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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29 views

What is the usage of "would" in this sentence?

I want to write in great length to you, but I am afraid that I would be a bother to you this evening.
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How does "would" work in this sentence?

Why is "would" used in this sentence? Question A: I've tied the knot for 42 years. It's incredible. The time pass so quickly. Is this sentence right? Answer B: The expression "tie the ...
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Could you explain the use of would in this sentence?

If I replace it with "will" or "is", is there any difference? Question A: I've tied the knot for 42 years. It's incredible. The time pass so quickly. Is this sentence right? ...
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2answers
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Difference between "if I can be of any help" and "if I am of any help"

What is the difference between "if I can be of any help" and "if I am of any help"? For example: Please let me know if I can be of any help. or Please let me know if I am of any help. This ...
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1answer
588 views

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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Different usages of would

Hey, Would you beat your friend for 100 dollars? What does this mean? a) Requesting someone to beat his/her friend for 100 dollars? or b) Asking whether they would beat his friend for 100 dollars ?
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When we use "could" to say there is a possibility, do we change the tense in the subordinate clause?

"Could" can be used to say something is a possibility, which has a similar meaning to that of "might." The tense in the subordinate clause after "might" doesn't change. ...
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1answer
983 views

Would be vs would have been

In the following sentence which is the correct usage? Would have been or would be? Would have been sounds better to me but I am not sure. "I have written in such a way that there are some words and ...
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1answer
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future vs future continuous

The movie about the cursed child would have been made by 2020. Or The movie about the cursed child would be made by 2020. I want to know which of the sentences will hold good if the movie was to ...
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164 views

could vs might (for expressing the future possibility)

Could vs might(for the future possibility) I could go there. I might go there. I know that these two sentences talk about less possibility to go there. but, I can’t know their slight difference. When ...
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1answer
286 views

Can 'can't V' always have the opposite meaning of 'must V'(inference)?

He has great calves. He must run very fast. is a strong inference using 'must'. Can the sentence using 'can't' always have the opposite meaning of 'must' (inference)? You said he's faster than ...
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To apply for the job, the candidate must have been born on

Speaking of a company's age requirement, a) To apply for the job, the candidate must have been born on or before 1st Jan. 2000. b) To apply for the job, the candidate has to have been born on or ...
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when to use "to" and when not?

I have a question about the "to" usage in the English. So, instead of "Can someone to help me?" we are saying "Can someone help me?" but I never understood why we are ...
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How "would" is used in the following examples?

I was reading an article on mirror football. Then I came across the following sentences where would is used which I think should be in past simple. Even so, there should be the reason why they used &...
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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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The mayor has decided to build an amusement park because it (would/will) attract many tourists

Is "would" correct in the following? If so, how does it differ from "will"? The mayor has decided to build an amusement park because it would / will attract many tourists. I'd appreciate your help....
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59 views

Would vs must, which one is better and why? Thanks

A grammar question states that “must” is better than “would” for the following sentence. Could anyone tell me why? Because, grammatically speaking, these two sentences should be correct. We ...
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1answer
27 views

I want to know how you are doing. / I will want to know how you are doing

What's the difference between these sentences in their meaning? Maybe, "will" is used here as modal verb 'to say that someone is willing to do something. You use will not or won't to ...
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1answer
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Did you know you (can/could) follow us on our Twitter?

Did you know you could follow us on our Twitter? Or Did you know you can follow us on our Twitter?
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might not be good VS might be not good

I've been taught that when making a negative with a sentence with a modal verb in it, not should be placed right after the modal verb as in She might not be good. But I wonder how about another ...
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1answer
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What's the meaning of would in the following sentences

I know the meaning of "would" when it is used in conditional sentences, but I have a huge problem when I'd like to use it without "if". I read lots of websites and similar posts ...
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4answers
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In-depth explanation of the difference between "will" and "going to"?

Background My wife and I take English classes provided by our companies, so we have different teachers. So now it happened that we had the same topic: future. Both teachers are native English speakers,...
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1answer
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Conditionals where consequences take place before conditions

How do I express the thought that the occurrence of some event results in the occurrence of another before it.. in other words, that if an event were to happen, some other event would happen before it?...
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1answer
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"Didn't need/have to do" vs "needn't have done"

If it was not necessary for someone to do something on a particular occasion, you say that they didn't need/have to do it, but in a reporting clause you can use needn't do it, as in They knew they ...
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What is the polite way to tell taxi driver that he can stop here?

My question is I want to primarily give the driver a choice. The secondary consideration is not being rude. I take taxi to home. My home is in a community. I often tell taxi driver "You can stop ...
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2answers
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if she studied hard for the exam, she would pass it

My daughter's exam results came out just an hour ago and I don't know her results yet. I don't even know whether she studied hard for the exam. But, a) I'm sure if she studied hard for the exam, she ...
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My friends would think that I "am/would be" one of the least cautious people on this issue

I read the news today and found that sometimes in the subordinate clause, am and would are both used. So I came up with two examples. What are the differences? Example 1: My friends would think that ...
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that will be / would be the postman

If I hear someone ring the doorbell and suspect it is the postman, should I say "That would be the postman" or "That will be the postman"? If both are okay, what is the difference?
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Is there any difference in meaning between "I can't hear you clearly," "I don't hear you clearly" and "I'm not hearing you clearly"?

Could you tell me if there is any difference in meaning between I can't hear you clearly, I don't hear you clearly and I'm not hearing you clearly? For example: Sir, could you turn off the speaker ...
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1answer
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Can or could in my sentence

Are both "can" and "could" used in these examples depending on the meaning of each sentence? Or is "could" the only choice in the second example, because in specific ...
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4answers
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"I would think" vs "I would have thought"

What's the difference in meaning between these two sentence "I would have thought Tom was the best expert in this stackoverflow.com" I would think Tom is the best expert in this stackoverflow....
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1answer
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Why would you go to a party without me?

Suppose a wife is arguing with her husband over why he didn't take her to the party yesterday. Wife: Why would you go to a party without me? ("a party" refers to any party at any time) ...
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3answers
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Use of Modal Verbs 'Must' and 'Will' to Express Certainty

When I see examples of 'must' or 'will' showing certainty, I find that the main verb is either a stative verb or a present participle preceded by 'be'. How different are the two sentences in the ...
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3answers
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When we use "would" to soften the tone with a third-person subject, do we change the tense in the subordinate clause?

"Would" can be used to express an opinion more softly and the tense in the subordinate clause remains unchanged. But when we use "would" in this sense with a third-person subject, ...
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2answers
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Is it okay to write "Could I please get a piece of paper? [closed]

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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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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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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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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1answer
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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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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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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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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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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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