Questions tagged [modality]

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52 views

The preference for “may be” ot “maybe” after the conjuction “― and”

My dad turned around and stared at us, his fear confirming that something wasn't right ― and maybe even very wrong. One student struggles to understand the sentence especially in a bold part. - and (...
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51 views

It would have to rain today, of all days!

It would have to rain today, of all days! https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english-spanish/it-would-have-to-rain-today-of-all-days What meaning of would is used here? According to OED, ...
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27 views

The difference between “had better not/hadn't better” in questions?

Is there a difference between these two: 1 Hadn't you better marry him? 2 Had you better not marry him? It seems to me that 1 means "I recommend marrying him" and 2 means "I advise ...
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23 views

Is “would” incompatible with “I'm not sure”?

Is "would" incompatible with "I'm not sure"? If so, do you know why? A: Where's John now? B: I'm not sure. He would be at home now. A: When will John come back? B: I'm not sure....
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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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12 views

would or will indicating uncertainty

I'm wondering if "would" is used properly in the following, or "will" should be used instead. A: Where's John now? B: I don't know for certain. He would be at home now. A: When ...
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40 views

“would” can be used to express the degree of certainty? Or it is always used under hypothetical condition?

I am wondering about "would" can be also used to express the degree of certainty. Not any website shows any example sentences using "would" to express the degree of certainty only ...
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22 views

Should have + past particle = past simple?

I was reading The Great Gatsby and here's the sentence. I should have rented a house in one of the strangest communities. He did rent a house in fact. so I don't think he's expressing regret or hope....
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856 views

“I don't think I understand” vs. “I don't understand”

An ELL post (buttonholes -- meaning?) says I don't think I understand what kind of buttonholes they're talking about. I found "I don't understand" is commonly used to express the unawareness of ...
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551 views

“If a drop of oil is placed in a glass of water, it __ to the top.”

If a drop of oil is placed in a glass of water, it _______ to the top. A. will float B. would float C. does float D. should float I pick C, but several people picked A. In my opinion, ...
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63 views

Negation with modality

There are two ways of negating a modal sentence: A) negation of modality: you [need not] go there B) negation of proposition: you must [not go there] With deontic modality we can either deny a ...
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100 views

Might have been caught/ Might be caught (In a traffic jam)

If someone hasn't shown up, I'm guessing it is because of the traffic. Which word form should I use? Considering that "was caught" Is an action in the past, thus: He might have been caught in the ...
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1answer
32 views

Can for possibility with time markers

I'm reading a book on modality where the author gives the following examples of possibility with "can": It can be cold in Stockholm in winter - okay It can be cold in Stockholm now - wrong ...
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20 views

Can VS May for possibility [duplicate]

We use "might/may" to indicate probability: Example 1: This trip might be dangerous We use "can" for something certain, for an objective possibility: Example 2: Who knows, it can go either way ...
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3answers
83 views

When is “may” a fact?

Why is "may" found in sentences that express fact? For example: "They may be friends, but that doesn't meant that they don't fight." "I may be 63, but I can still dance out the evening."
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1answer
37 views

Modals/Reported Speech

İn reported speech for example we change may to might and might or should stay the same like : She said "I should do my homework this night.". She said that she should do her homework last night. ...
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12 views

Would have been beeping

I would just like to know if this is idiomatic? If that machine were broken, that would have been beeping since I turned it on.
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Usage of “could” in “could account for as much as 7.0%”

“College Factual ranks Northwestern U as 46th out of a total 1,059 colleges and universities for sheer popularity with students from China. Chinese students could account for as much as 7.0% of ...
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6k views

would make or would have made?

Suppose the following sentence occurs in a context about a lawsuit, and in the the first sentence of the paragraph that follows, the Supreme Court revoked the ruling. In other words, the ruling isn't ...
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36 views

Modality with Could

"The reason you couldn’t sprint a marathon, he says, is that your body can’t supply energy rapidly enough using the aerobic system." Extracted from a BBC article. I can't understand the use of could,...
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can we use “can”, “could”, “may” & “might” to ask for suggestions"?

Note: make sure you distinguish "make suggestions" & "ask for suggestions" -make suggestions: eg: you could stay at home if it rains -ask for suggestion: eg: "Where shall I put the ...
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3answers
223 views

How to solve the double meaning of “Must be”?

The papers must be blue This sentence means: I have not seen the papers but I'm sure they are blue. If it's an instruction, it means: You must use blue papers. Any other color will not work. Am I ...
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2answers
73 views

“all the efforts I put in [would/could/may] just go to waste” (choice of modal?)

Let's say you are hypothesizing. And you say: I must have great accuracy in English, and if I don't, all the efforts I put in would/could/may just go to waste. In this sentence, I know would is ...
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6k views

It would always be/it will always be

Let's say you are in a question and answer portion in a contest. And it goes like this: Question: What do you think is the disadvantages of being famous? You: I think your privacy. Paparazzi ...
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103 views

Is “I could sing in an a Capella group, but I can't sing.” a “Guess” or an “ability” in the film “The social network”?

