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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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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Using “can” in if clause

Original text : (If they had done it, we would be at peace now ) What if I want to add a form of "can" to the if clause!! Would it be right to say (If they could have done it,we would be at ...
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I ran as fast as I could have?

Consider this sentence of mine, please: 1) I will run as fast as I can. The past tense version of 1) would be: 2) I ran as fast as I could. Can we use "could have" in place of "could&...
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Were you able to x Could you

I sent an e-mail to a customer, but he still hasn't answered me. Now, in order to reinforce, should I say: Were you able to check out the attached settlement proposal? or Could you check out the ...
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If the subject is singular why do we say “would have” instead of “would has”?

Would the English student _____ easy access to synonyms, antonyms and the origin of the new words if a good dictionary _____ on his cellphone? has/was installed has/installed have/were installed had/...
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What is the difference between “Some would argue that…” vs “Some may argue that…”?

What is the difference between these two expressions: "Some would argue that..." vs "Some may argue that..."
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She hoped to have done

I saw a sentence She hoped to have done Or a sentence, created with the same structure. I don'tunderstand how it works. Then I saw a full version of it: She hoped that she had done So, it's like a ...
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134 views

couldn't vs can't

We normally say that the modal verb "could" is less confident/more hesitant than the modal verb "can". But what about the "negative could"; i,e, "couldn't or could never"? Consider these sentences, ...
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38 views

I/We might want to

Consider these sentences, please: a) I might want to see how he is in L.A., where it's warm. b) I might want to spend more time in the room. c) On the Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent, we might want ...
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Can/Could have done = Can/Could it be so that

I recently saw such a phrase: I can have done it Can it be a contraction of It can be so that I have done it ? The same with I could have done it = It could be so that I had done it Or these ...
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22 views

Could have escaped VS Couldn't have escaped

I am stuck with perfect infinitive: I could have done = I had a posisibility to do but I didn't Then conversely it should mean I couldn't have done = I didn't have a posisibility to do but I did it ...
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330 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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1answer
111 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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How to use the modal verbs Shall and Will when using them to give commands?

For example- "You shall attend the conference". "You will attend the conference". Is there any difference between them?
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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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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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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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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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235 views

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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460 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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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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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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Can I Use 'Should' For Obligations In The Past?

For example, can I say: My manager said if Mr. Smith arrived late, I should call her immediately. Clearly, I cannot use "should have called" here as it implies that I didn't call at all, which is ...
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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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so that… usage

1) You must carry on so that you will succeed 2)You must carry on so that you may succeed 3)You must carry on so that you can succeed My grammar book is saying that sentence1 is wrong and ...
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How to use modal verbs in the past tense speaking of future possibility?

everyone. I learn English vocabulary and write sentences about my life using new words. But I have a problem. I can't write one sentence so that both grammar and meaning are correct. Some context ...
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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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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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32 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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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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“Didn’t you think she should have had a doctor” — why “should have”?

From To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is defending a man who allegedly raped and beat up a girl (named Mayella Ewell) in her house. Her father states that he was returning home when he heard his ...
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89 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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use of could / would - correct the sentence - I like that piece of furniture. I wish it could fit in my apartment

I like that piece of furniture. I wish it could fit in my apartment. Options: - was able to fit might would My answer: I like that piece of furniture. I wish it would fit in my ...
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Meaning of “no <things> must/should […]”

I want to write a code comment that means "every line in this file must be shorter than N". I wrote this: No line in this file shall be longer than N ...then considered using "must", which is more ...
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Would for typical behaviour or one time thing?

Consider: Let's see if he would give us money. In the example 1, the speaker is saying whether he would give money to the speaker if he asked now. Not his typical behaviour. He might give the ...
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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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The meaning of “would have” + the past participal of a verb in context

I have come across it in this video. It is 2 minutes and 28 seconds. Here is the context: Language is complex, and difficult to learn. So complex, that one relatively popular theory, which comes ...
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Could have filled

All students could have filled the application. Could this statement mean that every student were eligible for filling ?( we didn't want to mean that they didn't fill the application) , I want to use ...
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could have + past participle to express past possibility that come true

"I’m happy because you could have won the race." Could we say this sentence to a person who won a race?
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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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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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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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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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what is the difference “might be able to” and “might have to”?

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 ...
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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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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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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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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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“could” in the past referring to a single possibility/opportunity

I decided to create another question as this addresses another aspect of the topic I discussed in my related questions. I know that in general, "could" is not used to describe a specific possibility ...