Questions tagged [semi-modals]

Questions related to verbs that share some of the features of the principal modal verbs, e.g. ought, had better, dare and need.

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Correct use of still

In the following sentence I think still is incorrectly used. He has a bad cold and sore throat. He may still get flu. I think it should be he may have got flu
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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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Modals: I (wouldn't / won't) have known… difference

Choose the correct: 'I can't believe I got the final question in the pop quiz wrong.' 'I (wouldn't / won't) have known the answer either' A book says that wouldn't is the only correct option. ...
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How dare you have done it?

Does it make sense to use "dare" with "have done? How dare you have done it? I think it is grammatically correct but what does it mean? Is it a subjunctive mood?
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Can “Have to” be used where there is no compulsion, e.g “…let's listen to what he has to say about the issue”

I have been reading something that gives info about how various faiths answer to a question about the animals. The author makes a research and gives what some faiths say about the issue. And the text ...
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Putting in the correct form of the verb - go versus have gone

I'm practicing modals, and in an exercise I had to fill in the correct form of the verb: We couldn't _______ (go) to the concert anyway as Jamie wasn't very well. I put in ‘go’ but the correct ...
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Either could or would [duplicate]

I was given two choices to complete the following sentence ______________ you maintain silence for a while. And the two options were Could Would But I think both are suitable in this context as ...
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Using modal verb “could” as an independent

"Dan was so successful at school, he made it, he could." Can the modal verb "could" be used as in the above example, as a standalone without a verb following it? "Dan was so successful at school, he ...
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Can we use “need” in this way: “You seem to need danger and thrills in your life.”

I have been reading a British newspaper. On the newspaper, a counsellor advises a woman who have risked her life and tried dangerous things and is now upset. So, amongst many other things, councellor ...
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You'll be okay. Vs. You're gonna be okay

I heard you use Will for the facts and something that you believe as true, and Be going to to show simple prediction or something about to happen. Then which is the strong sentence between those on ...
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“Must” and “cannot” with “be going to”

My father and I have been discussing whether it is possible to concatenate the semi-modal verb "be going to" with modal verbs "must" or "cannot". In our opinion, which we both agreed on, this ...
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“Oughtn't to” and the past tense of it

Is the sentence below grammatically ok? Or something is wrong with it? They oughtn't to have worked harder. Or They ought to have worked harder. Can we use past simple from ought - oughted? I ...
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“like to…” as a semi-modal

As I would like to use "like to" ( which I've read somewhere that is a semi-modal verb) in different tenses I encountered some problems to use it. What I mean "like to" as a modal verb similar to "be ...
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14k views

ought not to do or ought not do

There are two sources, which contradict each other. The first one: Notice "Ought not" Remember that "ought to" loses the "to" in the negative. Instead of "ought not to," we say "ought not." The ...
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Questions about use(d) to go

Which one is correct, or are all the sentences correct? 3rd sentence made me confuse. 1- I didn't use to go swimming a lot. 2- I used not to go swimming a lot. 3- I didn't used to go swimming a ...
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Is “'ve to” instead of “have to” correct?

I need your help. So, "have to" instead of "must" is correct, but can I abbreviate this with 've to? Is this a mistake, or can I use it so???
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Difference between “asked” and “were to ask” in conditional sentences? [duplicate]

What is the difference in the meanings of the following sentences: If you asked me, I would say no. If you were to ask me, I would say no. I know that these sentences express imagination of the ...
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799 views

Which verb form to use after "had better do that it

What is the right verb form for "had better" sentences? For example: She had better remember that she has to leave the city soon. She had better remember that she have to leave the city soon (...
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“have to?” in question tag

How can I use "have to" in question tags? Which one is correct? Can I say it both ways? He has to come alone, doesn’t he? or He has to come alone, hasn’t he?
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What is the past form of “ought to”?

I ought to help him . I ought to have helped him. Shall I use (have + past participle) for the past form of ought to?
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Correct use of passive causative structures

I am asked to write on "things you want to have done". My interpretation of that question is I have to write on things I want people do for me, not things I wish I had done in the past. Correct ? ...
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382 views

were having to make everything up

When he talks of "enemies of the people", the analogies with Stalinist Russia and other 20th-century regimes are so glaring that you have to keep reminding yourself that the French Revolutionaries ...
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What should we call the clause after “would rather”?

