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Questions tagged [modal-verbs]

Modal auxiliary verbs are a special type of auxiliary verb, used mainly to express ability, likelihood, permission, and obligation. These include 'will', 'would', 'can', 'could', 'shall', 'should', 'may', 'might', 'must', 'ought', 'need', and 'dare'. Please do not use this tag for the non-modal auxiliaries 'be', 'have', or 'do'.

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Usage of Would in Politer Way

Now I'm writing my review of a product, and I'm not sure if I use would, it sounds politer. I've just used the speaker, but I wouldn't say it's the best. If I use “would” here like the above, ...
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“You can be able to…”. vs. “You would/should be able to…”

On many online articles/posts, I've seen writer using the sentence "You can be able to...". Is it because the writer is non-English speaker or that use is grammatically correct? An example would be ...
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“Will” vs “would” for describing something in future

Do will and would both sound right in the given context as an English speaker to you? Communism is an ideological and a socialpolitical movement. Its aim is to set up a communist society. This ...
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Passive infinitive + verb third form

Which kind of stretchers is it. Passive infinitive + verb third form. As it is written here (may have been decimated). May have been is passive infinitive and decimated is verb third form.
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“I wouldn't have said anything”

In Desperate Housewives Season 1 Episode 1, Julie (the daughter) told Susan (the mother) to ask Mike out. Susan said she didn't know if she's ready to start dating. SUSAN: I don't wanna talk to you ...
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Meanings of must have had [closed]

I have to analyse these two sentences: He must have had a business meeting the next morning. He must have had a lot of money because the furniture looked expensive. The verb “must have had” ...
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“I don't think he will leave” vs. “I don't think he would leave”

What is the difference between will and would in the following context? John: Hey Subha, did you know Lionel Messi has got a huge offer from PSG to join them? What do you think about the ...
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Use of “will” in parallel clauses with two subjects following the word “when”

I was wondering if the word "will" needs to be repeated in two dependent clauses with two distinct subjects in the future tense. For example: "There will come a day when wars will cease and peace ...
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Can vs. Will be able to

We use can to talk about future actions which we will be able to do because of present ability, present circumstances, present decisions etc. • She can win the race tomorrow if she tries really ...
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Should I take a look to see if there are?

Should I take a look to see if there are the people who raise dogs ? Q: In the above sentence, can I replace "should" with "would"? thanks in advance!
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Can We Use Modal Verbs Could / would for future events?

Can We Use Modal Verbs for future events? My examples are as follows, Could: Can you tell me how could we recover this amount from him in the next month? Would: Can you tell me would it be ...
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I 'shall/would' be highly obliged if you 'would'

What the difference between two bold sentences is? I am sorry to state that I applied for a new telephone on 05.02.2016. Though more than two years have passed since the application, I have not ...
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May not only take… but also it MAY

In this inversion sentence, do I have to use "may" in the relative clause again? (Assuming you are not sure, that's why you are including "may" in your sentence) "Robbery may not only take ...
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Is there any case you can't switch Could with 'Was able to'?

For the simple past (and also positive) Could, would there possibly be any sentence that you just can't simply replace Could with Was able to or Managed to?
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What does “should” mean in “I should get my assignment finished…”?

I should get my assignment finished this weekend if I have enough time. The modal verb should has at least 7 meanings according to the Cambridge Dictionary. What does should mean in the quoted ...
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would be/ was/ were - differences [duplicate]

1.Around midnight, as we left the previous year behind and moved into the new year, my mom would be busy cooking for the guests. I didn't like crowds so I stayed in the living room watching the telly. ...
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I mean who else it could be?

A: Mmm, these flowers are gorgeous, aren't they? B: I'm afraid to read the card A: Oh! Don't sweat it! They are for me! They are from a secret admirer. A: No! B: Yes! A: Who ...
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How would mom have handled this

Father: Can't you just try sharing a room with your sister? Your mom was always so good at this stuff. I'd come home from work and everything was always perfect. How would mom have handled this? ...
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“would have v3” vs “must have v3” (guess or speculation about a possibility in the past)

I watched a program on ITV channel (British TV channel), in which people call in and ask a psychologist questions about their family problems such as "why is my son doing this", "why is my daughter ...
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would make or would have made?

Suppose the following sentence occurs in a context about a lawsuit, and in the the first sentence of the paragraph that follows, the Supreme Court revoked the ruling. In other words, the ruling isn't ...
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Modality with Could

"The reason you couldn’t sprint a marathon, he says, is that your body can’t supply energy rapidly enough using the aerobic system." Extracted from a BBC article. I can't understand the use of could,...
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woody wouldn't have done this!

