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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British council says "We use the past continuous for something that happened again and again." Is this not true for "used to do"?

British council says "We use the past continuous for something that happened again and again. And they put some sentences below: I was practising every day, three times a day. They were meeting ...
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how does the sentence must have v3 work?

Frankly, I am someone who likes to put everything in a language into an analysis. I don't want to memorize it directly. As you know, must have +v3 is used for statements that were in the past and ...
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what is this meaning of "could"?

A: Your French is horrible. B: Oh really? Then, seems like I've been deceiving myself into thinking that I could speak it when I actually couldn't. This "could" is the result of the ...
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Is there any difference between "what time should I expect your call" and "what time should I be expecting your call"?

Is there any difference between what time should I expect your call and what time should I be expecting your call? For example: Person A: I'll call you tomorrow and we'll talk about the trip. Person ...
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What should I have done?

In the following conversation, what does the boldface sentence mean? Does it imply something like this: I did something, but it didn't work out. A: I was in a meeting at work when my girlfriend texted ...
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1answer
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I could buy a new car [closed]

In the following sentence, what does "could" mean? If I got $40,000, I could buy a new car. Actually, I'm broke. Does it mean possibility or ability?
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Can it happen to be an unconventional usage of "would+Perfect Infinitive"?

Of course, there has been a raft of questions and answers about how to use the construction would+Perfect Infinitive but one I have stumbled across on the Internet plunged me into bewilderment. I have ...
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If 'Could i go?' is the kind way , What would be the past of 'Can i go'?

I was reading this question & answer, he said that ‘Could I go?’ is the kind way. Then I've got the doubts that, how do I ask someone the past of the ‘Can I go?’? Like Am I allowed go there ...
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Can we split the (will + linking verb) in a passive form and put an adverb between them?

I was writing this on my Facebook post: ... it will certainly be accepted A friend of mine corrected me it should have been written like this: ... it certainly will be accepted However, I don't ...
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None of his sons could land a job in the government service

None of his sons could land a job in the government service. (Here we're talking only about the past) None of his sons was/were able to land a job in the government service. Do (1) and (2) mean ...
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The modal verb 'will' in reporting

M. Hewings in his book Advanced Grammar In Use explains that the modal verb will in the original statement, suggestion, etc. can be either changed into would or unchanged i.e. still will when it's ...
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I "wouldn't / won't" recommend it to others. - is the "would" the hypothetical use?

What is the difference between using "wouldn't" and "won't" in Example 1? Does "wouldn't" sound softer and maybe more indefinite? Is it related to the hypothetical use of ...
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modal verbs in indirect speech

He thought, 'Ben might be at school now.' Now I want to change this sentence into an indirect form. Which of the following is correct? He thought that Ben might be at school at that time. He thought ...
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the usage of 'would' in the sentence 'it would be great if you do it'

As far as I know, 'would' is often used when people are talking about a imaginary situation. But the if-clause here used the present simple, I think the speaker says the situation was really possible, ...
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Can we use "would" for expectations/uncertainty?

Can I use "would" to signify uncertainty or expectation? And how is that any different from using "might" or "could"? Could all of the below examples be uttered in the ...
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1answer
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Can "could not" be replaced by "can not"?

In the following quote: This means that one could not predict with confidence whether a person who scored high on the trait of generosity would behave in a generous manner in a given situation. Can ...
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"May" - an ambiguity in many sentences

The verb may implies two different meanings: possibile and allowable. According to this, there is an ambiguity of menings in many sentences turning around may. For example: May he come in? 1- Is it ...
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1answer
26 views

Is this the correct usage of 'could have'

I was reading this article and this line threw me off: Losing to England is the best thing that could have happened to the Boks. Bear in mind this sentence was spoken after the match was over. It ...
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1answer
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Comparing “Zeroth” and “First Conditionals” in similar contexts

Hey! Do not touch the car. The alarm (go off) ______ if you touch it. Can both “zeroth conditional” and ”first conditional” be accepted in this context? Regarding their usage, zero type refers to a ...
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Is "Would buy" a Past Simple Tense form?

Source: www.financemagnates.com/forex/analysis/skrill-bought-by-rival-payments-provider-neteller-for-e1-1-billion/ Skrill Bought by Rival Payments Provider Neteller for €1.1 Billion Optimal Payments ...
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1answer
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Should modal verbs and helper verbs in general be marked as a part of the main verb

Supposing that I would like to mark a sentence's verb, should I mark its modal verb as a part of the main verb? Let's say: You must calculate... Or You should go... Should the verbs be marked as ...
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Can I say 'Nobody need ever know...'?

