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Functions of modal verbs
The modal verbs are: Can , could , must , need , will , would , shall , should , may , might etc. They have the same form in all persons. They come before the subject in questions and take not after them in negations. They take an infinitive without to after them. Can she play tennis? No, she can’t play tennis but she can play golf.
We express ability with: Can(abilityin the present or future) Canyou swim? No , I can’t. I can run fast thought. could/wasable to(ability in the past for repeated actions) She could/was able to dance for hourswhen she was young.(repeated action) Was able to(=managed to)(ability in the past for repeated actions or a single action) He was able to win the race.(single action) Couldn’t /wasn’t able to (forrepetador single actions) I couldn’t/wasn’t able to find me keys.(single action) He couldn’t/wasn’t able to skiwhen he was young.(repeated action)
Can is the present simple form and could is the past simple.can borrows the rest of its tenses from the verb phrase be able to. Eg. She hasn’t been able to finish it yet.
We express possibility/probability with: =may(=perhaps,verypossible) might (=perhaps,verypossible ) could (=possible ) must(it is almostcertain;Ithink) can't(it is not seempossible;Idon't think) can he be? (Is it possible?) He may be back before noon.(It's possible.) There might be some cheese in the fridge. (It's possible.) He could still be at home. (It's possible.) They lookalike.Theymust be twins.(I think they are twins.) You have been sleeping allday.Youcan't be tired.(I don't think it's possible that you are tired.) Can he still bestwork? (Is it possible?)
we express obligation or necessity with: must strong obligation or personal feelings of necessity) have to external necessity I've got to informal;it's necessary) We must follow the school rules.(obligation;I'm obliged toI must see a doctor soon.(I decided it is necessary.) I have to do my homework every day.(others decide it is necessary) I've got to leave early today. Must is the Present Simple form.It borrows the rest of its tenses from the verb have to.To form questions and negations of have to we use do/does (Pres.S.)and did (Past S.).He didn't have to do the shopping yesterday.You don't have to go to school today.Does he have to be at work on time?
We express permissive with: (asking for permission) can(informal) could may might Can I borrow your pen? could I borrow your car? may I use your phone? might I see your driving licence,please?
(giving/refusing permission) can may mustn't can't You can have one more if you want. You may stay a little longer. You mustn't park here. You can't enter this room.
should/ought to had better You should walk more.(general advice;I advice you.) You'd better see your dentist. (advice for a specific situation;it is a good idea.)
Must is the Present Simple form.It borrows the rest of its tenses from the verb have to.To form questions and negations of have to we use do/does (Pres.S.)and did (Past S.).He didn't have to do the shopping yesterday.You don't have to go to school today.Does he have to be at work on time?
Fill in:can/can't, must/mustn't, needn't, have to: 1 A: Is Jason at work today? B: He ...can't... be. His car isn't in the car park. 2 A: I can't do my German homework. It's too difficult. B: I'll help you. I............speak German. 3 A: I'm going to watch television. B: Alright, but you .............stay up too late. 4 A: We............book a taxi to take us to the airport. B: I'll do it now. 5 A: I didn't know Rachel was in the choir. B: Oh yes. She..............sing beautifully. 6 A: Shall I cook dinner tonight? B: No, you.............We're going to a restaurant.
1 You had better ask your teacher to help you with your studies. You ought to/should ask your teacher to help you with your studies. 2 Can you hold this bag for me, please? 3 Why don't we go for a picnic this weekend? 4 It wasn't necessary for John to go to work because it was Sunday. 5 We managed to do the puzzle, although it was difficult. 6 You are to report to the manager as soon as you reach Manchester. 7 You are forbidden to enter this area. 8 Do you mind if I take this chair? 9 You don't need to feed the dog. I've already done it. 10 You ought to have locked the doors when you went out. 11 I strongly advise you to take legal action. 12 We are supposed to obey the law.
1 Shall I make you a cup of tea? A Yes, please. В No, you won't. 2 Would you help me please? My car won't start. A I'd be happy to. В Yes, I would. 3 Could you open the door for me, please? A Yes, I could. В Of course. 4 Can you do the washing-up for me, please? A No, I may not. В No problem. 5 We could go for a walk this afternoon. A That's a nice idea. В No, we might not. 6 Could I sit down for a minute, please? A Yes, of course. В No, you couldn't. 7 Can I get you anything, madam? A No, you can't. В No, thank you. I'm just looking. 8 Can I go and play football now, please? A Not at all. В Yes, if you like.
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