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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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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Modal verbs in context

Only you could make it better. What's the meaning of this sentence? Since there is "could", does it mean that the "you" is the only person able to do it (make it better)? And is ...
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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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1answer
31 views

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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1answer
34 views

"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
210 views

Does "he should not have known" mean "he must not know"?

Does "he should not have known" mean "he must not know"? There are one or two points about the case which would bear discussion. One is that a man with so remarkable a name as Charles B. Rosma should ...
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1answer
33 views

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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1answer
24 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
111 views

Would usage in this particular sentence

Learning an instrument is not as easy as one would wish. What is the use of "would" here and what is the meaning of these sentence?
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1answer
44 views

Inferred probability: when is 'must' interchangeable with 'will'?

According to The Teacher's Grammar of English with Answers: A Course Book and Reference Guide , Must expresses inferred probability or suposition. In (44a), the speaker draws a conclusion on the ...
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2answers
158 views

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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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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3answers
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The use of "would" as the future in the past

I'm reading a book and I've come across an use would that I cannot figure out what the author meant. In "The Lord would be found in his chambers", take note that before anything we know a character is ...
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1answer
35 views

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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2answers
58 views

Should I use conditional or not

John is learning to write a speech.But he has not to give any speech in near future.His teacher gave him an advice. Which of the followings lines should be used as an advice by teacher, considering ...
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1answer
42 views

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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1answer
62 views

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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2answers
35 views

Modal verb + "be able to"

I might (be able to) help you. You may (be able to) get extra money. You should (be able to) feel this You re foolish to expect to (be able to) do that. Is there any meaningful difference between the ...
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1answer
34 views

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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"can" or "could" in the following sentence?

In the following sentence, why is "can" more appropriate than "could"? Is it a grammar thing? Please explain. The more satisfied you are with your job, the more effort you could ...
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1answer
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Is "I could sing in an a Capella group, but I can't sing." a "Guess" or an "ability" in the film "The social network"?

As we know, modal verbs "could" & "can't" can be used to guess something or state an ability. Eg: She could be at home now (=It is possible that she is at home now. The chance is 50%) She can't ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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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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Use of "would" in sentence

What does "would" mean in the following sentences? That picture would look better on the other wall. It would be nice to see more of Ray and Barbara. Six o'clock would be a good time to ...
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1answer
57 views

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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2answers
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What’s the meaning of “could” and “would” in this text explaining grammar rule?

After looking up “would” and “could”, I couldn’t find any relevant meaning in the use of would and could in this text, which I found on a British Council page: You could go on in the same way. You ...
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1answer
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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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30 views

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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50 views

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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1answer
38 views

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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1answer
174 views

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
64 views

Which of “Will you just go?” or “Can you just go?” works better?

One of my stu­dents barged into my class­room one day and was get­ting on my nerves be­cause I needed to clean up the mess he had him­self made ear­lier, so I wanted to ask him to leave me alone and ...
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1answer
35 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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2answers
84 views

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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1answer
202 views

Can We Use Modal Verbs Could / would for future events?

Can We Use Modal Verbs for future events? My examples are as follows, Could: Can you tell me how could we recover this amount from him in the next month? Would: Can you tell me would it be ...
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2answers
140 views

"had + past participle " VS "could have + past participle " in conditional sentence

The following sentence is collected from cricinfo.com: They were under a little bit of pressure then. If we could have carried on, we could have set them 220 or even more than that. So to get out ...
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101 views

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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1answer
30 views

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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70 views

Which of the following sentences is correct? And what is the striking contrast among them?

Which of the following sentences is correct? And what is the striking contrast among them? 1) The richer you are , the happier you can be. 2) The richer you are, the happier you will be. ...
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2answers
31 views

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
18 views

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
36 views

"might as well be" vs "could very well be"

Compare these sentences: This woman standing right next to him in this picture could very well be his mother This woman standing right next to him in this picture might as well be his mother Are ...
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1answer
74 views

Struggling with meaning of would

What does it even mean? They all called me "little dude" now—even the jocks. These big dudes I barely even knew before would knuckle-punch me in the hallways now. Imaginary situation? Habits? ...
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1answer
95 views

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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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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