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UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO
BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI
ALISON VARELA
March 17th
, 2014
Modal Verbs
Here's a list of the modal verbs in English:
Can could may might will would must shall should ought to
Modal Verbs are different from normal verbs:
1: They don't use a’s’ for the third person singular.
2: They make questions by inversion ('she can go' becomes 'can she go?').
3: They are followed directly by the infinitive of another verb (without 'to').
Probability:
First, they can be used when we want to say how sure we are that something
happened / is happening / will happen. We often call these 'modals of
deduction' or 'speculation' or 'certainty' or 'probability'.
For example:
It's snowing, so it must be very cold outside.
Ability
We use 'can' and 'could' to talk about a skill or ability.
For example:
She can speak six languages.
Obligation and Advice
We can use verbs such as 'must' or 'should' to say when something is
necessary or unnecessary, or to give advice.
UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO
BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI
ALISON VARELA
For example:
Children must do their homework.
Permission
We can use verbs such as 'can', 'could' and 'may' to ask for and give
permission. We also use modal verbs to say something is not allowed.
For example:
Could I leave early today, please?
Habits
We can use 'will' and 'would' to talk about habits or things we usually do, or did
in the past.
For example:
When I lived in Italy, we would often eat in the restaurant next to my flat.
I CAN PLAY GUITAR!
March 18th
, 2014
UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO
BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI
ALISON VARELA
Can
Can is an auxiliary verb, a modal auxiliary verb. We use can to:
 talk about possibility and ability
 make requests
 ask for or give permission
 Structure of Can
 subject + can + main verb
The main verb is always the bare infinitive (infinitive without "to").
subject auxiliary verb main verb
+ I can play tennis.
- He cannot play tennis.
can't
? Can you play tennis?
Use of Can
Possibility and Ability
We use can to talk about what is possible, what we are able or free to do:
 She can drive a car.
 John can speak Spanish.
Normally, we use can for the present. But it is possible to use can when we
make present decisions about future ability.
UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO
BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI
ALISON VARELA
Can you help me with my homework? (present)
Sorry. I'm busy today. But I can help you tomorrow. (future)
Requests and Orders
We often use can in a question to ask somebody to do something. This is not a
real question - we do not really want to know if the person is able to do
something, we want them to do it! The use of can in this way is informal (mainly
between friends and family):
 Can you make a cup of coffee, please.
 Can you put the TV on.
We sometimes use can to ask or give permission for something:
 Can I smoke in this room?
 You can't smoke here, but you can smoke in the garden.
(Note that the use of can for permission is informal.)
March 19 th
, 2014
UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO
BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI
ALISON VARELA
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CAN AND BE ABLE TO
Both can and be able to can be used to talk about ability. In some cases they
are interchangeable.
Using can
Can is used in the present tense. It is used to talk about our ability to do things.
Examples
 I can swim.
 She can speak English well.
 I can swim across that stream.
Be able to is also possible in these cases; however, it sounds a bit more formal
here.
 I am able to knit. (Less natural than ‘I can knit.’)
 She is able to speak English well.
To talk about our past ability, we use could. Was/were able to is also possible.
Study the examples given below.
UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO
BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI
ALISON VARELA
 She could read when she was three. OR She was able to read when she
was three.
Again, in spoken English, we are less likely to use was able to.
As you can see in all of these sentences, we were talking about general ability.
Things that we can or we could do at any time in the present or in the past.
To talk about things that we managed to do on specific occasions in the past,
we cannot use could. Instead, we use was/were able to. The verb managed,
succeeded (in…ing) are also possible in this case.
 I was able to get some really good bargains in the sale. (NOT I could get
some really good bargains in the sale.)
 After climbing for several hours, we managed to get to the top of the
mountain. OR After climbing for several hours, we were able to get to the
top of the mountain. (NOT … we could get to the top of the mountain.)
Both could and be able to can be used to say that we were not capable of doing
something on a specific occasion.
 In spite of climbing for hours, we couldn’t get to the top of the mountain.
OR In spite of climbing for hours, we weren’t able to get to the top of the
mountain.
UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO
BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI
ALISON VARELA
March 20th
, 2014
"Could"
Most modal verbs behave quite irregularly in the past and the future. Study the chart below to
learn how "could" behaves in different contexts.
