Modal verbs
of
possibility
can will shall may must
could would should might -
It can rain a lot
in Rome in November.
It can rain a lot
in Rome in November.
sometimes
it rains a lot
He can arrive
very late.
He can arrive
very late.
sometimes
he arrives
very late
compare:
It may rain this evening.
It may rain this evening.
it’s possible
that it’ll rain
He may arrive late.
He may arrive late.
it’s possible
that he’ll
arrive late
It can rain a lot
in Rome in November.
It may rain this evening.
It can rain a lot
in Rome in November.
It may rain this evening.
present
repeated
possibility
It can rain a lot
in Rome in November.
It may rain this evening.
future
one-time
possibility
N.B.
requests /
permission
possibility
can Can I have… ? It can rain…
may May I have… ? It may rain…
requests /
permission
possibility
can Can I have… ? It can rain…
may May I have… ? It may rain…
can = may can ≠ may
may / might / could
It
may
might
could
rain later.
It
may
might
could
not rain later.
It
may
might
could
not rain later.
don’t use ‘could’
in negatives
meaning
‘maybe not’
contrast with the indicative
It can rain a lot
in Rome in November.
It rains a lot
in India in July.
It can rain a lot
in Rome in November.
It rains a lot
in India in July.
sometimes
always
It can rain a lot
in Rome in November.
It rains a lot
in India in July.
It can rain a lot
in Rome in November.
It’s raining a lot
this month.
It can rain a lot
in Rome in November.
It’s raining a lot
this month.
sometimes
this time
It can rain a lot
in Rome in November.
It’s raining a lot
this month.
I may play tennis
with John later.
I’m going to play tennis
with John later.
I may play tennis
with John later.
I’m going to play tennis
with John later.
it’s possible
it’s my
intention
I may play tennis
with John later.
I’m going to play tennis
with John later.
We may watch the
match this evening.
Perhaps / maybe we’ll watch
the match this evening.
it’s possible
-modal-
it’s possible
-adverb-
We may watch the
match this evening.
Perhaps / maybe we’ll watch
the match this evening.
these sentences express
‘possibility’
convert them to modal sentences
using
may and might
the meaning is always ‘possibili...
indicative etc modal may / might
It’s possible that he has a car. He may ...
He probably doesn’t understand. He …
Perhaps ...
indicative etc modal may / might
It’s possible that he has a car. He may have a car.
He probably doesn’t understand. He mi...
introduce or remove ‘possibility’
in these sentences
convert indicatives to modal
sentences and modals to
indicatives.
indicative etc modal may / might
I’m going to buy a phone. I might buy a new phone.
He needs … He might need some help.
Sh...
indicative etc modal may / might
I’m going to buy a phone. I might buy a new phone.
He needs some help. He might need some...
module 6, part 22
www.davidnicholson.it
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Modal verbs of possibility

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Modal verbs of possibility.

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Modal verbs of possibility

  1. 1. Modal verbs of possibility
  2. 2. can will shall may must could would should might -
  3. 3. It can rain a lot in Rome in November.
  4. 4. It can rain a lot in Rome in November. sometimes it rains a lot
  5. 5. He can arrive very late.
  6. 6. He can arrive very late. sometimes he arrives very late
  7. 7. compare:
  8. 8. It may rain this evening.
  9. 9. It may rain this evening. it’s possible that it’ll rain
  10. 10. He may arrive late.
  11. 11. He may arrive late. it’s possible that he’ll arrive late
  12. 12. It can rain a lot in Rome in November. It may rain this evening.
  13. 13. It can rain a lot in Rome in November. It may rain this evening. present repeated possibility
  14. 14. It can rain a lot in Rome in November. It may rain this evening. future one-time possibility
  15. 15. N.B.
  16. 16. requests / permission possibility can Can I have… ? It can rain… may May I have… ? It may rain…
  17. 17. requests / permission possibility can Can I have… ? It can rain… may May I have… ? It may rain… can = may can ≠ may
  18. 18. may / might / could
  19. 19. It may might could rain later.
  20. 20. It may might could not rain later.
  21. 21. It may might could not rain later. don’t use ‘could’ in negatives meaning ‘maybe not’
  22. 22. contrast with the indicative
  23. 23. It can rain a lot in Rome in November. It rains a lot in India in July.
  24. 24. It can rain a lot in Rome in November. It rains a lot in India in July. sometimes
  25. 25. always It can rain a lot in Rome in November. It rains a lot in India in July.
  26. 26. It can rain a lot in Rome in November. It’s raining a lot this month.
  27. 27. It can rain a lot in Rome in November. It’s raining a lot this month. sometimes
  28. 28. this time It can rain a lot in Rome in November. It’s raining a lot this month.
  29. 29. I may play tennis with John later. I’m going to play tennis with John later.
  30. 30. I may play tennis with John later. I’m going to play tennis with John later. it’s possible
  31. 31. it’s my intention I may play tennis with John later. I’m going to play tennis with John later.
  32. 32. We may watch the match this evening. Perhaps / maybe we’ll watch the match this evening. it’s possible -modal-
  33. 33. it’s possible -adverb- We may watch the match this evening. Perhaps / maybe we’ll watch the match this evening.
  34. 34. these sentences express ‘possibility’ convert them to modal sentences using may and might the meaning is always ‘possibility’
  35. 35. indicative etc modal may / might It’s possible that he has a car. He may ... He probably doesn’t understand. He … Perhaps she wants to dance. Maybe they are asleep. Perhaps he can’t see us. It’ll probably be a nice day. It probably won’t be a nice day. Perhaps it won’t happen. Maybe she loves him. Maybe they’re at home.
  36. 36. indicative etc modal may / might It’s possible that he has a car. He may have a car. He probably doesn’t understand. He might not understand. Perhaps she wants to dance. She may want to dance. Maybe they are asleep. They might be asleep. Perhaps he can’t see us. He may not be able to see us. It’ll probably be a nice day. It might be a nice day. It probably won’t be a nice day. It may not be a nice day. Perhaps it won’t happen. It might not happen. Maybe she loves him. She may love him. Maybe they’re at home. They may be at home.
  37. 37. introduce or remove ‘possibility’ in these sentences convert indicatives to modal sentences and modals to indicatives.
  38. 38. indicative etc modal may / might I’m going to buy a phone. I might buy a new phone. He needs … He might need some help. She doesn’t want to study. She … We might be able to pass the exam. It isn’t going to rain. She may be angry! They are hungry. I might have a pen you can borrow. He certainly knows the answer. She may like to go shopping.
  39. 39. indicative etc modal may / might I’m going to buy a phone. I might buy a new phone. He needs some help. He might need some help. She doesn’t want to study. She may not want to study. We are able to pass the exam. We might be able to pass the exam. It isn’t going to rain. It might not rain. She will be angry! She may be angry! They are hungry. They may be hungry. I have a pen you can borrow. I might have a pen you can borrow. He certainly knows the answer. He might know the answer. She wants to go shopping. She may like to go shopping.
  40. 40. module 6, part 22
  41. 41. www.davidnicholson.it

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