I've found an interesting topic here: need-be-vs-needs-to-be. I also have new knowledge from my book (Grammar In Use by Hewings) that the usage [need + verb] is rather formal and used in formal ...
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In what situation do you use "must" in a question?

https://benesse.jp/teikitest/chu/english/english/c00276.html https://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/word/en/%E2%80%9CMust+you+go+now%3F%E2%80%9D+%E2%80%9CYes%2C+I+must.%E2%80%9D/ Here are some example sentences....
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He looks so healthy that he does not look that old

Talking about an old healthy crocodile, one of the friends: He looks way too healthy to be looking that old. He looks way too healthy to be that old. Are they both correct? If so, do they mean ...
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What is the difference for sentences [duplicate]

Sentence A: I am ready for whatever may happen. Sentence B: I am ready for whatever might happen. I don’t understand the difference. Is it true that both sentences convey the same meaning? Please ...
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can and could difference

A) Do you think I could have a career as a catcher? This is a quote from The Peanuts. B) Do you think I can have a career as a catcher? Would there be any difference between A and B? Since I'm not a ...
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as well as any man could/might know them

"Of course," said Jamie; "of course I'm going to let you. I'm going to let you do exactly what you please and I am going to go with you and see how much assistance I can give in ...
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Can/could with please [duplicate]

When talking about requests, permission, favours and asking for information should I use "please" in my sentences with both can and could? 1."Can/could we look words up in a dictionary, ...
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Could have or might have

I have learnt and it was even mentioned in one of the threads that when we want to say that something was possible but didn't happen either "might" or "could" can be used not "...
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Can we or could we?

A native speaker told me that using "could" would be unnatural in the first example, but it works in the second. Do both sentences express permission? If I am not mistaken "could" ...
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1answer
37 views

I can/could imagine

"As we walked through Facebook and Twitter, I could imagine myself sitting there coding throughout the day," she said. "I'm not afraid to be one of the first girls to go into one of ...
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Is "Must I go" correct?

I encountered an expression "Must I go?" in my English drill (which is published in Japan). Is this really correct? I have never seen "must" in a question. What I usually see is &...
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Meaning of "I would recommend this book"

What's the meaning of sentence "I would definitely recommend this book". I have read that would is usually used when there is some condition involved(I would recommend it but.. ) or ...
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1answer
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should be repaired soon

a. The computer should be repaired soon. You better start repairing it now. b. The computer ought to be repaired soon. You better start repairing it now. c. The computer must be repaired soon. You ...
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1answer
51 views

He will/would go tomorrow

He will go tomorrow. He would go tomorrow. Is there any difference between the two?
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1answer
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Mood - Modality-Modal Verbs

These are excerpts from different grammar books. Modality is said to be implemented grammatically through these moods: indicative, imperative, subjunctive. Mood express modality by grammatical ...
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able to vs. capable of

a. Although my arm was injured, I was able to take the gun out of the drawer, but I didn't. b. Although my arm was injured, I was capable of taking the gun out of the drawer, but I didn't. ============...
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might collapse vs. could collapse

a. I didn't want to cross the bridge because it could collapse under my weight. They forced me to cross it and it didn't collapse. b. I didn't want to cross the bridge because it might collapse under ...
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Is "might" the most formal/polite modal verb?

We all know that in order to be polite or formal in English, we use the past tense of modal verbs. For e.g. a) Could you open the windows? b) Would you help me with this thing? We also know "may&...
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1answer
27 views

When is is correct to use 'to' after 'must' and how it affects the meaning?

I have seen some scenarios where we use 'to' after 'must'. All languages are must to learn. This usage is correct while, You must to learn cooking. This usage is wrong. Why is it wrong in terms of ...
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It would have been a good idea for him to have gone

It would have been a good idea for him to have gone to that school. Does sentence (1) alone provide sufficient information for the reader/listener to assume that "he" didn't in fact go to ...
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What is the usage of "would" in this sentence?

I want to write in great length to you, but I am afraid that I would be a bother to you this evening.
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How does "would" would in thia context?

In American English the phrase "gone to hospital" would not be correct. One of the articles, "the" or "a", would be necessary. What if I substitute "would" for ...
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Why is "would" used in this sentence? And how does it work?

If the sentence is without "would", is it right? Paul Merson has named three managers who he thinks would be able to win the Premier League title with current the Manchester United squad in ...
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Could you explain the use of would in this sentence?

If I replace it with "will" or "is", is there any difference? Question A: I've tied the knot for 42 years. It's incredible. The time pass so quickly. Is this sentence right? ...
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How does "would" work in this sentence?

Why is "would" used in this sentence? Question A: I've tied the knot for 42 years. It's incredible. The time pass so quickly. Is this sentence right? Answer B: The expression "tie the ...
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25 views

Would, could or will? Which one is correct?

Does this sentence sound natural? Should I use "could" or "would" instead of "will"? Everyone knows about her reputation, and she's unlikely to find anyone who will ...
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When we use "could" to say there is a possibility, do we change the tense in the subordinate clause?

"Could" can be used to say something is a possibility, which has a similar meaning to that of "might." The tense in the subordinate clause after "might" doesn't change. ...
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To apply for the job, the candidate must have been born on

Speaking of a company's age requirement, a) To apply for the job, the candidate must have been born on or before 1st Jan. 2000. b) To apply for the job, the candidate has to have been born on or ...
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How "would" is used in the following examples?

I was reading an article on mirror football. Then I came across the following sentences where would is used which I think should be in past simple. Even so, there should be the reason why they used &...

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