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Modal Verbs


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Introduction to Modal and Semi-modal verbs in English. Intermediate Level.

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Modal Verbs

  1. 1. Modal Verbs Introduction to Simple and Perfect Modal Verbs. Intermediate level.
  2. 2. Ability : CAN / BE ABLE / CAN’T /COULD <ul><li>In the present: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I can drive” / “I can’t speak German”. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>In any tense: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I have been able to open the tin” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>In the past: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I could ride a bike for hours when I was younger” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Request – ask & give permission : CAN /WOULD/ COULD / MAY <ul><li>Informal request </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can you pass me the sugar, please? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Formal request </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Would you send me the documents by email? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Polite request </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Excuse me, Could you tell me the way to the post office, please? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Polite request </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May I have the menu, please? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Give permission: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You can go out if you want. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You may leave the class when the bell rings. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Possibility: CAN/COULD/MAY/MIGHT <ul><li>Probable: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I think we can easily find an agreement </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Less probable: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I am not sure but we could meet one of these days </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They say it may snow in Seville next weekend </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Even less probable: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who knows? She might like your idea </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Offer – Suggestion: SHALL / WOULD / COULD /CAN <ul><li>Offer: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I shall do the activity on the board </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Would you like a cup of coffee? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Suggestion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shall we go to the cinema? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can drink some water if you’re thirsty </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Polite suggestion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You could try and stop smoking </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Obligation-Prohibition: MUST / HAVE TO / MUSTN’T <ul><li>Obligation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You must come to class on weekdays. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I have to study hard to pass this term. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prohibition: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students mustn’t bring mobile phones to school </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Necessity-lack of obligation/necessity: NEED TO/ NEEDN’T/DON’T HAVE TO <ul><li>Necessity: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I need to understand what’s happening to us. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of necessity: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You needn’t give anything in return. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You don’t need to be so nasty </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of obligation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You don’t have to pay for that, it’s free </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Inference: MUST / CAN’T <ul><li>Positive certainty that something is true: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>She must be living in this neighbourhood because I see her everyday at the baker’s. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Negative conclusion or disbelief: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Look! That’s Mary’s car! –No, It can’t be her car, she has recently left the city. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Advice: SHOULD/ OUGHT TO / HAD BETTER <ul><li>Advice, opinion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They should pay more attention to the explanations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You ought to reconsider your decision </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Colloquial speaking: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You’ d better go to the dentist if that toothache continues. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Warnings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You’ d better not touch my Wii. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Modal Perfect <ul><li>Inference for the Past: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>He must have left because the lights are off </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Guess about a past action: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>He may/might have taken the tube if he missed the bus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Regret about something undone in the past: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>He could have said he was sorry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I would have done it if I had had the chance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Criticism after an event: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You should/ought to have woken me up earlier </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An unnecessary past action: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You needn’t have bothered to bring anything for dinner </li></ul></ul>