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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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How to use modal verbs in the past tense speaking of future possibility?

everyone. I learn English vocabulary and write sentences about my life using new words. But I have a problem. I can't write one sentence so that both grammar and meaning are correct. Some context ...
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Which one is correct? Double negatives

Which one is correct? 1. I cannot do not eat for 5 days straight 2. I cannot not eat for 5 days straight 3. I cannot not to eat for 5 days straight
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“Everybody thought we should sell” vs “Everybody thought we should have sold”

Everybody thought we should sell Everybody thought we should have sold While I was watching the news, I came to wonder about this question. As far as I know, the tense after "that" should be ...
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Modals: I (wouldn't / won't) have known… difference

Choose the correct: 'I can't believe I got the final question in the pop quiz wrong.' 'I (wouldn't / won't) have known the answer either' A book says that wouldn't is the only correct option. ...
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40 views

I couldn't / wasn't able to drink coffee (come home late) when I was 10 years old

Please, help me to understand the usage of these modals better. As I think, the most appropriate answer is I wasn't able to drink coffee (come home late) when I was 10 years old. because these ...
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Is Must really an Auxiliary Verb?

Can we use short answers as a proving method for modal verbs? The rule regarding the short answer to affirmative or negative statements is to repeat the auxiliary verb. eg: "I can fly." "So can I." "...
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Why is “would” used in this sentence?

I’m a passionate English-learner from Korea, and I have a question. Why is would used in this sentence? A true friend would not say such a thing. I can think that the speaker is probably not ...
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22 views

‘Would’ and ‘will’ in a same sentence

“The smaller the friend circle ‘would’ be, the cozier it ‘will’ get.” Is the ‘will’ in the second clause correct here or should we say ‘would’ like the first clause to balance?
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How to use “Could” for the following sentences

He could come by car(=May be he will come by car) He could come by car(to talk about the past) Then how can I know whether someone is talking about past or future event? If it is wrong then please ...
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Use of “to” with “want” and “can”

I'm not an expert at grammar, but I'm a native English speaker. I'm trying to help a Spanish speaker learn English. She confuses when to use "to" with "want" or "can". For example, she will say, "I ...
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Our first generation of warships would lead the rescue operation

Four months, two weeks, and five days into the mission, we received Nephthy's final message. (Nephthy = A space colony ship) Panicked voices broken by static. An alien message impossible to decipher. ...
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“Can” vs “could” vs “would”

I have a question regarding the usage of can, could, would. I know can Is less polite when it is used to request people to do things. I know would and could also be used in a more polite way. But can ...
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“Would be” usage

She would be sixteen. She would be his wife. What do these two sentences mean? Do they mean that “she is sixteen” and “she is his wife”? If not what is the difference between these two ...
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Will and would difference

1) Having faster computers would make for a more efficient system. 2) Having faster computers will make for a more efficient system What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences? ...
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“I could give” or “I could have given”

If I had had only one cake and had given it to John, which of the following sentences would be correct? That was the only cake I could give John. That was the only cake I could have given John....
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will and would usage [duplicate]

Do you think he will come? or Do you think he would come? Which is the correct form? If both are correct, What is the difference in their meaning? I have seen similar questions, but the are not ...
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will vs would usage

Can I use "will not" instead of "would not" in the sentence given below? If so, What is the difference? No matter what I did, Ken wouldn't do what I told him.
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Would vs must, which one is better and why? Thanks

A grammar question states that “must” is better than “would” for the following sentence. Could anyone tell me why? Because, grammatically speaking, these two sentences should be correct. We ...
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“Didn’t you think she should have had a doctor” — why “should have”?

From To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is defending a man who allegedly raped and beat up a girl (named Mayella Ewell) in her house. Her father states that he was returning home when he heard his ...
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We've had a lot of people stop by our booth -> “Have + people +stop” why is the verb form stop not stopping?

please help me with this. So I heard today that a native american person said "We've had a lot of people stop by our booth" and I though it should be "we've had a lot of people stopping by our booth"...
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How can I distinguish when 'would' is modal verb or Future in the Past?

In some scientific article I saw this sentence. For example, using the vanilla Damerau-Levenshtein edit distance (defined as the minimum number of point changes required to transform a string into ...
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2answers
34 views

Will have PP or Must have PP?

What's the difference between... Gandalf will have killed hundreds of dragons in his time. Gandalf must have killed hundreds of dragons in his time. The first sentence is a line from a movie ...
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37 views

To use “be” or not to use “be”

In some sentence such as "He should be hired for this job" "He should hired for this job" When should "be" be used, or not?
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What is the difference between “will” and “would”?

