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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“may” vs “can” difference

I’ll finish the work in the next few days. You can pay me then. Although you can visit these places, you’re welcome to stay in the hotel if you are tired. You can buy a ticket from the Tourist ...
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how to use might for past sentences

I wrote: It was a step toward independence and get rid of foreign interference, but it might went too ideological on this ground. versus. It was a step toward independence and get rid of foreign ...
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Can “would” be used to indicate speculation and with an unless-clause?

I'm wondering whether "would" can be used to indicate the speaker/writer's speculation, not necessarily counterfactuality or unlikelihood. Consider the following: A: Where is John now? B: ...
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You may/might/could need it in the future

Can I use "may," "might," and "could" in my first sentence? Additional information is provided for context. Yes, you may need English in the future. We don't know what'...
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What are the differences between these sentences using am, will, and would?

This is my opinion about it. I am interested to see if anyone else knows more about this. This is my opinion about it. I will be interested to see if anyone else knows more about this. This is my ...
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What is the difference between “have to do”, “have to have done”, “had to do” and “had to have done”?

Could you tell what is the difference in meaning between the following sentences? To get a place at the college, you have to pass the exams. To get a place at the college, you have to have passed ...
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Modal verb 'May'

May flowers flourish in your garden! What is wrong in this sentence? Grammarly says, that I have to change the verb form. It suggests that I write, 'May flower flourish in your garden' and not '...
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How is the modal verb Might used here?

Still, dislike him as they might, Abu-'Ali's neighbours and kinsmen also held him in fear. The children of the hamlet were always careful to be discreet when they mimicked him: they would look up and ...
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Why is “will provide” and “will happen” instead of the simple present in this cookies policy?

As Cookies policy : The following information WILL PROVIDE you with an easy to navigate overview of what WILL HAPPEN with your personal data when you visit our website. The term "personal data&...
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Negation of sentences containing modals and auxiliary verbs

This question drew my attention to something that seems perfectly clear to native English speakers, but leaves English learners bewildered. When you negate a sentence containing a modal or an ...
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can/may/might/could

Although you can visit these places, you’re welcome to stay in the hotel if you are tired. Which one of the modals "may", "might", "could" can I use in place of "...
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mustn't vs needn't [closed]

How to distinguish use cases of these verbs? Mustn't is a negative form of modal verb. We should use when something prohibited. You mustn't talk in the library. Needn't it's regular verb with negative ...
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A female crocodile may/can lay 30-40 eggs

A female crocodile may lay 30-40 eggs. A female crocodile can lay 30-40 eggs. Q1) What is the difference between (1) and (2)? Q2) Can I replace "may" with "might" or "could&...
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“would” can be used to express the degree of certainty? Or it is always used under hypothetical condition?

I am wondering about "would" can be also used to express the degree of certainty. Not any website shows any example sentences using "would" to express the degree of certainty only ...
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In General You Could Do Something?

Person A: After listening to a video clip, do you comment with "I like it" or "I liked it"? Person B: The present tense is probably better. In general, though, you can use either. ...
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How can I use “can” with negation words (such as “can … not”) instead of antonym verbs? [duplicate]

In the following sentence: They can disagree. what I want to say is that the subject, they, can possibly reach a state when they no longer agree. Of course, it can be the opposite - they can agree ...
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My question is related to modals and how to use them to express different degrees of certainty?

I'm a teacher of English as a foreign language. I'm about to deal with a lesson of modals and how to use them to express degrees of certainty. I have some questions I'm confused about the meaning of ...
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Use and meaning of WOULD

Could you please explain me what is the use and the meaning of WOULD in this sentence? “It’s very odd that he WOULD HAVE BEHAVED rudely to you”. Thank you! Francesca
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Use “would” and “could” to express possibility or politeness: do we need to change tenses in the subordinate clauses?

According to https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verbs-modal-would.htm, would can be used to create remoteness of possibility or probability remoteness between speakers (formality, politeness). Here ...
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Would, could, may, might, can

In a normal coned and threaded tube connection, any external mechanical loading on the tubing lines, valves or fittings, would be concentrated on the first thread of the tube. This can cause failure ...
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Could imagine or could've imagined in a past context

Yesterday I went to see my friend who lost her only son the day before in a car accident. Seeing me she started crying. I could imagine (at the time) what she was going through. Is "could" ...
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Would remain or Remained?

Throughout Mum's pregnancy, which had been textbook, he had noted Mum's smaller belly, and had suspected something wasn't quite right. But without all the whiz-bang technology we have today— ...
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Sequence of tenses for modal verbs?

Would, could, and might can be used to express possibility or uncertainty in the present or future (they are the "softer" and more "indirect", or more "polite" forms of ...
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Is there a nuance of meaning between “could” and “would” when asking someone to do something politely?

