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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12 views

should have vs was supposed

When we didn't know if something happened or not, but it's supposed to be done an a hour ago according to a plan or something, which sentence is correct? He should have finished the task an hour ...
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must for deduction

A situation where Jack , Bob and Adam at the same room ,Bob and Adam thought that Jack didn't understand English , Bob said to Adam: "Jack is so boring" , Jack get mad and left the room, then Adam ...
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1st and 2nd conditional mixed?

I am so confused because I see lots of 1st and 2nd conditional mixed sentences.(or maybe it not) There is an example in music video called "Queen of Mean". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9o1QS-itsU ...
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What type of conditionals does McGonagall use?

I am confused about the type of conditionals used in the sentence below "You'd be stiff, if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day," said Professor McGonagall. It's the part of the text from ...
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“Could we have” for guessing

If we ask someone to guess how we escaped from the police, could we say: "How could we have escaped from the police?" Also, say I want to used these words in a sentence instead of a question. Does ...
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modals: How can you or How could you?

What is the difference between the following sentences? Don't tell me one is in the present tense whereas the other is in the past. I'm more interested in their functional rather than superficial ...
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Should I use will or would in this sentence?

As I am writing my assignment, I wonder whether I should use will or would and if there is any difference in meaning between these two words, I mean, in terms of possibility then will is more certain ...
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unnecessary usage of would

I have seen this sentence in an online learning website: Let's delve into the problem you'd like to solve I can't get why would is used in this sentence? what this the difference between this ...
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“Could have” to express astonishment

A teacher gave us a challenge to solve an equation , we spent hours and hours trying to solve the equation without any result , and in a late time my friend called me and told me that he solved the ...
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Is this correct? “How do you not be too hard on yourself for realizing you tolerated poor behavior in a relationship?”

This is the title of a post I saw on Reddit "How do you not be too hard on yourself for realizing you tolerated poor behavior in a relationship?" and I was wondering if "do you not be" was ...
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A Particular Use of “Would”

Someone commented on a YouTube video, and I don't understand why he used "would". Here is the comment: I swear the video could be 911 stories and there would be a police photo on the thumbnail.
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WOULD meaning in those sentences

1.I think we would be better off friends. 2.I think that i would die. 3.I would die for you. 4.I think i would just cut the wire. Why would is used in those sentences? I think it is not ...
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QUESTION about WOULD

My friend said to me yesterday that "I don't think having superpowers would make my life easier". Why did he use would in that sentence? It is not future in the past, so why use would?
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When you go Or When you would go

I have read this: I am moving tomorrow and the old black lady that lives next to me just said “ I am going to miss you. I used to stay up every night when you would go out with your friends and ...
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Can vs Will be able to

I ran across a ques­tion in a gram­mar test that was ask­ing for a par­tic­u­lar sen­tence, and sup­pos­edly the re­quired an­swer is the first sen­tence given be­low, but not the sec­ond one, which ...
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I wasn't able to do it/I couldn't do it (solve a problem)

I was trying to solve a physics problem, but it was a bit too difficult. What sounds natural: I wasn't able to do this question. (Or "solve") [Or maybe: "I was unable to do this question"] I ...
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What kind of movie would you all like to watch? ---CORRECT?

I'm not sure about the following sentence-constructions: What kind of movie would you all like to watch? What kind of movie you all would like to watch? Which one is correct (and idiomatic)?
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Using modal verb “could” as an independent

"Dan was so successful at school, he made it, he could." Can the modal verb "could" be used as in the above example, as a standalone without a verb following it? "Dan was so successful at school, he ...
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20 views

An error can/may occur

Let's say we are talking about some software application: The input data are invalid, so an error can occur The input data are invalid, so an error may occur The input data are invalid, ...
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23 views

You would enjoy it vs. You will enjoy it

You should go and see the movie. You ___________ (enjoy) it. The answer is "would enjoy". I wonder if "will enjoy" can also be an answer. If so, what is the difference between the two - "You will ...
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28 views

Had to have happened or Must have happened

I wonder what is the difference here: It had to have happened today. It must have happened today. To me the meaning is the same.
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“can not show up” v. “can not to show up”

You don't get that choice. Yeah, you can not show up, and you might have a flexible work environment, but there's still the social pressure of, 'My desk is sitting empty while everybody else's in the ...
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A question regarding the verb — would like+ to-infinitive

I appreciate if someone can help me in clarifying my doubt. I(subj) + would (modal verb)+ like(verb) + to eat (main verb (to-infinitive))+ rice (obj) Are the classes correct? Thanks!
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A question regarding sentence construction

Is my understanding of the following sentence construction correct? 1) I will be feeling tired Noun (I) + modal verb (will) + verb (be) + linking verb (feeling) + adjective (tired) I doubt that ...
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“But the idea that someone might be arming the Seam would never have been allowed” — why “would have”?

