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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What of the following is correct?

Did you know you could follow us on our Twitter? Or Did you know you can follow us on our Twitter?
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Is “if rain wouldn't come,” grammatically correct?

I would like to ask if the two following expressions are correct; A) If rain wouldn't come, I could go on a picnic. B) If rain didn't come, I could go on a picnic.
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I sent or I had sent?

Which one of the following sentences looks correct:- I sent you a message I had sent you a message I just sent a message to you. Which one to use? Or is there any better way to say/write?
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Is it ok to use “would” for future reference?

Is the below sentence correct:- we would be using these spices from next time onwards. Probably, would is used as past tense for will, but if the above sentence is correct, than why are we using it ...
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When-clause refers to the future or general present

You can get into even worse trouble when you're not careful. You could get into even worse trouble when you're not careful. You may get into even worse trouble when you're not careful. You might ...
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modal verb “could” with “when/whenever”

Dystopias and You: What Could Happen if We’re Not Careful. (http://pezperry.uncadighist.org/dystopias-and-you-what-could-happen-if-were-not-careful/) Can I replace the "if" with "when/...
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can we use must in past tense?

As I know, we can't use must in past tense. But I remember someone has been talked to me. That they can using. I don't remember exact may be some thing like below: I came your room yesterday. I didn'...
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may or maybe + can

A vegetarian diet can provide enough calories for a child's normal growth. A vegetarian diet may provide enough calories for a child's normal growth. Does sentence 2) mean the following: 2a) A ...
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Examples of modal verbs with Zero Conditionals (Present Real Conditionals)

Yesterday I asked this question, but haven't got any answer so far... So I try to ask that my question in another way (thorough some simpler questions): Can the following sentences be considered ...
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will or would or must in a sentence

As you all will know, election day is next week. Can we replace the "will" with "would" or "must"?
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Modal verbs in Zero Conditionals (Present Real Conditionals)

What modal verbs can be used in Zero Conditionals (Present Real Conditionals)? For example, I have stumbled across such examples: If you want to go to university, you must study hard. If it can be ...
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MUST + perfect infinitive (obligation)

As far as I know people say that "must have done" can't express obligation in the past. However, how would you classify these sentences then? 1 To qualify for this position, you must have ...
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It depends/ will depend/ would depend on something

A: Is it "soccer" or "football"? B: I think "soccer" is more AmE, so it depends on who you're talking to. I think "soccer" is more AmE, so it'll depend on who ...
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Can't have + V3 or Couldn't have + V3

Is there any difference between the following sentences? If Jones was at work until six, he can't have done the murder. If Jones was at work until six, he couldn't have done the murder.
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May/might had done

We can use the structure “may/might have done” to talk about what was possible to happen or the past possibilities: You might have left your cellphone at work. = Perhaps you have left your cellphone ...
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Usage Would instead of did

Why do natives sometimes use "would" instead of did in simple past questions? I can't find the rule about this anywhere. I hear such questions like "Why would you call the police? "...
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He could be in the market

A: Where is John? B: I don't know. He could be in the market. You could write a letter to the principal. The first sentence is a speculation, and the second, a suggestion. Q: Do we stress the first &...
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Should have + past particle = past simple?

I was reading The Great Gatsby and here's the sentence. I should have rented a house in one of the strangest communities. He did rent a house in fact. so I don't think he's expressing regret or hope....
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I'll have to agree with you

While agreeing with someone on something, can I use any of these instead of the simple "I agree with you"? I have to agree with you. I'll have to agree with you. I'm going to have to ...
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I would/could/might call it self-defense

We use "would" when we want to express our opinions, https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/would: Definition 14: I think you'd agree he's a very respected columnist. I would ...
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I can imagine going to a place

Yes, I can imagine a few situations where these words could be used. (= I am able to imagine...) (it is in response to the question: "Can you think of a context where...?") I can imagine ...
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would have done or had done

I would have appreciated it if my colleagues had done the same for me. I would have appreciated it if my colleagues would have done the same for me. Is the second sentence correct?
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Is the use of “can” before the subject correct or acceptable here?

