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Friday, 24 May 2013

Modal Auxiliary Verbs

can modal verb ABILITY
1. to be able to
Can you drive?
She can speak four languages.
Can you read that sign from this distance?
The doctors are doing all that they can, but she's still not breathing properly.
Do the best you can - I realize the circumstances are not ideal.
If the party is awful, we can always leave (= that would be one possible solution to our problem) .
"She's really furious about it." "Can you blame her (= I'm not surprised) ?"
can modal verb PERMISSION
3. to be allowed to
Can I use your bike, John?
You can park over there.
You can have a piece of cake after you've eaten your vegetables!
can modal verb PERMISSION
4. informal sometimes used to tell someone angrily to do something
If you carry on being horrible to your sister, Sophie, you can just go to bed!
can modal verb REQUEST
5. used to request something
If you see Adrian, can you tell him I'm in London next weekend?
Can you make a little less noise, please? I'm trying to work.
can modal verb POSSIBILITY
6. used to express possibility
You can get stamps from the local newsagents.
You can get very nasty skin diseases from bathing in dirty water.
Smoking can cause cancer.
Noise can be quite a problem when you're living in a flat.
He can be really annoying at times (= He is sometimes very annoying) .
can modal verb OFFER
7. used in polite offers of help
Can I help you with those bags?
I'm afraid Ms Ferguson has already left the office. Can I be of any help?
cannot modal verb
1. can not; the negative form of the verb 'can'
I cannot predict what will happen next year.
could modal verb PERMISSION
1. used as a more polite form of 'can' when asking for permission
Could I speak to Mr Davis, please?
Excuse me, could I just say something?
could modal verb REQUEST
2. used as a more polite form of 'can' when asking someone to provide something or do something
Could you lend me £5?
Could you possibly turn that music down a little, please?
could modal verb POSSIBILITY
3. used to express possibility, especially slight or uncertain possibility
A lot of crime could be prevented.
She could arrive anytime now.
This new drug could be an important step in the fight against cancer.
Be careful with that stick - it could have gone in my eye!
could modal verb SUGGEST
4. used for making a suggestion
We could go for a drink after work tomorrow, if you like.
You could always call Susie and see if she might babysit.
could modal verb SHOULD
5. used for saying, especially angrily, what you think someone else should do
Well, you could try to look a little more enthusiastic!
I waited ages for you - you could've said that you weren't coming!
have modal verb
may modal verb POSSIBILITY
1. used to express possibility
There may be other problems that we don't know about.
I may see you tomorrow before I leave.
The cause of the accident may never be discovered.
The explosion may have been caused by a faulty electrical connection.
We'd better not interfere - she may not like it.
There may be some evidence to suggest she's guilty, but it's hardly conclusive.
may modal verb PERMISSION
2. slightly formal used to ask or give permission
A reader may borrow up to six books at any one time.
"May I help myself to some more food?" "Yes, of course."
Hi, my name's Tiffany. How may I help you?
may modal verb WISH
3. formal used to introduce a wish or a hope
May you have a long and fruitful marriage.
might modal verb MAY
1. past simple of the verb may , used especially when reporting what someone has said, thought, asked, etc
I brought him some sandwiches because I thought he might be hungry.
Very politely the little boy asked if he might have another piece of cake (= he said "May I have another piece of cake, please?") .
might modal verb POSSIBILITY
2. used to express the possibility that something will happen or be done, or that something is true although not very likely
I might come and visit you in America next year, if I can save enough money.
Don't go any closer - it might be dangerous/it mightn't be safe.
Driving so fast, he might have had a nasty accident (= it could have happened but it did not) .
The rain might have stopped by now.
might modal verb PERMISSION
3. UK formal used as a more polite form of may when asking for permission
Might I ask a question?
I wonder if I might have a quick look at your newspaper?
might modal verb SUGGESTION
4. used to make a suggestion or suggest a possibility in a polite way
You might like to try a little more basil in the sauce next time.
I thought you might like to join me for dinner.
might modal verb SHOULD
5. used to suggest, especially angrily, what someone should do to be pleasant, correct, polite, etc
You might at least try to look like you're enjoying yourself!
"I've asked the boss to dinner tonight." "Well, you might have warned me!"
might modal verb INTRODUCE
6. ( also may ) used to introduce a statement which is very different from the statement you really want to make, in order to compare the two
Leeds might be an excellent team, but today they played appallingly.
must modal verb NECESSARY
1. used to show that it is necessary or very important that something happens in the present or future
Meat must be cooked thoroughly.
