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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past tense of modal verbs

Is it appropriate to say, "Bob was not sure whether Kate was at work. She might be at work."? In my opinion, "Bob thought, 'She may/might be at work.'"is correct. Switching it to indirect speech, "...
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Fill in the blanks with appropriate modalsI

Use appropriate modals to fill in the blanks: 1) It is a good book you _____ read it. 2) He _____ not come today because it is raining. 3) I would do it if I _____. 4) We ____ stamp a letter ...
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The perfect form after modal verbs

Which are correct? Who do you think was the murderer in the story? 1) I think Ben would be the murderer. 2) I think Ben would have been the murderer. 3) Ben would be the murderer. 4) Ben would ...
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A tense problem about the use of modal verbs

Here is an example from the HP books: "Come to think of it, he wasn't even sure his nephew was called Harry. He'd never even seen the boy. It might have been Harvey. Or Harold." I think it enough to ...
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Using could to talk about past possibilty

Should I use could or could have in the following sentences. I was preparing really hard for the presentation because it could affect/could have affected my future significantly. At that ...
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“If he was something, would he have to”

I constructed a sentence and it just sounds more wrong as I think about it. So, someone says you provide oral sex on men, to offend you, naturally. But you are a gay, so offensive would be the ...
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Why is it supposed to be “couldn't get” instead of “couldn't got”?

Why is "Why couldn't she get tickets" correct instead of "Why couldn't she got tickets"? Why is it get in the present instead of got in the past tense?
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Why is “could” used in “I am glad that you could make it?”

Grammar books say don’t use could for past performance. For example, if I ran after a bus and caught it, I can’t say “I ran after a bus and could catch it.” Nevertheless, people say “I am glad that ...
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Can I Use 'Should' For Obligations In The Past?

For example, can I say: My manager said if Mr. Smith arrived late, I should call her immediately. Clearly, I cannot use "should have called" here as it implies that I didn't call at all, which is ...
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What is the polite way to tell taxi driver that he can stop here?

My question is I want to primarily give the driver a choice. The secondary consideration is not being rude. I take taxi to home. My home is in a community. I often tell taxi driver "You can stop ...
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“Why would anyone lock the door?” -> meaning of would

If someone says that sentence in the title when they are fumingly slamming the nob, then would "would" in the phrase mean three things below at the same time? I really want to know what were they ...
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diffrent usages of would

hey, Would you beat your friend for 100dollars? What does this mean? a)Requesting someone to beat his/her friend for 100dollars or b)Asking whether they would beat his friend for 100dollars ?
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will and would usage differences

1) "You could not make me happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in the world who would make you so." 2) "You could not make me happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in ...
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can and could usage

what is the difference in meaning of these two sentences??? You must carry on so that you can succeed. You must carry on so that you could succeed.
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so that… usage

1) You must carry on so that you will succeed 2)You must carry on so that you may succeed 3)You must carry on so that you can succeed My grammar book is saying that sentence1 is wrong and ...
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would like vs simple present tense

1) After we go for a run, I would like some tea. 2) After we go for a run, I like some tea What is the difference between the meanings of these two sentences?
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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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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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‘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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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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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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