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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Why do we use “be” with “will”, instead of “is” and “are”?

I want to know from a grammatical point of view why do we use be with will instead of using is and are. For example: Jack will be skydiving tomorrow. Correct Jack will is skydiving tomorrow. ...
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Usage of Could have

It’s ten o’clock. They could have arrived now. Does this “could have” indicates they “could have” but they didn’t? If my conclusion is correct, Are there anyother possible interpretations or not?
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you’d never guess she had been so upset

Consider these sentences, please: Looking at her now you’d never guess she had been so upset. Can I use "has been" or "was" in place of "had been" in the sentence above?...
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Modal Verbs Will_Would differences

1). In the context of disease management, it is not the case that one drug would work for the entire population and a single one would be useful for that patient’s lifetime. 2). In the context of ...
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Can we make similar sentences as to the meaning of the sentences using might

1.It was probable that he would go but he didn't go. 2.It was probable that he had gone./Probably he had gone. 3.It is probable that he has gone. Can we make similar sentences as to the meaning of the ...
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Usage of Could vs Usage of Can

He goes to Delhi every week so that he could see his Mother. My friends and people here said that it’s wrong and we should use “can” instead of could, as “could” is used in past forms and the given ...
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Will and would modal verb differences

1). A majority of voters approved changes to Russia's constitution that would allow president valdmir putin to hold power until 2036 2). A majority of voters approved changes to Russia's constitution ...
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Difference between might and might have

He might have gone. But luckily we reached his house and found him. He might go. But luckily we reached his house and found him. What do the bold sentences mean? Do they refer to the past? When to use ...
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modal verb could usage

How could you do this to me? [It expresses outrage or anger] While studying the usage of "could", I found the above sentence. But I studied that "could" is used for hypothetical ...
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Modal verbs Can and Could differences

1). No one can fool me. 2). No one could fool me. What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences?
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Usage of modal verb Could

How could we spend this time on the island? Does this mean 1)It is impossible or difficult for us to spend time in the island? Or 2) What are the possible means to stay in the forest? If the ...
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Usage and understanding of could

I could go to the cinema. As I am not a native speaker, usage of modal verbs is always confusing to me. I understand the above sentence in following cases. So please say if I am wrong. Case1: It is ...
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will and would differences

1). Without my coach it wouldn't be possible. 2). Without my coach it will not be possible. What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences??? I Know that "would" is used in ...
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How to understand the tense of this type of sentences

Let's look at the sentence: I might go to the market. We know that 'might' is the past form of 'may'. Also might is used to describe possibility in the present. Then what does the above sentence refer ...
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Can and Could Usage differences

1). He was a popular singer back in the 90's. But I'm sure that he couldn’t fill a concert hall now. 2). He was a popular singer back in the 90's. But I'm sure that he can’t fill a concert hall now. ...
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Will vs would usage differences

1).What will you do if you find a suitcase with $10,000? 2).What would you do if you found a suite case with $10,000? I know that first sentence is normal and second sentence is hypothetical and ...
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Usage of can and could

He goes to London every month so that he can see his ailing father. Can we use could in the above sentence instead of can? Some people are saying we can't use "could" here, as could is ...
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Must not versus cannot

It is stated in my grammar textbook that in American English people use “must not” when they want to say that something is improbable or it is improbable that somebody has done something: American ...
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Can vs Could usage differences

1). His dance was unbelievable! I don't know if I can do do it. 2). His dance was unbelievable! I don't know if I could do it. What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences?
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Using “can” in if clause

Original text : (If they had done it, we would be at peace now ) What if I want to add a form of "can" to the if clause!! Would it be right to say (If they could have done it,we would be at ...
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I ran as fast as I could have?

Consider this sentence of mine, please: 1) I will run as fast as I can. The past tense version of 1) would be: 2) I ran as fast as I could. Can we use "could have" in place of "could&...
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usage of SO THAT

He goes to London every month so that he may see his ailing father. He goes to London every month so that he can see his ailing father. Which one is correct? If both are correct, What is the ...
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didn't have to vs need not have

I did not have to meet him there. I need not have met him there. what is the difference in meaning between these two sentences???
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Identifying infinitives

In "I have to go there" is 'go' an infinitive or the main verb? I have read somewhere that infinitives can be used after 'have to' and the above mentioned sentence was given as an example. ...
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you SHOULD stop vs HAVE TO stop

I've been learning grammar for quite a while now, but I still come across some "grey areas" where I don't quite get the difference in meaning. Let's say my friend wants to lose some weight I ...
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Were you able to x Could you

I sent an e-mail to a customer, but he still hasn't answered me. Now, in order to reinforce, should I say: Were you able to check out the attached settlement proposal? or Could you check out the ...
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Is ought a common word in American English? [duplicate]

Are ought and ought to used in American daily speech ? Are these words common in American English? Maybe there is any other alternativs which are being used in American English?
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If the subject is singular why do we say “would have” instead of “would has”?