I must get some sleep.
You mustn't show this letter to anyone else.
Luggage must not be left unattended (= it is against the rules) .
formal Must you leave so soon?
formal "Must I sign this?" "No, there's no need."
must modal verb NECESSARY
2. If you say that you must do something, you mean that you have a definite intention to do something in the future
I must phone my sister.
We must get someone to fix that wheel.
I mustn't bite my nails.
must modal verb NECESSARY
3. used for emphasis
I must say , you're looking extremely well.
I must admit , I wasn't looking forward to it.
must modal verb NECESSARY
4. If you tell someone else that they must do something pleasant, you are emphasizing that you think it is a good idea for them to do that
You must come and stay with us for the weekend.
We must meet for lunch soon.
must modal verb PROBABLY
5. used to show that something is very likely, probable or certain to be true
Harry's been driving all day - he must be tired.
There's no food left - we must have eaten it all.
When you got lost in the forest you must have been very frightened.
"You must know Frank." "No, I don't."
ought modal verb DUTY
1. used to show when it is necessary or would be a good thing to perform the activity referred to by the following verb
[ + to infinitive ] You ought to be kinder to him.
We ought not/oughtn't to have agreed without knowing what it would cost.
"We ought to be getting ready now." "Yes, I suppose we ought (to) ."
ought modal verb PROBABLE
2. used to express something that you expect will happen
He ought to be home by seven o'clock.
They ought to have arrived at lunchtime but the flight was delayed.
If you show the receipt, there ought not/oughtn't to be any difficulty getting your money back.
shall modal verb FUTURE
1. slightly old-fashioned used instead of 'will' when the subject is 'I' or 'we'
If you do that one more time, I shall be very cross.
I shall never forget you.
Shall we be able to get this finished today, do you think?
I'm afraid I shall not/shan't be able to come to your party.
formal I shall look forward to meeting you next week.
So we'll see you at the weekend, shall we (= is that right) ?
We shall (= intend to) let you know as soon as there's any news.
shall modal verb SUGGEST
2. used, with 'I' or 'we', to make a suggestion
"I'm cold." "Shall I close this window?"
Shall we go out for dinner tonight?
Shall I pick the children up from school today?
shall modal verb CERTAINLY WILL
3. used to say that something certainly will or must happen, or that you are determined that something will happen
Don't worry, I shall be there to meet the train.
formal The school rules state that no child shall be allowed out of the school during the day, unless accompanied by an adult.
You shall go to the ball, Cinderella.
shalt modal verb
should modal verb DUTY
1. used to say or ask what is the correct or best thing to do
If you're annoyed with him, you should tell him.
You should change trains at Peterborough if you're going to Newcastle.
"Should I apologize to him?" "Yes, I think you should."
You should be ashamed of yourselves.
This computer isn't working as it should.
There should be an investigation into the cause of the disaster.
He said that I should see a doctor.
I should have written to her but I haven't had time.
It's very kind of you, but you really shouldn't have bothered.
Where should (= do you suggest that) we meet tonight?
It's rather cold in here. Should I (= Do you want me to) turn the heating on?
should modal verb PROBABLE
2. used to show when something is likely or expected
My dry cleaning should be ready this afternoon.
You should find this guidebook helpful.
I wonder what's happened to Annie. She should be (= It was expected that she would be) here by now.
"Could you have the report ready by Friday?" "Yes, I should think so (= it is likely that it will be ready) ."
"Colleen wants to see us in her office immediately." "This should be good (= This is likely to be interesting or amusing) !"
should modal verb POSSIBILITY
3. formal used when referring to a possible event in the future
If anyone should ask for me, I'll be in the manager's office.
Should you (= If you) ever need anything, please don't hesitate to contact me.
should modal verb POSSIBILITY
4. used after 'that' and adjectives or nouns that show an opinion or feeling
It's odd that she should think I would want to see her again.
It's so unfair that she should have died so young.
should modal verb POSSIBILITY
5. used after 'that' to suggest that a situation possibly exists or might come into existence
We agree that the money should be paid tomorrow.
should modal verb POSSIBILITY
6. formal used after 'so that' and 'in order that' to show purpose
He took his umbrella so that he shouldn't get wet.
should modal verb POSSIBILITY
7. formal used after 'for fear that', 'in case' and 'lest'
He took his umbrella in case it should rain.
should modal verb REASON
8. used after 'why' when giving or asking the reason for something
Why should anyone want to eat something so horrible?
