to go)
    • To form the negative, put NOT after the modal
      • He should not go.
  • 3. Some Examples
    • We can play football.
    • We could play football.
    • We may play football.
    • We might play football.
    • We must play football.
    • We mustn't play football.
    • We ought to play football.
    • We shall play football.
    • We should play football.
    • We will play football.
    • We would play football.
  • 4. Negatives
    • Positive negative
    • long form short form long form short form
    • Can -- cannot can't
    • Could -- could not couldn't
    • May -- may not --
    • Might -- might not mightn't
    • ought to -- ought not to oughtn't to
    • should ‘d should not shouldn't
    • Will 'll will not won't
    • Would 'd would not wouldn't
  • 5. CAN
    •   Use Examples
    • ability to do something
    • In the present (to be able to) I can speak English.
    • permission to do something
    • In the present (to be allowed to) Can I go to the cinema?
    • Request Can you wait a moment, please?
    • offer I can lend you my car till tomorrow.
    • Suggestion Can we visit Grandma at the weekend?
    • Possibility It can get very hot in Arizona.
  • 6. COULD
    •   Use Examples
    • ability to do something
    • In the PAST (to be able to) I could walk when I was two.
    • Permission to do something
    • In the Past (to be allowed to) I could go to the movies when I
    • I was a teenager.
    • polite question Could I go to the cinema, please?
    • polite request Could you wait a moment, please?
    • polite offer I could lend you my car till tomorrow.
    • polite suggestion Could we visit Grandma at the weekend?
    • possibility It could get very hot in Montana.
  • 7. MAY
    • Use Examples
    • Possibility It may rain today.
    • Permission to do sth.
    • in the present
    • (substitute form: to be allowed to) May I go to the cinema?
    • polite suggestion May I help you?
  • 8. MIGHT
    • Possibility It might rain tomorrow
    • (*less possible than MAY)
    • Polite question: (not very common)
    • Might I borrow your pen?
  • 9. SHOULD
    • Advice (it’s good – it’s a good idea / not good to do or bad idea)
    • You should exercise.
    • You shouldn’t smoke.
  • 10. Ought to = should
    • Advice
    • You ought to drive carefully.
    • I ought to study tonight.
  • 11. MUST (HAVE TO)
    • Necessity: must = need to, have to
    • I must go to the supermarket today.
    • I have to go to the supermarket today.
    • Legal terms – You have no choice
    • You must have a valid driver’s license.
    • You have to have a valid driver’s license.
    • Strong Possibility (95% sure)
    • You’ve been driving for 10 hours.
    • You must be tired. (You have to be tired)
  • 12. Must + Not / Mustn’t
    • Prohibition
    • You mustn’t drive without a valid license.
    • You mustn’t drink and drive.
  • 13. Must / Have to
    • Must = have to
    • We must talk about it.
    • We have to talk about it.
    • Mustn’t = don’t have to
    • ( strong obligation (don’t have the need)
    • not to do something)
    • We mustn’t talk about it. (We have a strong obligation NOT to talk about it)
    • We don’t have to talk about it. (There is no need)
  • 14. MUSTN’T versus DON’T HAVE TO
    • We use 'mustn't' to express strong obligations NOT to do something. (You have NO CHOICE)
    • We mustn't talk about it. It's confidential.
    • I mustn't eat chocolate. It's bad for me.
    • You mustn't phone me at work. We aren't allowed personal calls.
    • They mustn't see us talking or they'll suspect something.
    • We use 'don't have to' to state that there is NO obligation or necessity. (You can if you want, but you don’t have to)
    • We don't have to get there on time. The boss is away today.
    • I don't have to listen to this. I'm leaving.
    • You don't have to come if you don't want to.
    • He doesn't have to sign anything if he doesn't want to at this stage.
    • I don’t have to go. Only if I want to.
  • 15. Will
    • Request / Demand / Order (less polite than would)
    • Will you please close the door?
    • Prediction / Assumption
    • I think it will rain on Saturday.
    • Promise
    • I will stop smoking.
    • Spontaneous Decision
    • Can someone give me a ride? I will.
  • 16. Would
    • Wish / Request (more polite than will)
    • Would you close the door, please?