I found the following in a user review of the movie Kissing Jessica Stein: The easy chat they have overcomes Jessica repulsion at the whole idea and soon they have become more than just friends. ...
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Using double modals

Are these sentences grammatical and natural? How does the meaning change when "double modals" are used in a sentence? ▪ Might+Could I thought you might could help me. I might could do that....
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Yes, I can imagine a few situations

Consider these sentences, please: Yes, I can imagine a few situations where these words could be used. (in response to the question: "can you imagine a few contexts where...?) I can imagine ...
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Can you imagine a context

a) Can you imagine a context where you would use sentence "x"? Q) Are we requesting the person to try to make an effort to imagine a context where..., or are we just asking whether he is ...
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What type of conditional is this

Well, I was reading a book when I read this sentence Should you fail to do so, we would have no choice but to take further action. I want to know what type of conditional is this? The if statement ...
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I will say he is 60 years old

A: What's his age? B1: I say he is 60 years old. B2: I would say he is 60 years old. B3: I will say he is 60 years old. Do they all sound correct?
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I could be hit by lightning

I could be run over by a bus tomorrow. I could be hit by lightning. I could die tomorrow. Can I replace the "could"s with "might"s in the examples above with no change in ...
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would have usage

I know that the usage of would have carries two main meanings: one is often paired with but, say, I would have loaned you the money, but I didn’t have any; the other is used in conditional sentences ...
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this would be the normal way of expressing it

How would you suggest a sentence to someone? Student: I wrote this sentence: XYZ. Is my sentence natural? a) Teacher: It's OK but this would be the normal way of expressing it: ABC. b) Teacher: It's ...
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The Sentence Would Be Grammatical

Suppose a student asks a teacher whether a particular sentence is grammatical or not. The teacher has just a little bit of doubt about the grammatical correctness of the sentence. How would he comment ...
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Modal verbs: difference betweeen ¨Would¨ and ¨Could¨

I have a question: when I could use the modal verb ¨Could¨ and when ¨Would¨ because for me is similar. I know ¨Would¨ we can use it in very polite situations like ¨would you like a cup of coffee¨. But ...
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How do modal verbs behave in the past tense?

How do modal verbs behave in the past tense? Should I keep 'should' or replace it with 'should have'? For instance She said he should (have) wash(ed) his hands before the dinner. You replace 'will' ...
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would have + participle v.s. would + verb

I can't grasp the difference between their usages. Could you explain them over the following examples? It was half past five. Dad would have finished work. It was half past five. Dad would finish ...
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Should have + verb + By now?

Sometimes, I see sentences like the following, using two structures that, as far as my knowledge goes, aren't supposed to be together. I should've been somebody by now. You should've known it by now ...
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question form of the modal verbs in different structures

Can I use such kind of question forms in the Past perfect form? Had I had to be sent there?-Passive Voice Had I had to have my car washed?-Passive Causative Had I had to have guns?-the main meaning ...
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it means imagined rather than actual

In the way I was using the word "hypothetical" here, it means imagined rather than actual, regardless of how likely or unlikely something is deemed to be. In general usage, the degree of ...
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Can he be serious?

a) What can they be doing? b) Can he be serious? What does "can" mean in sentences a) and b)? Can we replace it by "could"?
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can “could have” be either a past modal/auxiliary form as well as a stative form of have?

Consider the phrase, "is it possible, we could have rain (or rainy weather) on Saturday". This doesn't seem to be a past modal form as there is no verb it modifies, so seems more like a ...
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What this “May” means?

My friend asked me the meaning of the sentence below: May, for this effect was only tested in conditions with a task (see further below). (excerpt from a scientific paper, p.28) I think the meaning ...
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Should have done something, and then

If we describe some specific order of events after "should have" ("you should have done something, and then something), what form of the second verb should be used? For example, "...
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Might being used for a past action

Is the sentence bellow possible? Why is might being used here although the sentence is in the past? Shouldn't it be "Might have" instead? You said hey. I said hello. A: "I gotta know, ...
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past tense of “should”

I found the following in a grammar textbook under a unit about “should” as a modal verb: “I suggested that she should buy a car.” But it is stated there that the past tense of “should” is “should ...
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If I had been, I might/might have

If I had been serious about music when I was young, I might participate in the concert tomorrow. If I had been serious about music when I was young, I might've participated in the concert tomorrow. ...
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Past tense of might

It is written in my grammar textbook that the past form of “might” is “might have + past participle”, for example: Present: “I might go to the party.” Past: “You might have left your keys in the ...
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I might go with you to the market if I wasn't ill [closed]

I might go to the beach if the sun was shining. I might go with you to the market if I wasn't ill. I might do better if I had a different teacher. If I won the lottery, I might buy a 20-room ...
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could vs might (for expressing the future possibility)

Could vs might(for the future possibility) I could go there. I might go there. I know that these two sentences talk about less possibility to go there. but, I can’t know their slight difference. When ...
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I can/could travel in July

I can travel in July because my exams will definitely be finished at the beginning of that month. I could travel in July because my exams will probably be finished at the beginning of that month. Do ...
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How to use multiple Modals?

Yesterday I was reading an article and I came across a sentence with two modals and I have never seen two modals together. The military might can curb the terrorist group. Can anybody explain how to ...

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