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Modal Verbs


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MODAL VERBS do not add –s to the 3rd person singular in the Present Simple. MODAL VERBS do not usually have past forms but can be used with Perfect Infinitives to talk about the past MODAL VERBS are followed by bare infinitive (TO) MODAL VERBS haven’t got –ing forms Since they are auxiliary verbs, the do not need any other auxiliary


How can we express obligation and advice? MUST It expresses an obligation that comes from the speaker’s opinion. It is associated with a formal written style

MUSTN’T means PROHIBITION (=can´t)

HAVE TO

SHOULD

It expresses an obligation that is based on the authority of another person or on laws. It appears more often than must. It is a semi-modal DON’T HAVE TO means LACK OF OBLIGATION (=don’t need to)

Together with OUGHT TO, they both express advice.

In the past, they both use HAD TO


How can we express ability? CAN It refers to a present general ability

COULD

BE ABLE TO

It refers to a past ability

BE ABLE TO lets us express ability in any tense.

Note the difference between them in the past It refers to a GENERAL past ability or PARTICULAR OCCASION when followed by see, hear, taste, feel, smell, understand, remember and guess

It refers to a PARTICULAR OCCASION


How can we express possibility? MUST

If you are totally sure

CAN

MAY

MIGHT

If there are some possiblities

COULD

CAN’T

If it is impossilbe


How can we express other ideas? REQUESTS

CAN CAN--COULD COULD(polite) (polite)--MAY MAY(polite) (polite) -WOULD WOULD(formal) (formal)

OFFERS

SHALL SHALL––WILL WILL––WOULD WOULD

SUGGESTION

CAN CAN––COULD COULD(polite) (polite)


How else can we express a modality? BE TO Obligation [You are to stay here at 4] BE ALLOWED TO Permission [You are allowed to miss the lesson] BE BOUND TO Certain future deduction [He is bound to come] BE LIKELY TO Possibility [You are likely to pass the exam] HAD BETTER Advice [You’d better study more] WOULD RATHER Preferences [I’d rather have a coffee ]

USED TO Past habits [I used to be a good child] OUGHT TO Giving & asking for advice [You ought to study more] DARE Nerve [I daren’t say the truth] NEED Obligation [Need I go?] NEEDN’T Lack of obligation [You needn’t come] Not NEED TO Lack of obligation [You don’t need to come]


PERFECT MODALS MODAL VERBS don’t usually have a PAST FORM. However, they are sometimes followed by the PERFECT INFINITIVE to talk about the past

MUST MUST/ /MIGHT MIGHT/ / MAY MAY COULD COULD/ / COULDN’T COULDN’T SHOULD SHOULD/ / SHOULDN’T SHOULDN’T

It must be the milkman (Someone is knocking on the door) It must have been the milkman (The bottles are there but there is nobody at the door) I could go out when I was 15 I could have gone out, but I didn’t want to You should go to the doctor (now) You should have gone to the doctor (Now it is too late)


Modal Verbs