Would the English student _____ easy access to synonyms, antonyms and the origin of the new words if a good dictionary _____ on his cellphone? has/was installed has/installed have/were installed had/...
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I can just imagine what he is going

Consider these sentences, please: I can just imagine what he is going through. I can imagine what he is going through. Question 1: Is there any difference between 1 and 2? Question 2: If I were to ...
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What's meaning “would” in this sentence?

What's the usage and meaning of "would" in this sentence: He (Sherlock Holmes) would undoubtedly have been baffled by the way the crime was committed. In this sentence, why is “have” used ...
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Is such modal verb transition grammatically sound?

Barry wouldn't give up, and the woman that he married won't either. The speaker addressing this is the subject's—Barry—spouse.
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Is it correct to use “should have” in the following situation?

I made up the situation: A and B are boxers. A is superior to B. A fought B, A lost. A must have been jet-lagged so A lost. If everything was ok, A would have won. Would it be correct to say: A ...
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I could never have dreamed of a better vacation

Consider this sentence, please: Last night I dreamed of a wonderful vacation. I could never have dreamed of a better vacation! Is the second sentence talking about my inability to dream of a better ...
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which one moe suitable/ can or could

Consider this sentence, please: Along with Covid-19 pandemic and cyclone Amphan, here's how locust swarms can devastate India's food grain reserves. I know "could" would be more appropriate in place ...
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What is the difference between “Some would argue that…” vs “Some may argue that…”?

What is the difference between these two expressions: "Some would argue that..." vs "Some may argue that..."
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this jar holds/will hold

The Oxford Learner's Dictionary gives the following definitions for "will": Definition 7) used for stating what is generally true. a) Engines won't run without lubricants. What is the difference ...
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“couldn't” to refuse offers

Consider this definition for "could", from https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/could Definition 16: You say 'I couldn't' to refuse an offer of more food or drink. [informal, spoken] ...
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She hoped to have done [duplicate]

I saw a sentence She hoped to have done Or a sentence, created with the same structure. I don'tunderstand how it works. Then I saw a full version of it: She hoped that she had done So, it's like a ...
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She hoped to have done

I saw a sentence She hoped to have done Or a sentence, created with the same structure. I don'tunderstand how it works. Then I saw a full version of it: She hoped that she had done So, it's like a ...
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couldn't vs can't

We normally say that the modal verb "could" is less confident/more hesitant than the modal verb "can". But what about the "negative could"; i,e, "couldn't or could never"? Consider these sentences, ...
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It is able to be possible/ She is able to have drunk

If "can" and "be able to" are interchangable sometimes, for example: She can speak Latin = She is able to speak Latin Can "be able to" be used instead of "can" in: She can't have drunk that much ...
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How “Is + verb” possible?

We can use a full infinitive or a gerund as a complement of the 'be'-verb. For example, The first thing I do in the morning is to check my mobile phone. The first thing I do in the morning is ...
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I can see it. vs I see it

Could you explain it's necessary to use "can" in this phrase or I can say simply "I see it." Is there something changes if I use "I can see it."? Oh, dear! Where’s my key? I can’t find it. Oh look! ...
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it may/can be worn over the shoulder

Consider these definitions of "may", given in https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/may Definition 3: You use may to indicate that something is sometimes true or is true in some ...
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Could have - Would have been able - Could have been able

Is there any difference between: I could have done it I would have been able to do it I could have been able to do it I think the third one is excessive because it has two the same elements of ...
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I/We might want to

Consider these sentences, please: a) I might want to see how he is in L.A., where it's warm. b) I might want to spend more time in the room. c) On the Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent, we might want ...
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Can/Could have done = Can/Could it be so that

I recently saw such a phrase: I can have done it Can it be a contraction of It can be so that I have done it ? The same with I could have done it = It could be so that I had done it Or these ...
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Could have escaped VS Couldn't have escaped

I am stuck with perfect infinitive: I could have done = I had a posisibility to do but I didn't Then conversely it should mean I couldn't have done = I didn't have a posisibility to do but I did it ...
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Your child might do better

Consider this sentence, please: Your child might do better with a different teacher. Can I paraphrase "might" with "it is possible that...would..."? For example: It is possible that Your child ...
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CAN vs BE ABLE TO vs KNOW HOW TO

How to say a sentence down in without using "know how to"? I know how to play chess but I can't play it with you because I have to go I want to combine two things: 1) Know how to 2) Have such a ...

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