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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If I had been, I might/might have

If I had been serious about music when I was young, I might participate in the concert tomorrow. If I had been serious about music when I was young, I might've participated in the concert tomorrow. ...
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128 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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The Type Of Person Who Might Appear

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/might says: MODAL VERB You use "might" to indicate that something could happen or be true in particular circumstances. (emphasis mine) ...
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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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Can we make similar sentences as to the meaning of the sentences using might

1.It was probable that he would go but he didn't go. 2.It was probable that he had gone./Probably he had gone. 3.It is probable that he has gone. Can we make similar sentences as to the meaning of the ...
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Will and would modal verb differences

1). A majority of voters approved changes to Russia's constitution that would allow president valdmir putin to hold power until 2036 2). A majority of voters approved changes to Russia's constitution ...
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870 views

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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modal verb could usage

How could you do this to me? [It expresses outrage or anger] While studying the usage of "could", I found the above sentence. But I studied that "could" is used for hypothetical ...
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Modal verbs Can and Could differences

1). No one can fool me. 2). No one could fool me. What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences?
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Usage of modal verb Could

How could we spend this time on the island? Does this mean 1)It is impossible or difficult for us to spend time in the island? Or 2) What are the possible means to stay in the forest? If the ...
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29 views

How to understand the tense of this type of sentences

Let's look at the sentence: I might go to the market. We know that 'might' is the past form of 'may'. Also might is used to describe possibility in the present. Then what does the above sentence refer ...
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Can and Could Usage differences

1). He was a popular singer back in the 90's. But I'm sure that he couldn’t fill a concert hall now. 2). He was a popular singer back in the 90's. But I'm sure that he can’t fill a concert hall now. ...
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19 views

Will vs would usage differences

1).What will you do if you find a suitcase with $10,000? 2).What would you do if you found a suite case with $10,000? I know that first sentence is normal and second sentence is hypothetical and ...
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40 views

Usage of can and could

He goes to London every month so that he can see his ailing father. Can we use could in the above sentence instead of can? Some people are saying we can't use "could" here, as could is ...
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39 views

Can vs Could usage differences

1). His dance was unbelievable! I don't know if I can do do it. 2). His dance was unbelievable! I don't know if I could do it. What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences?
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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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432 views

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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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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2answers
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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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153 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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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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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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157 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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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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299 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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625 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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30 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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1answer
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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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137 views

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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39 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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30 views

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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139 views

“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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91 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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108 views

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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397 views

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 ...