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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2answers
26 views

Can we use The Modal verb 'Will' to express a possibility?

For example- Maybe she won't come to our party.
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1answer
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Instead of wiping out Covid-19

Consider the third paragraph of "What happens if a coronavirus vaccine is never developed? It has happened before" (emphasis mine): Instead of wiping out Covid-19, societies may instead learn to ...
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1answer
26 views

“can do better than V” and “can do worse than V”

"Can do worse than V" (as a way to make a suggestion) is much less common than "could do worse than V." For example, "could" is used by more people than "can" in: He can/could do worse than marry ...
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1answer
109 views

Is there any difference between 'cannot' and 'could not' when using them to talk about negative deductions?

For example: He is very handsome. He cannot be your brother. or He is very handsome. He could not be your brother.
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How to use 'Could not' and 'Cannot',When talking about negative deduction?

He looks very young.He cannot be your brother. He looks very young. He could not be your brother. Are both of these sentences are correct?
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types of verbs that could not be main verbs

Verbs: types on cambridge says Main verbs have meanings related to actions, events and states. Most verbs in English are main verbs The types of verbs that could not be main verbs I know are ...
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1answer
24 views

Can we use the modal verb 'Can' to suggest a future action?

For example- You can Spend your vacation in Dubai. You could Spend your vacation in Dubai. Are there any difference between the two examples?
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1answer
76 views

Is the modal verb “can” transitive?

Are modal verbs, e.g. transitive or not?
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1answer
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“may contain sugar” vs “can contain sugar”

Consider the following self-made sentences: Please note that some of the foods over there may contain processed sugar. Please note that some of the foods over there can contain processed sugar....
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1answer
25 views

Can we use the modal verb “could” to give permission?

Can we use the modal verb "could" to give permission? For example: Mr A: Could I take your car? Mr B: Yes you could.
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What does “Yes, you can. But you may not.” mean?

In a cultural function, some seats were reserved for the distinguished persons. But an ordinary spectator wanted to have one of those reserved seats which were empty. He said to the guard, "Can I sit ...
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1answer
20 views

Please, explain the use of 'would' in this sentence

Please, explain the use of 'would' in this sentence I'm only 36, but I feel like I'm too old to understand and explain certain expressions sometimes.. (since this is something younger people would ...
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1answer
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“Could it be” or “could it have been” when asking about the reason someone did something or something happened in the past?

Do I have to use the question could it be or could it have been when asking about the reason someone did something or something happened. For example: I can't believe Kate got the job. Could it be ...
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1answer
22 views

Can we use “would” to talk about the future?

For example: I would join your party tomorrow, but I am busy in something else.
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1answer
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What is the difference between “how could you do” and “how could have you done” when used to express critisism or annoyance?

What is the difference between how could you do and how could have you done when used to express critisism or annoyance? For example: You took Dad's car without asking. How could you do that! ...
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1answer
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Is this sentence a mixed conditional or not?

Sarah had always dreamed of becoming a newscaster, but her parents urged her to study accounting instead. If only she had been true to her vision, she __________ on TV by now. a. should be b. will ...
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1answer
37 views

What is the meaning of “might” here?

Paul: it's more of a fifth date kinda revelation. Paul: So you still think you, um... might want that fifth date? Monica: (pause)...Yeah. Yeah, I do.
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1answer
35 views

Would or Will or the Present tense

I'm trying to make this sentence right bellow but I don't know which one fits (or would/will fit?) better. Josh wouldn't/will not/don't stop being a gentleman for money. What is the difference ...
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1answer
69 views

I would suggest

Which of the following statements is grammatically correct? Why? *Well, for your own good, I’d really suggest dropping back and starting at the usual place.* Or *Well, for your own good, I ...
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1answer
23 views

Would or other (Modal) Verb?

Sometimes I come across sentences like this: He finished his book and would receive its critics. However, could I say like: [...] and recevied its criticism Another example is: Her mother ...
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1answer
861 views

What is the function of “can” in the following sentences?

It's hot in summer, we can go swimming. It’s cold in winter, we can’t go swimming. What is the function of can? Is it ability or possibility?
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What is the meaning of “would” and why the past tense is used in these examples?

Thank you for showing interest in this post. Please have a look at the would in the following excerpts from The Economist: Conveniently for politicians, some of the pain of high inflation would ...
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1answer
51 views

Question using “Must”

Can I form a question using this format: Must + sub. + to + inf. My teachers said that I could say "must you to drive a car on the right side in England?" as it refers to a law. Is it right?
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35 views

What should I say for a comic relief?

