What are Modal Verbs? Modal verbs are special verbs whichbehave very differently from normal verbs.
Modal VerbsHere are some important differences: 1. Modal verbs do not take "-s" in the thirdperson.Examples:He can speak Chinese.She should be here by 9:00.
Modal Verbs 2. You use "not" to make modal verbsnegative, even in Simple Present andSimple Past.Examples:He should not be late.They might not come to theparty.
Modal Verbs 3. Many modal verbs cannot be used inthe past tenses or the future tenses.Examples:He will can go with us. Not CorrectShe musted study very hard. NotCorrect
Common Modal VerbsCanCouldMayMightMustShallShouldWillWould
Can"Can" is one of the most commonlyused modal verbs in English. It can beused to express ability or opportunity, torequest or offer permission, and toshow possibility or impossibility.
Examples:1. I can ride a horse. ability2. We can stay with my brother when weare in Paris. opportunity3. She cannot stay out after 10 PM.permission4. Can you hand me the stapler? request5. Any child can grow up to be president.possibility
Can - general abilityI can speak Chinese.PresentPast I could speak Chinese when Iwas a kid.Future I will be able to speakChinese by the time I finishmy course.- negativeformcan’t speakChinese.couldn’t speak ChinesewhenI was a kid.I won’t be able to speakChinese by the time I finishmy course.
Can - permissionI can drive Susans car whenshe is out of town.PresentPast I was allowed to drive Susanscar while she was out of townlast week.Future I can drive Susans car whileshe is out of town next week.I cant drive Susans car whenshe is out of town.I wasnt allowed to drive Susanscar while she was out of town lastweek.I cant drive Susans car whileshe is out of town next week.- negativeform
can - requestCan I have a glass of water?PresentPast Can you give me a lift toschool?Future Requests usually refer to thenear future.Cant I have a glass of water?Cant you give me a lift toschool?- negativeform
Have To"Have to" is used to express certainty,necessity, and obligation.Examples:This answer has to be correct. certaintyThe soup has to be stirred continuouslyto prevent burning. necessityThey have to leave early. obligation
Have To - certaintyThat has to be Jerry. Theysaid he was tall with brightred hair.PresentPast That has to have been theright restaurant. There were noother restaurants on the street.Future NoneThat must not be Jerry. Theysaid he has blond hair, not redhair.That must not have been theright restaurant. I guess therewas another one around theresomewhere.- negativeform
have to - necessityShe has to read four booksfor this literature class.PresentPast She had to finish the first bookbefore the midterm.Future She will have to finish the otherbooks before the final exam.She doesnt have to read"Grapes of Wrath." Its optionalreading for extra credit.She didnt have to write acritique of "The Scarlet Letter."She had to give a presentationto her class.- negativeformShe wont have to take anyother literature classes. AmericanLiterature 101 is the onlyrequired course.
REMEMBER: "Do not have to" vs. "Mustnot""Do not have to" suggests thatsomeone is not required to dosomething."Must not" suggests that you areprohibited from doing something.Examples:You must not eat that. It is forbidden, it isnot allowed.You dont have to eat that. You can ifyou want to, but it is not necessary.
Must"Must" is most commonly used toexpress certainty. It can also be used toexpress necessity or strongrecommendation, although nativespeakers prefer the more flexible form"have to."Examples:You must not eat that. It is forbidden, it isnot allowed.You dont have to eat that. You can if
Must This must be the right address!certainty Students must pass an entranceexamination to study at this school.necessity You must take some medicine for thatcough. strong recommendation Jenny, you must not play in the street!prohibition
must - certaintyThat must be Jerry. Theysaid he was tall with brightred hair.PresentPast That must have been the rightrestaurant. There are no otherrestaurants on this street.Future NO FUTURE FORMThat must not be Jerry. He issupposed to have red hair.That must not have been theright restaurant. I guess thereis another one around heresomewhere.- negativeform
must not - prohibitionYou must not swim in that river.Its full of crocodiles.PresentPast You must not forget to take yourmalaria medication while your arein the tropics.Future- negativeformProhibition usually refer to thenear future.
muststrong recommendationYou must take some time off andget some rest.PresentPast You should have taken some timeoff last week to get some rest.Future- negativeformYou should take some time offnext week to get some rest.You mustnt drink so much. Itsnot good for your health.You shouldnt have drunk somuch. That caused the accident.You shouldnt drink at the party.You are going to be the designateddriver.
must - necessityYou must have a permit to enterthe national park.PresentPast We had to have a permit to enterthe park.Future- negativeformWe must get a permit to enterthe park next week.We dont have to get a permit toenter the national park.We didnt have to get a permit toenter the national park.We wont have to get a permit toenter the national park.
CanAbility to do sth. in the present (substitute form: to beable to)- I can speak English.Permission to do sth in the present (substitute form: tobe 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.
Could- Ability to do sth. in the past (substitute form: to beable to)I could speak English.- Permission to do sth. in the past (substitute form: tobe allowed to)I could go to the cinema.- Polite questionCould I go to the cinema, please?- Polite requestCould you wait a moment, please?
Could- Polite offerI could lend you my car till tomorrow. - PolitesuggestionCould we visit Grandma at the weekend?- PossibilityIt could get very hot in Montana.
MayPossibilityIt may rain today.Permission to do sth. in the present (substitute form: tobe allowed to)May I go to the cinema?Polite suggestionMay I help you?MightPossibility (less possible than may)It might rain today.Hesitant offerMight I help you?
Must- force, necessityI must go to the supermarket today.- possibilityYou must be tired.- advice, recommendationYou must see the new film with Brad Pitt.
must not/may notprohibitionYou mustnt work on dads computer.You may not work on dads computer.Need notnot necessaryI neednt go to the supermarket, were going tothe restaurant tonight.
ought toUse Examples adviceYou ought to drive carefully in bad weather.obligationYou ought to switch off the light when youleave the room.Shall - instead of will in the 1st personsuggestionShall I carry your bag?.
shouldadviceYou should drive carefully in bad weather.obligationYou should switch off the light when you leavethe room.
willwish, request, demand, order (less polite thanwould)Will you please shut the door?prediction, assumption –I think it will rain on Friday.promise - I will stop smoking.spontaneous decision - Can somebody drive me tothe station? - I will.habits - Shes strange, shell sit for hours withouttalking.
Would- wish, request (more polite than will)Would you shut the door, please?- habits in the pastSometimes he would bring me some flowers.