As we know, modal verbs "could" & "can't" can be used to guess something or state an ability. Eg: She could be at home now (=It is possible that she is at home now. The chance is 50%) She can't ...
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Modal verb after 'In all probability'

Which modal verb comes after 'in all probability' ? For example 'In all probability it will/may/can rain tonight. Which modal is appropriate?
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38 views

Why is 'would' used here instead of 'will'

Someone commented following line. "This time,a vote for Democrats(or any party) would be a vote for progress;a vote for third front would be a vote for instability and indecision." I don't think ...
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1answer
22 views

Purpose of 'would' here

"I would definitely encourage each of you to follow-up on their initiative,write e-mails,posters,talk to professors and even reach out to people outside the university." Is would used in above line ...
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52 views

Should I use conditional or not

John is learning to write a speech.But he has not to give any speech in near future.His teacher gave him an advice. Which of the followings lines should be used as an advice by teacher, considering ...
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67 views

Why 'would be' is used in this line

In India,there is a great cricket player named Sachin(he has retired few years back).One of his colleagues (who used to play at international level along with him)praised him and said following line: ...
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42 views

Use of “will” vs “would”

"You have used a cumbersome method to solve this question.I would not / will not use it." Which of above two(would and will) is preferrable to use? Can would not be used above to politely refuse?
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72 views

Is it wrong when you use “might + inf” when you are telling a past story?

See this conversation: A: There was robbery here. What happened? B: I saw a man yesterday. He went to the house. He might enter the house but I am not sure. is it wrong to use "might enter" ...
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119 views

Is it grammatically correct to use a modal equivalent 'have to do smth' in present perfect form?

Recently I have come across the following two sentences in a test for Student's Book Activate Level A2 published by Pearson/Longman in 2010 by Joanne Taylore-Knowles: Has Naomi had to go? and Have ...
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4k views

Is “which may causes” the correct phrase?

I'm just practicing passage reconstruction. Here I've formed a phrase "Organic former usually use natural pesticides and fertilizers instead using chemical pesticide which may causes economic damage ...
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895 views

“I'd rather she has' vs ”I'd rather she had"

Which one is correct and why? She hasn't been to Paris. I'd rather she has been to Paris. / I'd rather she had been to Paris. Thanks.
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134 views

Grammatical mood of “loved” in the following sentence

in the following sentence second clause has conditional mood. but what about first clause (subjunctive or indicative?). If you loved me you would support me.
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467 views

What is the use of “wouldn't”?

What is the use of "wouldn't" in this sentence? "I was trying to get to sleep, but Jimmy wouldn't stop talking" Thanking you Scottish
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44 views

Do I suspect he is regretful now, or I guess he will be regretful in the future in saying “He may regret having quit his job”?

He may regret having quit his job. Does this mean It is possible that he now wishes he hadn't quit his job. or It is possible that he will eventually wish he hadn't quit his job. ?
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2answers
4k views

“I had better go now.” or “I have better go now.” [duplicate]

Why did the writer use "had"? Why didn't he use "have? Well, thank you for showing me a great dance. I had better go now.
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65 views

Is it possible to say “Will won't”

Will is usually used to indicate future event, as in I will go to school However, it can also function as a modal auxiliary expressing a willingness or refusal. Like I won't go to school But I ...
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The exact meaning of “must+have+past participle”

Are these sentences interchangeable? I think I have left my keys at home. I must have left my keys at home. For example: If somebody asks us "where have you left your keys?" which answer ...
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585 views

What is the meaning of “as if” here?

What is the meaning of "as if" in B? A:The ceiling in this room doesn't look very safe, does it? B:No, it looks as if it's going to fall down. Can we omit it? Another question, can we use ...
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“Would” confusion: “it would mean spending more time at home”

As per my understanding "would" is used in the situations below: Conditional sentences Past of will Repetition in the past Future in the past. Could someone help me to understand in what category ...
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7k views

Would come vs will come

I'm not sure but I think the following sentences are related to the certainty or uncertainty of the fact that he will come or not.Or I think would come indicates some kind of uncertainty than will ...
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4k views

Use and meaning of “wouldn't” in “you wouldn't” and “a speaker wouldn't”

I have asked many questions about "would" both in ELL and ELU. But I still have a question about the use of "would". I have recently asked a question which @Jay also answered. He used "wouldn't" in ...
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1answer
8k views

you could say vs you would say [duplicate]

What's the difference in the meaning between "you could say" and "you would say"? when something is in specific context and If that (something) is usual, we use would instead of could? I'm not sure ...
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78 views

Is there a 'should be' missing in this sentence?

Shouldn't it be 'and the sale (should) be delayed'? 'Should' is in the bracket because it is self-understood maybe.
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How to use 'would' to express vagueness

I have been told that modal 'would' can be used to express 'vagueness'. Its usage has been linked below but I'm not fully convinced yet with it because I don't know in what kind of context it would be ...
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1k views

Is it correct to use 'could' to describe past permission?

Recently I`ve been revising my knowledge about the verb could. I know that could is used as the past form of can to describe a general ability in the past. E.g. I could work 10 hours a day when ...
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101 views

Help with verb tense and modality differences among 'Whenever he'd knock, he was greeted' variations

Whenever he'd knock on people's doors, requesting them to let him spend the night at their place, he'd be greeted with unfriendly faces. Whenever he'd knock on people's doors, requesting them to let ...