Why shouldn't she buy it if she can afford it?
should modal verb WOULD
9. mainly UK formal used instead of 'would' when the subject is 'I' or 'we'
I should like a whisky before I go to bed.
I shouldn't expect you to pay, of course.
should modal verb SURPRISE
10. used to express surprise in sentences that are in the form of questions
I was just getting off the bus when who should I see but my old school friend Pat!
should modal verb ADVISE
11. UK used after 'I' when giving advice
I shouldn't worry about it if I were you.
I shouldn't (= I advise you not to) let it worry you.
will modal verb FUTURE
1. ( also 'll ) used to talk about what is going to happen in the future, especially things that you are certain about or things that are planned
Clare will be five years old next month.
The train leaves at 8.58, so we'll be in Scotland by lunchtime.
I'll see him tomorrow./I'll be seeing him tomorrow.
Will Susie be there?
It won't be easy to find another secretary.
There'll be trouble when she finds out.
will modal verb ABLE/WILLING
2. ( also 'll ) used to talk about what someone or something is able or willing to do
I'll give you a lift.
Ask Ian if he'll take them.
I've asked her but she won't come.
The car won't start.
This quantity of lasagne will feed six people.
will modal verb REQUEST
3. used to ask someone to do something
Will you give me her address?
Will you give that to Tony when you see him, please?
will modal verb REQUEST
4. ( also 'll ) used as a polite way of inviting someone to do something, or of offering someone something
Will you join us for a drink, Evie?
Will you come in for a while?
You'll have some cake, won't you, Charles?
will modal verb IF
5. ( also 'll ) used in conditional sentences that start with 'if' and use the present tense
If he's late again, I'll be very angry.
I'll wait with Christopher if his mother isn't here when you go.
will modal verb LIKELY
6. ( also 'll ) used to refer to what is likely
That'll be Scott at the door.
That'll be his mother with him.
As you will all probably already know, election day is next week.
will modal verb ORDER
7. ( also 'll ) used when angry to tell someone to do something
Will you stop being such a pain!
You'll go upstairs and you'll go straight to bed like your father told you!
will modal verb ALWAYS
8. ( also 'll ) used when referring to something that always or usually happens
Accidents will happen.
Fruit will keep longer in the fridge.
The product with the better-known brand name will always sell better.
She's 85 now, but she will insist on doing all her own housework.
would modal verb FUTURE
1. ( also 'd ) used to refer to future time from the point of view of the past
He said he would see his brother tomorrow.
They knew there would be trouble unless the report was finished by the next day.
We realised it wouldn't be easy to find another secretary.
would modal verb INTENTION
3. ( also 'd ) used to refer to an intention from the point of view of the past
He said he would always love her (= He said "I will always love you") .
They promised that they would help.
There was nobody left who would (= was willing to) do it.
I asked him to move his car but he said he wouldn't (= he refused) .
would modal verb POSSIBLE
4. ( also 'd ) used to refer to a situation that you can imagine happening
I would hate to miss the show.
I'd go myself but I'm too busy.
It would have been very boring to sit through the whole speech.
would modal verb POSSIBLE
5. ( also 'd ) used with if in conditional sentences (= sentences which refer to what happens if something else happens)
What would you do if you lost your job?
If I'd had time, I would have gone to see Graham.
would modal verb REQUEST
6. ( also 'd ) used as a more polite form of will in requests and offers
Would you mind sharing a room?
Would you like me to come with you?
Would you like some cake?
would modal verb WILLING
7. past simple of will (ABLE/WILLING) : used to talk about what someone was willing to do or what something was able to do
The car wouldn't start this morning.
would modal verb WISH
would modal verb OFTEN
10. ( also 'd ) used to talk about things in the past that happened often or always
He would always turn and wave at the end of the street.
would modal verb OFTEN
11. ( also 'd ) disapproving used to suggest that what happens is expected because it is typical, especially of a person's behaviour
"Margot rang to say she's too busy to come." "She would - she always has an excuse."
would modal verb OPINION
12. ( also 'd ) used to express an opinion in a polite way without being forceful
I would imagine we need to speak to the headteacher about this first.