Person A: what would she be later on in life? Person B: I'll tell you what she would be — she would be the mother of my children. Or Person B: I'll tell you what she would be — she will be the ...
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1answer
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You don't know what can happen tomorrow

Consider the following quote, please: “You don't know what can happen tomorrow. Life is like a novel, isn't it? It's filled with suspense. You never know what's going to happen until you turn the ...
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28 views

This word can/could mean

Consider these sentences, please: 1) This word could mean X or it could mean Y or it could mean Z , depending on the context. 2) This sentence could mean X or it could mean Y or it could mean Z. (...
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1answer
228 views

Is there any possibility that I could use

Consider this sentence, please: Is there any possibility that I could use these words in writing? Can I use the above sentence to take advice/suggestion or does it sound like the speaker's asking ...
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0answers
26 views

Supposed to or Have to for obligations

I can't settle an argument with myself about the difference between "Supposed to" and "Have to". For instance Kids' show are supposed to have simple language Or Kids'show have to have simple ...
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4answers
43 views

you might spread the ashes

Consider this sentence, If you want to enhance the soil, you might spread the ashes on the garden. Can we paraphrase might in the above sentence using any of the following? 1) it is/will possible ...
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1answer
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Difference between May, Could, Can or Might? [duplicate]

My teacher's sent an assignment and asked the difference among these modals. However, the more I do research,the more the sites say there's no difference. And previously I'd seen that may expresses ...
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35 views

which one sounds more natural? help me

I know my dream is absurd and that I must face reality. So, I'm studying English now like this. However, I can still imagine me singing and dancing on a stage. I know my dream is absurd and that I ...
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1answer
65 views

How to use would have + past participle without conditionals

I've come across many sentences that contains would have + past participle, I know how to use it in conditionals sentences but my problem is how to use it without conditionals sentences For example ,...
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Can one say “depends how you take it” to express “depends on your view”?

Is there a phrase to take it [somehow] which says something like to interpret it/utilize some information in one's own way? I have found 1 mention of the phrase about which I'm not sure if it is ...
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1answer
17 views

modal: can only

"Can" can indicate possibility as well as ability. I'm investigating when "can" can indicate possibility. Is the following use of "can only" correct? A: John is shouting. Can he be angry? B: ...
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1answer
25 views

using can and could

(1) The weather can change very quickly in the mountains. (2)The weather is nice now, but it could change later. Why can't we use "can" for the second sentence? Can we use "could" for the first ...
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1answer
59 views

Must and must have been

Rewrite the sentence below using the words in brackets: The jacket you bought is very good quality (it/ be/ very expensive). Should we write it into ''It must be expensive'' or ''It must have been ...
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1answer
81 views

should vs. ought to vs have to vs must for predictions

a. If the polls are anything to go by, their party should do pretty badly in the upcoming elections. b. If the polls are anything to go by, their party ought to do pretty badly in the upcoming ...
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2answers
28 views

verbs after the verb “stop”

I read in my grammar book that if there is a verb after "stop", it will be in present continuous form: I mean in "ing" form. But I found the following sentence in the book: You might stop to ...
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1answer
19 views

What tense did use in when-clause?

A teachbook says that 'be going to' is the substitute for modal verb 'will'. Example: When I was going to school, I was preoccupied with good grades. What tense did use the first clause, and why? ...
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1answer
35 views

Been is confusing me HELP!

I was watching tv series where police said “he could have been wearing gloves’ I think he speculated the past event..but I really can't understand the reason behind using ing and been...because we ...
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0answers
412 views

Why do we say, “where is the bathroom?” But, when we ask, “could you tell me where the bathroom is?” we end in a verb?

Ex without "could" where is the bathroom? Ex with "could" Could you tell me where the bathroom is? Ex with "could" improper use of "is" Could you tell me where is the bathroom So why do we ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the past tense of “would like to”?

Could you tell me what the past tense of "would like to do" is? Is it "wanted to do"? Also, I'd like to know the present and past perfect tense of "would like to do" if ...
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1answer
50 views

past tense of modal verbs

Is it appropriate to say, "Bob was not sure whether Kate was at work. She might be at work."? In my opinion, "Bob thought, 'She may/might be at work.'"is correct. Switching it to indirect speech, "...
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1answer
198 views

Fill in the blanks with appropriate modalsI

Use appropriate modals to fill in the blanks: 1) It is a good book you _____ read it. 2) He _____ not come today because it is raining. 3) I would do it if I _____. 4) We ____ stamp a letter ...
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0answers
25 views

The perfect form after modal verbs

Which are correct? Who do you think was the murderer in the story? 1) I think Ben would be the murderer. 2) I think Ben would have been the murderer. 3) Ben would be the murderer. 4) Ben would ...
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1answer
48 views

A tense problem about the use of modal verbs

Here is an example from the HP books: "Come to think of it, he wasn't even sure his nephew was called Harry. He'd never even seen the boy. It might have been Harvey. Or Harold." I think it enough to ...
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1answer
21 views

Using could to talk about past possibilty

Should I use could or could have in the following sentences. I was preparing really hard for the presentation because it could affect/could have affected my future significantly. At that ...
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0answers
29 views

“If he was something, would he have to”

I constructed a sentence and it just sounds more wrong as I think about it. So, someone says you provide oral sex on men, to offend you, naturally. But you are a gay, so offensive would be the ...
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1answer
482 views

Why is it supposed to be “couldn't get” instead of “couldn't got”?

Why is "Why couldn't she get tickets" correct instead of "Why couldn't she got tickets"? Why is it get in the present instead of got in the past tense?
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2answers
87 views

Why is “could” used in “I am glad that you could make it?”

Grammar books say don’t use could for past performance. For example, if I ran after a bus and caught it, I can’t say “I ran after a bus and could catch it.” Nevertheless, people say “I am glad that ...

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