“This system Would largely benefit the numerous migrant beneficiaries such as labourers, daily wagers, blue-collar workers etc. who frequently change their place of dwelling in search of employment or ...
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Should have + past participle

I should have been sentenced to prison , but my lawyer convinced the court that I'm innocent The person who said the sentence is thankful because he is not in prison now , he does not wish to be in ...
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confusion of conditional constructions

Am I crazy? If I am, would I realize it? Why can't I use will here? I think it is in first conditional form. So will should be used
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Understanding would

He would do it What does sentence this mean?? Does this mean any of the following four ways 1) He will do it (if some conditions are met) 2) He will do it (if some conditions are met, but now ...
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Putting in the correct form of the verb - go versus have gone

I'm practicing modals, and in an exercise I had to fill in the correct form of the verb: We couldn't _______ (go) to the concert anyway as Jamie wasn't very well. I put in ‘go’ but the correct ...
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“something I’d do as a matter of course had I not been under Atticus’s interdict” — why “I'd do” and “had I not been”?

From To Kill a Mockingbird: In later years, I sometimes wondered exactly what made Jem do it, what made him break the bonds of “You just be a gentleman, son,” and the phase of self-conscious ...
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replacing 'will' with 'would' in this sentence

The following sentence is from the book Oxford Practice Grammar: Even when she gets the flu, my friend Alice won't go to see the doctor because she's afraid that he will give her an injection. My ...
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Q: Could? A: Can!!! -> always?

I feel like I've seen a grammar rule somewhere that explained like, "You must answer could questions with the modal can". But I've seen quite a few cases that are opposite, such as... Q: (turns on ...
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use of could / would - correct the sentence - I like that piece of furniture. I wish it could fit in my apartment

I like that piece of furniture. I wish it could fit in my apartment. Options: - was able to fit might would My answer: I like that piece of furniture. I wish it would fit in my ...
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Meaning of “no <things> must/should […]”

I want to write a code comment that means "every line in this file must be shorter than N". I wrote this: No line in this file shall be longer than N ...then considered using "must", which is more ...
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Is it okay to say?: I'm going to go to the movies with him today, so I could've returned his pen then

This is what I saw in a movie. I borrowed his pen yesterday I promised this morning to go to the movies with him this evening I had a business near his house at around lunch, so I tried stop by and ...
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Using the modal verb WILL

I have come across the following sentences in an upper-intermediate book: Living in a foreign country seems strange at first, but you soon get used to it. Don't worry. You will soon get used to it. ...
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Would for typical behaviour or one time thing?

Consider: Let's see if he would give us money. In the example 1, the speaker is saying whether he would give money to the speaker if he asked now. Not his typical behaviour. He might give the ...
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Why is “would” used in this sentence?

I would roast you but my mom said I am not allowed to burn trash. Why is "would" used in this sentence?
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'can' in if-clause

Is it OK to use "can" in the if-clause of Type 1 conditional sentences? For example: I'll try to find the audio files later. If I can't find them I'll record everything for you. Is this sentence ...
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is + past participle vs. has been + past participle?

What is the difference between these two sentences? After the source code is deployed, please check if there are any bugs. After the source code has been deployed, please check if there are ...
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Would usage in this sentence

This day would constitute the greatest challange our production would ever face. Why is WOULD used in this sentence? Source: https://youtu.be/ivfspJOAtBI at 12:54.
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What is the difference between the structure “should do” and “should be doing”?

What is the difference between the following sentences. No one should live in this house, as it is decrepit. No one should be living in this house, as it is decrepit. You should help your ...
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28 views

…hoped that you would/could have been

X: "It's a big thing, so I was there with her." Y: "How did it go?" X: "Fine, though I think she had hoped that you would/could have been there too." Is the third piece of dialogue natural in the ...
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Would have usage in this sentence

It was as if I was seeing the young people inside them. Before I would have just seen the wrinkles. What is the usage of "would have" in these sentences? Source: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/...
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Would usage in this particular sentence

Learning an instrument is not as easy as one would wish. What is the use of "would" here and what is the meaning of these sentence?
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As one would verb

As you would expect, he is currently in coma. English is not as easy as one would wish. He reacted to it as one would react. We would normally use that sentence in this occasion. Why is "would" used ...
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Describing past action

I would always see him coming to school late with his jeans. I would always see him coming to school late with his jeans worn. I would always see him coming to school late while wearing his jeans. ...
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Would be or will be

Let's see what book would fit your taste. Let's see what book will fit your taste. What is the difference between 1 and 2? The answer would be 200. It is not as easy as one would wish. Why was "...
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Word-usage - May, might and Could (For if clauses and Non-if clauses)

I've been searching about this for a long time, but the answer is not clear. Is there a difference between May, might and could? And, even further - Is there a difference when they are in a ...
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Shall I vs Should I? [duplicate]

Can I use shall or should in this sentence? If I can what do they mean: 'Mum, where shall/should I go?'
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The meaning of “would have” + the past participal of a verb in context

I have come across it in this video. It is 2 minutes and 28 seconds. Here is the context: Language is complex, and difficult to learn. So complex, that one relatively popular theory, which comes ...