I’d rather you stayed at home tonight. What should we call the clause after "would rather"? Are they "object clause"?
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The meaning of “couldn't have been”

When "could" is used as a modal meaning "possibility in the past", what does its negative form, i.e. "couldn't have done", mean? Is it means something is impossible or something is possibly not true? ...
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Present continuous or “going to”

Imagine this scenario: I reserved in a restaurant two days ago. Today I've met my friend and have told him: "I am dining out in a restaurant next Monday." Here is my question: is present ...
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when to use “had better”

I need your help. I have the following three statements: People should unplug toasters before they clean them. You should have unplugged the toaster before you tried to clean it. You had ...
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“past continuous tense” vs “would + infinitive”

First example: Maria thought John was going to invite her to the party. Mary thought John would invite her to the party. Second example: They thought the film was going to start at 8:...
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I'd rather something do something else — grammar pattern

Example (audio version: http://tindeck.com/listen/wtoo): You may not have ever come across this before. For example, my food order ID, I want it to be an Autonumber data type because I don't care ...
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Using 'to be going to do something' instead of future simple ('will')

In Oxford English Grammar Course by Michael Swan & Catherine Walter (OUP 2011) I have come across the following example: Jennifer's eight, and she doesn't know what she's going to do. One day ...
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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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Is there an insinuation after 'had better'?

You’d better bloody well tell them you’ll need to discuss it with me first. (The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling) Whenever I saw a bare-infinitive follow close behind ‘had better,’ I thought ‘had ...
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Using “will” vs “be going to” [duplicate]

It is a very confusing concept, when to use "will" or "be going to". Both of them refer to the future but there is a slight difference. One of the differences that I have found and ...
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Modal 'need' vs Regular 'need'

I read https://english.stackexchange.com/q/103230/50720 and understand the grammatical differences, but their usage still confuses me. Answerer Cereberus writes: It is slightly old fashioned. ...
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I'd better get a quart

I'd better get a quart. (daum.net) There’s a had better usage in the above. I’m not trying to figure out what the original it would have been, but can this construction below be made? (When I, the ...
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108 views

Using the verb need through non affirmative structures

Longman:" Verb patterns You can say that you need to do something • I need to clean (NOT I need clean) the house". As we normally use this pattern need +verb about non-affirmative structures and in ...
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“Somewhere a man must begin, and it had better be just where another man might stop” (Chesterton)

From Chesterton's Blue Cross, describing a detective's tactic when said detective finds himself without a clue as to the whereabouts of the criminal he's after: In such cases he reckoned on the ...
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I used to study at Cambridge School

I used to study at Cambridge School. I am used to studying at Cambridge School. If the verb is continuous tense, it need to be added "verb to be" before used to?
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Does adding 'don't' make the sentence more intense in 'don't dare'?

If I say... I don't dare call her a muttonhead Vs. I daren't call her a muttonhead. Does putting 'don't' emphasize more on my daring (of calling her that) as compared to a simple version 'daren'...
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163 views

Can “to” in “need to” be omitted?

I have usually seen sentences written with need to, for example: All you need to do is call me for help. However, I came across a sentence like below in a published book. In this case, we only ...
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7k views

need be made vs need to be made

"It needs to be made" is familiar, but "it needs be made" never heard of until a moment ago, and that's when @j-r wrote it in a comment. Is it standard or dialect, and if it's standard, is it informal?...
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Need with perfect infinitive

I know the difference between 1) I needn’t have done it (but I did it) – I didn’t need to do it (and I didn't do it.) But do these make sense? I have come across them being uttered or written by ...
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Can lexical need be used for epistemic meaning?

[i] He needn’t have told her. [epistemic or deontic] [ii] He might have killed her. [epistemic or dynamic] In [i] the perfect is internal in the epistemic reading (“It isn’t necessarily the case ...
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complement of lexical verb 'dare'

"Never mind that, do you think he remembers what You-Know-Who looks like?" Their mother suddenly became very stern. "I forbid you to ask him, Fred. No, don't you dare. As though he needs ...
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'to have to use' and 'to use'

I am going to have to use it quite a lot today. I am going to use it quite a lot today. If both are correct, when should I use to have to use and when to use?
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692 views

Is 'rather + pronoun + root-verb' pattern possible?

I had much rather we not stay. (Random House) I'd rather you didn't go out alone. (Longman) If the first sentence is possible, I guess, the second one can be re-write as “I’d rather you not go out ...
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“I had better eat something”

I was talking with a friend of mine when she said, "I had better eat something and get some sleep." I thought she was saying it was better if she ate something earlier, but that was not what she meant....
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Using “ought” in a question: “Ought I celebrate?” or “Do I ought to celebrate?”

How do I ask a question using ought? Ought I congratulate him? (like in this post) But I ought to congratulate is easily turned into Do I ought to congratulate, just like I have congratulate becomes ...
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Should vs. had better

What is the difference between "should" and "had better"? Consider these sentences for example: It's cold outside. You should wear a coat. It's cold outside. You'd better wear a coat. What are the ...