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MODAL VERBS

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by

Norbert Fuste

on 20 April 2015

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Transcript of MODAL VERBS

MODAL VERBS
COMMON FEATURES
OTHER USES
THEY ARE ALWAYS FOLLOWED BY THE INFINITIVE WITHOUT "TO".
THEY ARE THE SAME FOR ALL THE PRONOUNS.
THEY DO NOT NEED AUXILIARIES. THEY TAKE DIRECT NEGATIVE AND QUESTION FORMS.
THEY NEVER COMBINE WITH ANOTHER MODAL VERB.
CAN Can I open the window?
MAY May I sit down, please?
PERMISSION
CAN I can go in two directions.
BE ABLE TO You will be able to find a seat at the theater tonight.
COULD I could go shopping today instead of tomorrow.
MAY / MIGHT I might be late because of the traffic during rush hour.
POSSIBILITY
NEED TO I need to slow down on this road
HAVE TO You have to learn to take control of the car
MUST (
strong necessity
) You must stop for at least two seconds at a stop sign
OBLIGATION / NECESSITY
CAN'T
REQUEST
CAN Can you drop me off at work?
COULD (polite request) Could you stop at the traffic light?
MAY (polite request) May I tell him the secret?
WILL Will you sign this for me?
WOULD (formal request) Would you please turn right?
SUGGESTION
COULD You could take Dad to the shop
SHALL Shall we dance?
ABILITY
CAN
Jack can drive a car
BE ABLE TO
Jim is able to fix my washing machine
COULD (past ability)
She could use this camera when she was five years old
LACK OF OBLIGATION / NECESSITY
NEEDN'T You needn't order a pizza for dinner. I have some hamburgers in the fridge.
DON'T HAVE TO He doesn't have to pick me up. I can go alone.
PROHIBITION
MUSTN'T You mustn't text while driving
CAN'T You can't drive so fast on this motorway. Look at the speed limit!
INABILITY
CAN'T
She can't speak Chinese
DISBELIEF / DEDUCTION
ADVICE / OPINION
SHOULD
OUGHT TO
STRONG BELIEF
MUST
OFFER
WOULD
BE ABLE TO
HAVE TO
NEED TO
THEY DO NOT SHARE THESE CHARACTERISTICS
• Can I go to the bathroom? (asking for permission)
• May I go to the bathroom? (more politely asking for permission)
• Could I go to the bathroom? (asking for permission with less certainty)
• Might I go to the bathroom? (asking for permission with uncertainty)
PERMISSION.
Different degrees and types
SUGGESTION.
Subtle differences
• You could listen to me. (suggestion)
• You might listen to me. (uncertain suggestion)
• You should listen to me. (strong suggestion)
• You must listen to me. (stronger suggestion)
• You will listen to me. (strongest suggestion)
SHOULD
OUGHT TO

NEED TO
HAVE TO

MUST
- obligation
+ obligation
MODAL PERFECTS
MODAL + HAVE + PAST PARTICIPLE
COULD HAVE
ABILITY
to have done something
but in fact did not.
COULDN'T HAVE
CERTAINTY
that something
didn't happen.
MAY / MIGHT HAVE
A
GUESS
about a past action
MUST HAVE
CERTAINTY or LOGICAL CONCLUSION
about an event in the past.
SHOULD / OUGHT TO HAVE
SHOULDN'T HAVE
CRITICISM or REGRET
after an event.
WOULD HAVE
WILLINGNESS
to have done something
but, in fact,
did not
due to external circumstances.
CONTRAST
MODAL
MODAL PERFECT
A. I
SHOULD
STUDY MORE TO PASS THE TEST.
B. I
SHOULD HAVE
STUDIED MORE TO PASS THE TEST.
In B the speaker has REGRETS about not studying.
A. YOU
NEEDN'T
PICK ME UP AT 9:00.
B. YOU
NEEDN'T HAVE
PICKED ME UP AT 9:00.
In B the speaker hasn't been picked up yet.
MUSTN'T
Never used as a modal perfect
They refer to finished actions which have already happened.
Completed actions in the past.
Full transcript