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Modal Verbs

Basic explanation about use of modal verbs
by

Carlos David Martin Alonso

on 21 November 2013

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Transcript of Modal Verbs

MODAL VERBS photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli A type of auxiliary verb that is
used to indicate modality WHAT IS A
MODAL VERB? Likelihood, ablity,
permission,
obligation etc. MODALITY CAN
COULD MAY MIGHT Degrees of Possibility TYPES OF MODALITY "He can/could go
to school" "He might go
to school" "He may go to school" Lowest possibility Highest possibility The Spectrum:
Degrees of Possibility CAN
COULD MIGHT MAY Stating mere guess Less than 50% sure 50% sure Permission
or
Polite Request Polite Request
Use as a QUESTION
e.g."Could I join you?"
Synonomous as "can",
but more polite COULD MAY Permission
Use as QUESTION
e.g. "May I join you?
More polite than "can" Indicates
Ability "Pigs can fly!" CAN What is the difference between
these two questions? FOOD FOR
THOUGHT CAN Permission
Use as a QUESTION
e.g. "Can I join
you?" May I go to the toilet?
Can I go to the toilet? Obligation
or
Promise Necessity
"I must finish my
work by today" MUST
HAVE TO Obligation/Duty
"I should finish
my work today" SHOULD Promise
"I shall finish my
work today" SHALL COULD "I think pigs
could fly" Present Ability Past Ability The Spectrum: Degree of Necessity SHALL SHOULD MUST Have to Maybe OUGHT TO Obligation/Duty
"I ought to finish
my work by today" OUGHT TO Prediction "The world
might/may end
in 2012" MIGHT/MAY SHALL "The world shall end in 2012" WILL "The world
will end in
2012" MAY
MIGHT The Spectrum:
Degree of
Predictability SHALL WILL Highly predicted Uncertain prediction Expressions with a modal meaning be supposed to be able to be allowed to a person is expected to do something Ability have permission to do somethig
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