Modal Use Positive Forms
1. = Present 2. = Past 3.
= Future
Negative Forms
1. = Present 2. =
Past 3. = Future
You
can
also
use:
could
POSSIBILITY
1. John could be the one
who stole the money.2.
John could have been the
one who stole the money.
3. John could go to jail
for stealing the money.
1. Mary couldn't be the
one who stole the
money.2. Mary couldn't
have been the one who
stole the money.
3. Mary couldn't
possibly go to jail for
the crime.
might,
may
could
CONDITIONAL
OF CAN
1. If I had more time, I
could travel around
the world.2. If I had had
more time, I could have
traveled around the world.
3. If I had more time
this winter, I could travel
around the world.
1. Even if I had more
time, I couldn't travel
around the world.2.
Even if I had had more
time, I couldn't have
traveled around the
world.
3. Even if I had more
time this winter, I
UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO
BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI
ALISON VARELA
couldn't travel around
the world.
could
SUGGESTION
1. NO PRESENT FORM2.
You could have spent
your vacation in Hawaii.
3. You could spend your
vacation in Hawaii.
NO NEGATIVE
FORMS
could
PAST ABILITY
I could run ten miles in my
twenties.I could
speak Chinese when I was
a kid.
"COULD" CANNOT BE USED IN
POSITIVE SENTENCES IN WHICH
YOU DESCRIBE
A MOMENTARY OR ONE-TIME
ABILITY.
Yesterday, I could lift
the couch by myself. Not
Correct
I couldn't run more than
a mile in my twenties.I
couldn't speak Swahili.
"COULD" CAN BE USED IN
NEGATIVE SENTENCES IN
WHICH YOU DESCRIBE A
MOMENTARY OR ONE-TIME
ABILITY.
Yesterday, I couldn't lift
the couch by
myself. Correct
be
able to
could
POLITE
REQUEST
Could I have something to
drink?Could I borrow your
stapler?
REQUESTS USUALLY REFER TO
THE NEAR FUTURE.
Couldn't he come with
us?Couldn't you help
me with this for just a
second?
REQUESTS USUALLY REFER
TO THE NEAR FUTURE.
can,
may,
might
REMEMBER: "Could not" vs. "Might not"
"Could not" suggests that it is impossible for something to happen. "Might not"
suggests you do not know if something happens.
Examples:
 Jack might not have the key. MAYBE HE DOES NOT HAVE THE KEY.
 Jack could not have the key. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE THAT HE HAS THE KEY.
You can see more here :
https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=1934598544725048344#editor/target=post;postID=5355403944962413541;onPublis
hedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=43;src=postname
March 26th
, 2014
UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO
BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI
ALISON VARELA
Be able to
Although we look at be able to here, it is not a modal verb. It is simply the
verb be plus an adjective (able) followed by the infinitive. We look at be able
to here because we sometimes use it instead of can and could.
We use be able to:
 to talk about ability
Structure of Be able to
The structure of be able to is:
subject + be + able + infinitive
subject
be
main verb
able
adjective infinitive
+ I am able to drive.
- She
is not
able to drive.
isn't
? Are you able to drive?
Notice that be able to is possible in all tenses, for example:
UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO
BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI
ALISON VARELA
 I was able to drive...
 I will be able to drive...
 I have been able to drive...
Notice too that be able to has an infinitive form:
 I would like to be able to speak Chinese.
Use of Be able to
Be able to is not a modal auxiliary verb. We include it here for convenience,
because it is often used like "can" and "could", which are modal auxiliary verbs.
BE ABLE TO: ABILITY
We use be able to to express ability. "Able" is an adjective meaning: having the
power, skill or means to do something. If we say "I am able to swim", it is like
saying "I can swim". We sometimes use "be able to" instead of "can" or "could"
for ability. "Be able to" is possible in all tenses - but "can" is possible only in the
present and "could" is possible only in the past for ability. In addition, "can" and
"could" have no infinitive form. So we use "be able to" when we want to use
other tenses or the infinitive. Look at these examples:
 I have been able to swim since I was five. (present perfect)
 You will be able to speak perfect English very soon. (future simple)
 I would like to be able to fly an airplane. (infinitive)
You can see more here:
http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verbs-modals_can_3.htm
YOU´LL FIND SOME EXERCISES AND VIDEOS ON THE BLOG ABOUT
EVERY THING: CLICK ON THE PAGES AND ENJOY IT.

