Modal perfect

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Some examples of how to use the modal perfect for speculating and criticising.

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Modal perfect

  1. 1. Modal Perfect
  2. 2. Functions <ul><li>Criticising a past action or decision </li></ul><ul><li>Speculating on a past event </li></ul>
  3. 3. Form <ul><li>Modal verb + have + past participle </li></ul>
  4. 4. Example - criticising <ul><li>Khairul signed the purchase order without approval from the finance department. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Finance should have approved it first.” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Example - speculating <ul><li>The original time for the meeting was 1pm. It was changed at the last minute to 12.30. Siti came late. </li></ul><ul><li>“ She must not have known about the change.” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Criticising <ul><li>should / shouldn’t – advice too late </li></ul><ul><li>could / couldn’t – past possibility / opportunity / risk </li></ul><ul><li>might / might not – past potential </li></ul><ul><li>needn’t – not necessary or not required in the past </li></ul>
  7. 7. Criticising Why did you do it on your own? You could have asked me for help. You were late to work. You shouldn’t have gone out last night. I can’t believe you drove that fast! You might have gotten caught. should / shouldn’t could / couldn’t might / might not needn’t You needn’t have come to the meeting. It was just for the sales team.
  8. 8. Speculating <ul><li>must / mustn’t – very sure of an event </li></ul><ul><li>can’t – past event, impossible </li></ul><ul><li>might / might not – possible event (likely) </li></ul><ul><li>may / may not – possible event (50% or less) </li></ul><ul><li>could / couldn’t – possible event (50/50) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Speculating He looks so tired. He mustn’t have had much sleep last night. I’ve not seen them together for a long time. They might have separated. I saw him in KLCC, so he can’t have been at the meeting. Ng finished the exam in just 20 minutes. He couldn’t have answered all the questions.
  10. 10. Hope you found it useful

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