From The Hunger Games: My bow is a rarity, crafted by my father along with a few others that I keep well hidden in the woods, carefully wrapped in waterproof covers. My father could have made good ...
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Question about the tense of “until …” in a object clause

Quite confused about it. Here is a sentence: I was wondering if you could lend me a few dollars until I get paid on Friday. Why is got or would get improper here? Compared with: I said I would go ...
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“could possibly do something” vs “could do something”

Tell me please what the difference is between the following sentences. He could possibly win the game. He could win the game. What is the role of possibly in the sebtence? What does that adds ...
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“How could someone do something?” vs “How could someone have done something?”

Tell me please what is the difference between the following sentence. How could he steal the money? He had always been so law-abiding. How could he have stolen the money? He had always been so ...
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“I can see someone ” vs “I see someone”

As this dictionary says can is used with the verbs see, hear, feel, taste, and smell, and with verbs connected with thinking, to mean that someone sees something, hears something etc. For exapmple: ...
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Usage of verb Would

I am wondering why is "would" used In this sentence. When she was younger she 'would' shrink away from me whenever I spoke to her. Is using simple past without "would" grammatically wrong, or does ...
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what is the difference “might be able to” and “might have to”?

Tell me about your problem. I might be able to help you. I'm not free this evening, but I might be able to meet you tomorrow. I don't know f I'll be free on Sunday. I might have to work. I can come to ...
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'Will' instead of 'Would' with a past tense sentence

I've bumped into a YouTube clip (Here is the extracted text for the sake of convenience and context) that deals with the difference between 'Will' and 'Would'. Among other examples, they have chosen ...
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Does “would have submitted” (modal and past participle) have any sense of perfect aspect?

I've always thought like that 'have' between a modal and a past participle is nothing but a grammatical method of indicating the past tense of modal. But recently I saw a video saying that in the ...
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Modals.Are their job is only to add possibility or hypothetical?

The children 'must have been playing' in the park since we gone shopping please find them out it's getting dark. Just look at that car ! His father 'must have bought' it for him because he has been ...
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About the use of “would” in this context

The text below is a comment that I've excerpted from the comment section of a newspaper article: Not too surprising. Mohammed bin Zayed is doing to the US what empires have done for thousands of ...
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Use of “could” or “can” when referring to an observed past ability

After a concert: We are astonished until now. Did you hear the notes that girl could/can reach? Which one should I use: "could reach" or "can reach"? Or are both correct for this kind of question?...
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Can “would be able to” be rephrased as “could” every time?

I think 'could' has a lot more meanings than 'would be able to' does. But is it possible that one can consider that all the usages of 'would be able to' can be rephrased as just 'could'? In other ...
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Can we use be without modal?

We use this sentence 'he should be here'. Can we say he be here? Without modal?
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Modal +have+past participal can work as present perfect?

Can we use modal+have+past participal for a current events like we use present perfect for present moment. Which one is correct? Just see that car, his father must have bought it for him. Just see ...
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42 views

Should do vs should have to do

Do they both have the same meaning? You should do that. You should have to do that.
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Can we use the format “must be happened”?

Can we use these sentences like 1. Solar eclipse 'must be happened' today. 2. If that happens then it 'must be occurred' at east. Are they correct ones 'must be happened' and 'must be occurred'? Or ...
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Is saying “couldn't have” here incorrect?

This is the original sentence: According to the police, it’s impossible that the prisoner escaped without help from the outside. This is the transformation that's given as correct: The police ...
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When he married, he {could / was able to} go to Europe

I'm not a native-speaker, so sometimes modal verbs are tricky for me. Could is a modal verb that expresses general ability in the past tense. 'Was able to' is not a modal verb, and we can use 'was ...
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Which one is correct: 'may' or 'could' in the following sentences?

Modal verbs may be easy for native-speakers but for me (not native) choosing the right modal verb makes me crazy! My family {may/could} go camping this weekend, depending on the weather. You {...
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“If it should” vs “If it does” vs “Should it”

What is the difference between: 1) If my car should break down, please, call the mechanic. 2) If my car breaks down, please, call the mechanic. 3) Should my car break down, please, call ...
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In an ideal world, everybody has/(would have) enough to eat

I'm doing an exercise and I have the following sentence under "would" unit: In an ideal world, everybody (have) enough to eat. It's obvious, that I should put would have have here but the question ...
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The last thing I'll do is run

I stumbled across the sentence below ‘The last thing I'll do is run’ and I wonder why the verb run isn't used in an ‘- ing’ form. As far as I know after the verb ‘is’, a noun should be following. ...
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conditional vs subjunctive: “it would mean they (were / would be)”

I have a hard time convincing someone that the correct verb to use in the following sentence is the conditional "would be" rather than the subjunctive "were": One interviewee expressed hope that ...
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How I'll know when to use “need” like modal like here “you never need attend to that thing again”?

Quote: Walden or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau, 1850. To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea. Yet not a few are ...
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Is 'could V' always present or future?

When there's no other verb which indicates the tense in a sentence like I could eat it. , not like I did all I could. , then does the could-phrase always have present or future tense? In ...