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March

  • 1. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI ALISON VARELA March 17th , 2014 Modal Verbs Here's a list of the modal verbs in English: Can could may might will would must shall should ought to Modal Verbs are different from normal verbs: 1: They don't use a’s’ for the third person singular. 2: They make questions by inversion ('she can go' becomes 'can she go?'). 3: They are followed directly by the infinitive of another verb (without 'to'). Probability: First, they can be used when we want to say how sure we are that something happened / is happening / will happen. We often call these 'modals of deduction' or 'speculation' or 'certainty' or 'probability'. For example: It's snowing, so it must be very cold outside. Ability We use 'can' and 'could' to talk about a skill or ability. For example: She can speak six languages. Obligation and Advice We can use verbs such as 'must' or 'should' to say when something is necessary or unnecessary, or to give advice.
  • 2. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI ALISON VARELA For example: Children must do their homework. Permission We can use verbs such as 'can', 'could' and 'may' to ask for and give permission. We also use modal verbs to say something is not allowed. For example: Could I leave early today, please? Habits We can use 'will' and 'would' to talk about habits or things we usually do, or did in the past. For example: When I lived in Italy, we would often eat in the restaurant next to my flat. I CAN PLAY GUITAR! March 18th , 2014
  • 3. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI ALISON VARELA Can Can is an auxiliary verb, a modal auxiliary verb. We use can to:  talk about possibility and ability  make requests  ask for or give permission  Structure of Can  subject + can + main verb The main verb is always the bare infinitive (infinitive without "to"). subject auxiliary verb main verb + I can play tennis. - He cannot play tennis. can't ? Can you play tennis? Use of Can Possibility and Ability We use can to talk about what is possible, what we are able or free to do:  She can drive a car.  John can speak Spanish. Normally, we use can for the present. But it is possible to use can when we make present decisions about future ability.
  • 4. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI ALISON VARELA Can you help me with my homework? (present) Sorry. I'm busy today. But I can help you tomorrow. (future) Requests and Orders We often use can in a question to ask somebody to do something. This is not a real question - we do not really want to know if the person is able to do something, we want them to do it! The use of can in this way is informal (mainly between friends and family):  Can you make a cup of coffee, please.  Can you put the TV on. We sometimes use can to ask or give permission for something:  Can I smoke in this room?  You can't smoke here, but you can smoke in the garden. (Note that the use of can for permission is informal.) March 19 th , 2014
  • 5. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI ALISON VARELA DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CAN AND BE ABLE TO Both can and be able to can be used to talk about ability. In some cases they are interchangeable. Using can Can is used in the present tense. It is used to talk about our ability to do things. Examples  I can swim.  She can speak English well.  I can swim across that stream. Be able to is also possible in these cases; however, it sounds a bit more formal here.  I am able to knit. (Less natural than ‘I can knit.’)  She is able to speak English well. To talk about our past ability, we use could. Was/were able to is also possible. Study the examples given below.
  • 6. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI ALISON VARELA  She could read when she was three. OR She was able to read when she was three. Again, in spoken English, we are less likely to use was able to. As you can see in all of these sentences, we were talking about general ability. Things that we can or we could do at any time in the present or in the past. To talk about things that we managed to do on specific occasions in the past, we cannot use could. Instead, we use was/were able to. The verb managed, succeeded (in…ing) are also possible in this case.  I was able to get some really good bargains in the sale. (NOT I could get some really good bargains in the sale.)  After climbing for several hours, we managed to get to the top of the mountain. OR After climbing for several hours, we were able to get to the top of the mountain. (NOT … we could get to the top of the mountain.) Both could and be able to can be used to say that we were not capable of doing something on a specific occasion.  In spite of climbing for hours, we couldn’t get to the top of the mountain. OR In spite of climbing for hours, we weren’t able to get to the top of the mountain.
