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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Using “will” vs “would” to express (desire/willingness) in the present

If I'm in the present time and I'm trying to open the door using the key that doesn't want to go inside the lock. Should I say: 1- The key wouldn't go in. 2- They key won't go in.
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Is it okay to write "Could I please get a piece of paper?

Does could make the use of please redundant? Which sentence is grammatically correct Could I have piece of paper? or Could I please have a piece of paper? or Could I have a piece of paper, please?
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Wondering why the writer used the grammar structures “would also be bidding” and “would have to pay” here

At last Mr. Smith came upon the rare stamp he had been seeking at an auction. Since many other stamp collectors would also be bidding for it, he realized that he would have to pay through the nose in ...
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Usage of DARE as an auxiliary verb

1)What is the meaning of this sentence?? Dared he say so?? 2)As dared is past, shouldn't we use said instead of say in the sentence??
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Related to the use of Could and doesn't has/have

Answer to the question of an interviewer " I would say "Fear of public speaking" is my weakness and I thought I could overcome it in the near future and since our job is to do data ...
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Make a point of

'You can borrow my car if you like' is a more gracious offer than 'You may borrow it'; the first presumes the granting of permission, while the second makes a point of it. CONTEXT (I find the ...
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Let's agree on this so that we might/may go home early

MIGHT (used with another phrase or clause to express the condition, purpose, or result of something): Let's agree on this so that (as a result) we might/may go home early https://www.wordreference.com/...
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Could may might for prediction

Is there any difference in meaning between the modal verbs in these examples? Do only "may" and "might" express prediction, while "could" expresses that something is not ...
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“Joseph visits Beneatha after she learns that Walter had lost the money in an investment opportunity.”

Is had appropriate in the below sentence? Joseph visits Beneatha after she learns that Walter had lost the money in an investment opportunity.
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Use of “would” to depict uncertain future

Consider the following scenario: A clinical trial that was initiated in Jan 2021 is currently recruiting participants. The estimated enrollment of the trial is 50 participants. It is not always sure ...
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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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Is it possible to use would be + verb + ing

If I had gone white-water rafting with my friends, I _____ down the Colorado river right now. A. Would be floating. B. Would have floated. C. Would float.
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Can in specific situations

I have read in Raymond Murphy's "English Grammar in Use" "We use "could" to say that something is possible now or in the future. "The phone is ringing. It could be Tim.&...
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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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We could have been getting married but

We could be getting married this (next) Saturday but the wedding needed to be postponed for obvious reasons. We could have been getting married this (next) Saturday but the wedding needed to be ...
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Will vs would in the following question [duplicate]

What's the difference between: "I would go on a walk with my friend tonight. " "I will go on a walk with my friend tonight. "
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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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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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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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talking about possible plans by using modal verbs 'may' and 'might'

Here are three example sentence, I'm going to Ireland in July. I may/might be going to Ireland in July. I may/might go to Ireland in July. In my opinion, the first sentence means I've decided to ...
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Is the sentence 'I can be doing the work' correct?

Suppose, I am doing a work. I am having the ability to do the work. Can we say: I can be doing the work. Is the structure can+be+present participle correct? Again, suppose, I have done a work. Can we ...
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Difference between “should” and “must”

What is the difference between "should" and "must"? e.g. "They should have called the police." Can I use "must" in that sentence or not? e.g. "You should read his new book." How about this sentence?
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Difference between might and could

Let's not wait any longer. He might not turn up. I would like to know in this sentence, could we use could instead of might? Can these two words be used alternatively? What's the difference between ...
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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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He is the type of person who can/could appear

Situation 1: the speaker doesn't know whether the person has ever appeared in a fashion magazine. a) He can/could appear in any fashion magazine he wants/wanted to. b) He is the type of person who can/...
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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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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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Must as prediction? obligation?

I was wondering, how you can determine whether "must" is used for prediction or obligation? For example, If I say "I saw the cashier asked an old woman for her id, so I figured he must ...
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How to put the modal verb “may” into the correct tense?

I don't understand how transform the following sentences using the following tenses. So that it has the same meaning as the first one. How to put the modal verb "may" into the correct tense? ...
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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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Yesterday I could do that but today I cannot

When speaking about the past, I know that "could" cannot be used for single events (Yesterday I could go there but I did not). However, what if we talk about an ability that ceased to exist? Is the ...
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“May I borrow your notebooks? They 'will' help me understand the subject more.” Why we use “will” there?

I don't know why we use will because we don't know whether others will do what we ask or not. I wonder whether there is actually an omitted if-clause there. Example 1: May I borrow your notebooks? ...
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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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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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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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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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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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Are you coming tonight? vs Will you come tonight?

What is the difference between the following sentences? Are you coming tonight? Will you come tonight?
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I didn't know what I should/was supposed to do

Can 'should' be used in the past? I don't mean a regret here. I haven't found an answer on the Internet because all the explanations describe regrets. I didn't know what I should/was supposed to do
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Do the both of these sentences have the same meaning? (“Can vs able to”)

He cannot reach there He is not able to reach there I think :- talks about present ability, about permanent disability that doesn't allow him to reach there.
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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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They shouldn't be/mustn't be here [duplicate]

This sentence is from Michael Vince's English Grammar in Context. "These books are on the wrong shelf. They shouldn't/mustn't be here." The exercise asks to choose the right answer. Aren't ...
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What is the difference between can and could in 'Can/could you please explain this to me?'

Can you please explain this to me? Could you please explain this to me? I am unable to figure out which to use which situation. I did google, and some posts say they are both the same, even if ...
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Why would you go to the party without me yesterday

I've read on the internet that the phrases "how could someone" and "why would someone" are used in reference to past events. However, nowhere have I seen them used with past time ...
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“woul rather V” in the past

Is the following okay? I wouldn't consider using "would rather have stayed" because it's counteractual. Because it was too cold, we'd rather stay at home yesterday.
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Is dare a modal or main verb in this sentence and how to identify it?

I can identify "dare" as modal in negative and interrogative sentence but find it difficult to identify in assertive sentence. for example John dares to call a spade a spade.
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Would be him vs will be him

Suppose a telephone is ringing and I think that this call is from a specific person, then what will I say? That would be him. That wil be him.
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Can we use modal verbs of requests such as **would**, **could**, and **can** with a third-person word?

Question: Can we use modal verbs of requests such as would, could, and can with a third-person word? Example 1: Would your son close the window? I feel cold. Example 2: Could your boss answer my ...
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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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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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