Unit 4 Grammar Modals: May Might Can Could Andrea Baeza Alba Martínez de Vega 1ºD
-Ability • Canexpressesability in thepresent • Couldexpresses general ability in thepast Example: • He`slucky he canrememberfactsveryeasily • When I was a child I couldspeakWelshbutnowI`veforgottenitcompletly.
Totalkaboutanachievementorsomethingthatwas done withdifficulty, wedo notusedcould We can use was/wereableto, managedto+ infinitiveorsucceded in + verb -ing.Example:Onholiday, theysucceded in holding a conversationwith a vocabulary of just 50 words.
-Permission • Can isoftenusedtoexpresspermission and cannot/can´tisoftenusedtoexpressprohibition in thepresent and in general time. • EX: In the UK, childrencannotleaveschooluntilthe are 16. (prohibition) • Could and couldn´tare usedtoexpresspermission and prohibitionin thepast • EX: In the 1950s, children in the UK couldleaveschool at 14. (permission)
Mayissometimesusedtoexpresspermission and prohibitionin thepresent. - Itis more formal and politethan can. • EX: Membersmaynotwear jeans or T-shirts at formal ceremonies.
Requests, suggestions and politeorders • Can and Couldare bothusedtomakeoffers and requests and togivepoliteorders and sugestions. • CAN itis informal • COULDitis neutral • Example Can/could i helpyouwiththat? (order) Can/couldyou test me onthesewords?(request)
Might issometimesusedtorequestpermissionverypolitelybutisusuallyusedonly in highly formal situations. • Example- Migh I beallowedtogiveanopiniononthismatter?
Possibilty and probability • May, might and could are usedtospeculateaboutthepossibility of events and situations in thepresent and future. • Example Theycould decide totakethetrain(possible) Shemaygethereon time ifshecatchesthelatertrain (possible)
May, might and could + have + pastparticiple are usedtospeculateaboutevents and situations in thepast. ExampleThey are late. Themayhavebeenheld up in therushhourtraffic. • May, might and could + have + pastparticipleare usedtotalkaboutpossibilities in thepastthatweknowdidn´tactuallyhappen. Example Didn´tused a map? Youmighthavegotlost (Butyoudidn´t)
Cannot/ can`tisusedtoexpressnegativecertaintyaboutthepresentbasedonevidence. Example: Thisbillcan´tberight. We`veonlyhadtwocoffees! • Cannot/can`t + have + pastparticipleisusedtoexpressnegativecertaintyaboutthepastbasedonevidence. Example: Thisdoesn`t taste like pizza. Shecan´thavefollowedtherecipe.
Can and could are usedtotalkabouttheoreticalpossibility. Couldindicateslessconfidencethan can. ExampleTheshoool can take 1.000 pupilsbutitwouldbedifficult in terms of space. • May, might and could + be+ verb -ingare usedtospeculateaboutevents and situations in theimmediatepresent in thefuture Example Where´s Sam? He mightbestudying in hisroom.
Exercises Could • _____ you please pass me that book? • When he was young he _____ dance all night long. • _____ you speak Chinese? • You ______ at least come with us and meet our new neighbor . • She ______ drive but she takes de bus to go to work. Could Can Might Can
may may • Nowadays people ______ travel very easily all over Europe. • You _____ not speak during this exam. • You ______ smoke on the bus! • I ______ go to the party, but I’m not sure yet. • You ______ leave now if you wish. • I don’t know yet but I ______come with you after all. • In that country citizens ______ now make suggestions openly, it is a new democracy. Can`t Might may might Can