It's not what we would have expected from a professional service.
would modal verb ADVISE
13. ( also 'd ) should (ADVISE)
I wouldn't (= I advise you not to) worry about it, if I were you.
would modal verb REASON
14. ( also 'd ) should (REASON)
Why would anyone want to eat something so horrible?
would modal verb LIKELY
15. ( also 'd ) used to refer to what is quite likely
"The guy on the phone had an Australian accent." "That would be Tom, I expect."
might modal verb INTRODUCE
6. ( also may ) used to introduce a statement which is very different from the statement you really want to make, in order to compare the two
Leeds might be an excellent team, but today they played appallingly.
will modal verb FUTURE
1. ( also 'll ) used to talk about what is going to happen in the future, especially things that you are certain about or things that are planned
Clare will be five years old next month.
The train leaves at 8.58, so we'll be in Scotland by lunchtime.
I'll see him tomorrow./I'll be seeing him tomorrow.
Will Susie be there?
It won't be easy to find another secretary.
There'll be trouble when she finds out.
will modal verb ABLE/WILLING
2. ( also 'll ) used to talk about what someone or something is able or willing to do
I'll give you a lift.
Ask Ian if he'll take them.
I've asked her but she won't come.
The car won't start.
This quantity of lasagne will feed six people.
will modal verb REQUEST
4. ( also 'll ) used as a polite way of inviting someone to do something, or of offering someone something
Will you join us for a drink, Evie?
Will you come in for a while?
You'll have some cake, won't you, Charles?
will modal verb IF
5. ( also 'll ) used in conditional sentences that start with 'if' and use the present tense
If he's late again, I'll be very angry.
I'll wait with Christopher if his mother isn't here when you go.
will modal verb LIKELY
6. ( also 'll ) used to refer to what is likely
That'll be Scott at the door.
That'll be his mother with him.
As you will all probably already know, election day is next week.
will modal verb ORDER
7. ( also 'll ) used when angry to tell someone to do something
Will you stop being such a pain!
You'll go upstairs and you'll go straight to bed like your father told you!
will modal verb ALWAYS
8. ( also 'll ) used when referring to something that always or usually happens
Accidents will happen.
Fruit will keep longer in the fridge.
The product with the better-known brand name will always sell better.
She's 85 now, but she will insist on doing all her own housework.
would modal verb FUTURE
1. ( also 'd ) used to refer to future time from the point of view of the past
He said he would see his brother tomorrow.
They knew there would be trouble unless the report was finished by the next day.
We realised it wouldn't be easy to find another secretary.
would modal verb INTENTION
3. ( also 'd ) used to refer to an intention from the point of view of the past
He said he would always love her (= He said "I will always love you") .
They promised that they would help.
There was nobody left who would (= was willing to) do it.
I asked him to move his car but he said he wouldn't (= he refused) .
would modal verb POSSIBLE
4. ( also 'd ) used to refer to a situation that you can imagine happening
I would hate to miss the show.
I'd go myself but I'm too busy.
It would have been very boring to sit through the whole speech.
would modal verb POSSIBLE
5. ( also 'd ) used with if in conditional sentences (= sentences which refer to what happens if something else happens)
What would you do if you lost your job?
If I'd had time, I would have gone to see Graham.
would modal verb REQUEST
6. ( also 'd ) used as a more polite form of will in requests and offers
Would you mind sharing a room?
Would you like me to come with you?
Would you like some cake?
would modal verb OFTEN
10. ( also 'd ) used to talk about things in the past that happened often or always
He would always turn and wave at the end of the street.
would modal verb OFTEN
11. ( also 'd ) disapproving used to suggest that what happens is expected because it is typical, especially of a person's behaviour
"Margot rang to say she's too busy to come." "She would - she always has an excuse."
would modal verb OPINION
12. ( also 'd ) used to express an opinion in a polite way without being forceful
I would imagine we need to speak to the headteacher about this first.
It's not what we would have expected from a professional service.
would modal verb ADVISE
13. ( also 'd ) should (ADVISE)
I wouldn't (= I advise you not to) worry about it, if I were you.
would modal verb REASON
14. ( also 'd ) should (REASON)
Why would anyone want to eat something so horrible?
would modal verb LIKELY
15. ( also 'd ) used to refer to what is quite likely
"The guy on the phone had an Australian accent." "That would be Tom, I expect."

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