0

I know modal verbs like want, can, should etc. However, Which is the better way to ask with these verbs? I use 'Do you can?', 'Do you should' etc. Are there better way to ask with modal verbs and ask a request?

  • Those are incorrect. "Can" and "should" are auxiliaries. They do not require "do" in front of them. It should be "Can you...?" and "Should you...?". "Want", however, is not an auxiliary. Therefore, it requires and auxiliary ("do") for interrogation and negation: "Do you want..." – MorganFR Aug 17 '16 at 12:48
  • Oh ok! Can I say "Want you" too? – Mattew Aug 17 '16 at 12:48
  • No, you cannot, as per my second point, "want" is not an auxiliary verb and therefore requires an auxiliary in front of it for negation and interrogation. – MorganFR Aug 17 '16 at 12:51
3

Want is not a modal verb but a catenating ('chaining') lexical verb. In questions it requires "do support" to provide a leading auxiliary which can invert with the subject:

You want to do it this way → Do you want to do it this way?

Modal verbs are never employed with auxiliary do because they are 'defective': they have no infinitive form which can act as the complement of do (or any other auxiliary. That's why a modal verb must always be the first auxiliary in a verb phrase.

And because modal verbs are always auxiliaries and always head the verb phrase, they invert with the subject in questions, like other leading auxiliaries:

Can you answer this question?
Should he come tomorrow?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.