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Modal Auxiliaries . Chapter three . Modal Auxiliaries . They are (can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will, and would) They don’t use normal verb tense endings. They create special meaning. Their meanings change according to the context. .

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modal auxiliaries

Modal Auxiliaries

Chapter three

modal auxiliaries1
Modal Auxiliaries
  • They are (can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will, and would)
  • They don’t use normal verb tense endings.
  • They create special meaning.
  • Their meanings change according to the context.
requesting actions would could will can
Requesting actions: would, could, will, can
  • Could/would (used in formal and informal situations.

-would you please help me with the luggage?

  • Could you print my homework, please?
  • Will/can (are informal)

-hey Sara! Can you help me?

requesting permission may could can
Requesting Permission: may, could, can
  • May is formal:

May I sit here?

Could: (formal and informal). Not normally used in answers:

Could I use your pen? Yes, you can.

Can: informal

Can I take this chair? Yes, you can.


May I sit here?

  • Of course.
  • Certainly
  • Sure
  • I’m sorry but ………..
  • Okay. No problem.
  • Sorry. No way.
expressing abilities can could be able to
Expressing abilities: can/could/ be able to
  • Can: present

Most people can get a credit card.

Why can’t Ali work?

  • Could: past

I couldn’t hear what she said.

  • Be able to: present/past/ future

-Our company is able to ship products worldwide.

  • Ali wasn’t able to find a job.
  • Will I be able to speak English perfectly?
expressing expectations should ought to
Expressing expectations: should/ought to

They train should be here at 9:00.

Ought to seldom occurs in questions or negative statements: (often in speech)

You ought to find a job as soon as possible.

expressing preferences would like would rather
Expressing preferences: would like/ would rather
  • Would like: expresses desires for things that haven’t happened yet.
  • I’d like to visit New York city.
  • I wouldn’t like to live there.
  • Would rather: expresses preferences or choices
  • I would rather get a job than borrow money.
  • He would rather not take history.
giving advice ought to should had better
Giving advice: ought to, should, had better
  • should/ought to:

-you should not be absent.

-you ought to attend class regularly.

  • Had better: stronger, doesn’t appear in affirmative questions.
  • you’d better hurry or you will be late.
  • You’d better not stay here.
  • Hadn’t you better hurry?
expressing need or obligation must have to
Expressing need or obligation: must, have to
  • Must:

-you must have a driving license in order to drive.

  • Must not: prohibition
  • You must not drive without a license.
  • have to: present and future:
  • You have to take a written test.
  • You will have to talk to the manager to see the file.
  • Had to: past

- I had to take the test yesterday because it was my last chance.

lack of need not have to
Lack of need: not have to
  • Not have to is the opposite of must and have to:
  • You don’t have to take the test if you don’t want to.
  • I didn’t have to study hard to pass.
  • I won’t have to study late tonight.
expressing possibility may might could
Expressing possibility: may, might ,could
  • May, might, could mean (maybe, perhaps, or it’s possible:
  • He may come tonight.

-May: never appears in questions about possibilities.

-Might: rarely appears in questions.

-Could: appears less often.

expressing impossibility or disbelief can t couldn t
Expressing impossibility or disbelief: can’t, couldn’t

These modals show surprise and shock:

It can’t be five o’clock!

  • That couldn’t be Sara! She’s out of town.
expressing probability must
Expressing probability: Must

John walks five miles a day. He must enjoy walking.

He must not have enough money to ride the bus.