  • 7. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI ALISON VARELA March 20th , 2014 "Could" Most modal verbs behave quite irregularly in the past and the future. Study the chart below to learn how "could" behaves in different contexts. Modal Use Positive Forms 1. = Present 2. = Past 3. = Future Negative Forms 1. = Present 2. = Past 3. = Future You can also use: could POSSIBILITY 1. John could be the one who stole the money.2. John could have been the one who stole the money. 3. John could go to jail for stealing the money. 1. Mary couldn't be the one who stole the money.2. Mary couldn't have been the one who stole the money. 3. Mary couldn't possibly go to jail for the crime. might, may could CONDITIONAL OF CAN 1. If I had more time, I could travel around the world.2. If I had had more time, I could have traveled around the world. 3. If I had more time this winter, I could travel around the world. 1. Even if I had more time, I couldn't travel around the world.2. Even if I had had more time, I couldn't have traveled around the world. 3. Even if I had more time this winter, I
  • 8. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI ALISON VARELA couldn't travel around the world. could SUGGESTION 1. NO PRESENT FORM2. You could have spent your vacation in Hawaii. 3. You could spend your vacation in Hawaii. NO NEGATIVE FORMS could PAST ABILITY I could run ten miles in my twenties.I could speak Chinese when I was a kid. "COULD" CANNOT BE USED IN POSITIVE SENTENCES IN WHICH YOU DESCRIBE A MOMENTARY OR ONE-TIME ABILITY. Yesterday, I could lift the couch by myself. Not Correct I couldn't run more than a mile in my twenties.I couldn't speak Swahili. "COULD" CAN BE USED IN NEGATIVE SENTENCES IN WHICH YOU DESCRIBE A MOMENTARY OR ONE-TIME ABILITY. Yesterday, I couldn't lift the couch by myself. Correct be able to could POLITE REQUEST Could I have something to drink?Could I borrow your stapler? REQUESTS USUALLY REFER TO THE NEAR FUTURE. Couldn't he come with us?Couldn't you help me with this for just a second? REQUESTS USUALLY REFER TO THE NEAR FUTURE. can, may, might REMEMBER: "Could not" vs. "Might not" "Could not" suggests that it is impossible for something to happen. "Might not" suggests you do not know if something happens. Examples:  Jack might not have the key. MAYBE HE DOES NOT HAVE THE KEY.  Jack could not have the key. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE THAT HE HAS THE KEY. You can see more here : https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=1934598544725048344#editor/target=post;postID=5355403944962413541;onPublis hedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=43;src=postname March 26th , 2014
  • 9. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI ALISON VARELA Be able to Although we look at be able to here, it is not a modal verb. It is simply the verb be plus an adjective (able) followed by the infinitive. We look at be able to here because we sometimes use it instead of can and could. We use be able to:  to talk about ability Structure of Be able to The structure of be able to is: subject + be + able + infinitive subject be main verb able adjective infinitive + I am able to drive. - She is not able to drive. isn't ? Are you able to drive? Notice that be able to is possible in all tenses, for example:
  • 10. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CHIMBORAZO BLOG OF GRAMMAR VI ALISON VARELA  I was able to drive...  I will be able to drive...  I have been able to drive... Notice too that be able to has an infinitive form:  I would like to be able to speak Chinese. Use of Be able to Be able to is not a modal auxiliary verb. We include it here for convenience, because it is often used like "can" and "could", which are modal auxiliary verbs. BE ABLE TO: ABILITY We use be able to to express ability. "Able" is an adjective meaning: having the power, skill or means to do something. If we say "I am able to swim", it is like saying "I can swim". We sometimes use "be able to" instead of "can" or "could" for ability. "Be able to" is possible in all tenses - but "can" is possible only in the present and "could" is possible only in the past for ability. In addition, "can" and "could" have no infinitive form. So we use "be able to" when we want to use other tenses or the infinitive. Look at these examples:  I have been able to swim since I was five. (present perfect)  You will be able to speak perfect English very soon. (future simple)  I would like to be able to fly an airplane. (infinitive) You can see more here: http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verbs-modals_can_3.htm YOU´LL FIND SOME EXERCISES AND VIDEOS ON THE BLOG ABOUT EVERY THING: CLICK ON THE PAGES AND ENJOY IT.