Could you tell me if there is a nuance of meaning between could and would when asking someone to do something politely? For example: Kate, could you pick up some milk on your way home? Kate, would ...
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Could possibility or hypothetical

Please let me know if could in the following sentences shows a hypothetical situation or possibility. He couldn’t lift that. It’s too heavy. He could lift that. It is not too heavy.
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If + have + past particle, …may have + past participle

Please consider: If you have ever been woken up before sunrise by the trilling and chirping of birds outside your window, you may have wondered: why do birds sing so loud, so early in the morning? I ...
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auxiliary verb or bare infinitive?

"She might have been waiting for us" ‘Have been waiting’ forms the present perfect progressive tense ‘might’ is a modal verb The verb that follows modal verbs is suppose to be a bare ...
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Verb phrase may be coming

In this sentence below: “They may be coming sooner than we expected”. Is the word ‘be’ in this sentence a helping verb? Is the word ‘coming’ in this sentence a verbal? What tense is this sentence in?...
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<My understanding> You know what probably happened? and others

I have learned more about conjecture. Link: You know what probably happened? So, my understanding is as follows. First 1. You know what probably happened? 2. You know what I think probably happened? ...
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can vs could difference

The most we can expect is a slight cut in the sales-tax. (this is what is reasonable or acceptable) With a new wind generation record of 4,131 megawatts set on 14 September, the question of how far ...
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How to handle con­di­tional clauses where it’s un­known whether the pro­ta­sis’s con­di­tion ac­tu­ally got ful­filled or not?

I have a ques­tion re­gard­ing con­di­tional sen­tences, as far I know the “third con­di­tional” is used when we’re talk­ing about a con­di­tion from the past that never ac­tu­ally hap­pened af­ter ...
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Can someone help me with the sentence structure here as I cannot understand

It would be great if you would not be here around for a while. Is this sentence correct? This is I guess if clause or conditional clause
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Inversion in this sentence: “Nothing can/could I do…”

Is it possible to use an inversion like this: "Nothing could (can) I do in that situation."
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should vs. have to vs. must in specific context?

In the following situation, which fits best (should or must or have to): I think that it is very important to look after the environment. This means that we should/must/have to cut down the amount of ...
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“can” for referring to the future

You/one can get very nasty skin diseases from bathing in dirty water. I know this is a generally true sentence. But could it refer exclusively to the future?
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Which should we use?'Can' or 'could'?

Is it possible to use 'can' instead of 'could' in this sentence? It encouraged me to bring my old coats for the homeless so that they could stay warm.
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Modal verb and base form

Example: Your tuition could be completely covered. Question: Why is this sentence correct? I thought with modal, you must always use base form.
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Usage of “can” and “could”

Look at these sentences: (1)He lost to a better player. He won in every other way one can imagine. (2)You/one can get very nasty skin diseases from bathing in dirty water. It can be seen that both ...
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Using 'will' or 'would'?

My friend said, "I would do it if I get the chance." But what will be the difference if I use 'will' in place of 'would' in the above sentence?
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Uses of “could”

Person/learner A: What does "take" mean in this sentence? Interlocutor B: You'll need to provide more context for a good answer. (a) In that particular sentence, the verb "take" ...
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Could I go vs Can I go

My school teacher said that "Could I go?" is more polite than "Can I go?" but according to me "Could I go?" can not be used interchangeably but should be used as to infer ...
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would have been/would be

I wish everyone was beautiful in this world. And nobody would have been ugly like me. I have a doubt concerning the second sentence. And nobody would be ugly like me. And nobody would have been ...
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“How couldn't I do” vs. “how couldn't I have done” in the sense of criticiizing oneself for failure to do something in the past

Could you tell me if I have to use how couldn't I or how couldn't have I in the sense of criticizing oneself for failure to do something in the past? For example: The problem turns out to be so easy. ...
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Why “might” is used in the following situation but not “might have”?

I found the sentense "he hesitated before ringing her, fearful of what she might say". I wonder why "... might say" is used but not "... might have said"?
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”Need to” and ”Would need to”

What is the difference between the following sentences? (1) You/I need to do it (2) You/I would need to do it Do we use the second one for distancing from reality and being more polite?
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cannot be diligent

Someone told me "cannot" isn't used properly in the following because it means "incapable or unwilling." Do you think it's incorrectly used? I saw it being used to talk about ...
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For all I know, he left last night

Are the following sentences both correct? If so, is there any difference? For all I know, he left last night. For all I know, he might have left last night.
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The function of “would” in the following sentences

The whole class was laughing as if they would die. The German teacher tried in vain to stop their noise. But they would not listen to her. Question 1: But they would not listen to her. What is the ...
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“Your child can/may/could/might do better with a different teacher”

Your child can do better with a different teacher. Your child may do better with a different teacher. Your child could do better with a different teacher. Your child might do better with a different ...

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