Lance: It is a total loss. Lance's son: How does this even happen? Woody Woodpecker (is hiding in the tree hole): I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to! Fireman: Well, I think we found the ...
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The use of “would” as the future in the past

I'm reading a book and I've come across an use would that I cannot figure out what the author meant. In "The Lord would be found in his chambers", take note that before anything we know a character is ...
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Using “wouldn’t” instead of just “didn't”

I’m really confused with using the word would sometimes. Such as this example: We didn’t get the polling research because apparently when the delivery came someone wouldn’t sign for it. Why ...
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Question on modal verbs

Can we form the negative form of this sentence, she used to swim on Sunday’, in the following ways? 1) She doesn’t use to swim on Sunday. 2) She didn’t use to swim on Sunday. In thw first sentence ...
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Beginning with May but not for questioning

The speaker says she is glad to have a new counselor and looks for his support and help in the days which lie ahead. At the end she says: "May there be many of them." [The Crown] Why did not she say "...
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Had, not would have

A usage that sets my teeth on edge has grown all too common among young people. An example: I wish public schools would have taught English grammar better in the 1990s. Surely this sentence should ...
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What does the word “should” mean in the sentence

For Mrs. Bennet, a woman's worth is determined not by what she is but by what her husband has, and it would be a great shame If any of her daughters should remain single. Why the word "should" put in ...
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''Had you better … than/or…'' in positive questions?

I had watched a tutorial about the use of ''Had better'' in positive questions. İt was mentioned that ''Had better '' is used in positive questions to ask which option is better? EG; a)Had you ...
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“Wouldn't have been necessary” or “would have been unnecessary?”

I've already made the decision to stick to "wouldn't have been necessary," but I wanted to double check. For a little more context, the full sentence is as follows: She filled the printer with ...
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should never have been led to [closed]

Of course it is not by argument that we originally come by our belief in an independent external world. We find this belief ready in ourselves as soon as we begin to reflect: it is what may be ...
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Struggling with meaning of would

What does it even mean? They all called me "little dude" now—even the jocks. These big dudes I barely even knew before would knuckle-punch me in the hallways now. Imaginary situation? Habits? ...
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What is the key to understanding 'would' in this case?

I can't separate the two different cases of using 'would' in this situation: "Oh no!" I said, and that's when I couldn't hold it in anymore. Everything that had just happened kind of hit me and I ...
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The difference between meanings of 'would'

Could someone explain what this modal verb actually means here? I loved hanging out by the campfire after dark. I loved the way bits of fire dust would float up and disappear into the night air. ...
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What is the difference between “ required” and “ need” ? And which is the right place/situation to use this?

Usually when I talk and write a mail I am doubtful to use " required" or " need" for the situation. please help me clear understanding of the place and situation to use it properly. Thanks in advance.
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“can” VS 'could"

Although there are weeks of negotiations ahead, and perhaps setbacks and new surprises, leaders of both parties are optimistic that their differences can be resolved. Although there are weeks of ...
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WILL or continuous forms for habits - which is more common?

Which of the following is more common in everyday speech: She is always mumbling to herself when she's reading. She WILL always mumble to herself when she reads. Is that the emphatic WILL (...
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Can we use “would” in present tense?

I've read this sentence somewhere on the Internet and I'm wondering if it's correct: I would be surprised if it makes any difference. Shouldn't it be: I would be surprised if it could make any ...
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can we use “can”, “could”, “may” & “might” to ask for suggestions"?

Note: make sure you distinguish "make suggestions" & "ask for suggestions" -make suggestions: eg: you could stay at home if it rains -ask for suggestion: eg: "Where shall I put the ...
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“would be” or “would have been”

To accommodate for the fact that two developers were required to concurrently make changes to a component and thus, serial update of the component would have been too restrictive. I'm not sure ...
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“He doesn't should.” How do you cancel a helper verb?

What is a concise and grammatical way to cancel a helper verb? For example, if I wish to say that someone isn't obligated to do something, I could say, for example, "He doesn't should go, he could go,"...
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Could = Would be able to? All the time?

I was taught like, one can switch "Could" with "Would Be Able To", in a sense of hypothetical usage, and the future in a past tense like this one below. I thought you could catch it. I ...
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Modals of Probability and Possibility

A: Rita's sneezing again. B: Yes, she _________ a terrible cold. (must have / must be having / must have had) My answer for this is: Yes, she "must have" a terrible cold. In my opinion, "must be ...
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Modals of Probability and Possibility with the Progressive

A: Have you heard? Tom's mother died last night. B: Poor Tom. He _________ feeling terrible. They were very close. (must be / must have been) My answer for this is: Poor Tom. He "must be" feeling ...
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Can we say “Yes, you could” when someone asks “Could I wear jeans at work?”?

Ok, according to my study We can only use "can" & "may" to give permission in present Eg: I can / may wear jeans at work.= I have the permission to wear jeans at work. I am not sure if I can ...
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Why don't you use Would for past states?

We would live in New York when I was young. I know you don't say Would like this. But why? I just want to understand the feeling(?) underneath of that. When I posted a question about Past Habitual ...
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What's is the use of WOULD in this text?

During the Napoleonic Wars, Britain's displeasure with continued Danish trade with the French would lead to increasingly aggressive skirmishes at sea. Britain would grow increasingly concerned ...
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I hope that someone would or could help me out

Ella had hoped that her husband would grow into a family-oriented man. or Ella had hoped that her husband could grow into a family-oriented man. Which one is correct?
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Present Continuous Passive Voice & Modal Verb

I'd like to explain the following: (1) Only one simulation can be published at the same time. emphasizing the continuous aspect of publishing, like:: (2) Only one simulation can be being ...
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Will vs. Would vs. Be going to

I made a conversation based on my understanding of a grammar practice for future tenses. See and correct it please, if I was wrong. Togo people A : Hey, wanna see the next match? The one for us ...