MODALS

Kinds of modals and their use in English sentences:

No. MODAL USES PRESENT/FUTURE PAST
1. CAN Ability

Permission

I can do the test.

All students can enter the room

 

2. COULD Past ability

Polite questions

 

We could be in love.

Could I have your name?

3. MAY Permission

Possibility

May I enter the room?

They may be late.

They may have been here yesterday.
4. MIGHT possibility

 

She might come tonight
5. SHOULD/OUGHT TO Advisability

expectation

 

You should study hard.

My mother should pick me up soon.

6. HAD BETTER Strong advisability

 

You had better be on time or we will go without you.
7. MUST Necessity

conclusion

I must go now.

She is not here, she must be absent today.

 

8. HAVE TO necessity

 

I have to see him.
9. HAVE GOT TO necessity I have got to go

 

10 WILL Simple future

Polite request

I will study English tonight.

Will you close your book?

 

11 WOULD Polite request

Preference

conditional

 

Would you mind opening the door?

I would rather to go by car.

If I found money, I would keep it.

12 SHALL Simple future(I and we)

Polite questions (suggestion)

I shall arrive there tomorrow.

Shall I make you a cup of tea?

 

‘Should‘ (do) is used to say what we think is a good thing to do or the right thing to do (to give opinion about something). We often use should when we ask for or give an opinion about something.

For example:

  • I don’t think you should work so hard.
  • The government should do something about the economy.
  • You’ve been coughing a lot. You shouldn’t smoke so much.

‘Should’ is also to say something is not right or not we expect.

For example:

  • Those children shouldn’t be playing. They should be at school.

For the past, we use ‘should have’ (done) to say that someone did the wrong thing:

For example:

  • She’s feeling sick. She shouldn’t have eaten so much chocolate.
  • Why were you at home yesterday? You should have been at school.

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