2. Modal Verbs
•Modal verbs are special verbs which behave irregularly in English.
•The modal verbs are also known as modal auxiliary verbs, modal auxiliaries and
Subject + Modal Verb + Verb
They never change their form. You can't add "s", "ed", "ing“ at end of the modal
•She cans write the novel
•I will reading that book soon
•I should watched that movie
The modal verbs are always followed by an infinitive without "to“
•You can to dance.
•I may to buy that car
The modal verbs never combine with another modal verb or auxiliaries
•I will can dance in the new year [wrong]
•I will dance in the new year party or I can dance in the new year party [Right]
•I had could visit [wrong]
•I had visited or I could visit [Right]
Usage 1: To show Ability or lack of ability
•I can learn English within a month.
•I can wake up at 4 am. Can you manage to do that?
•They can not dance.
•They can't reach here on time.
Usage 2: To give or not giving a permission
•You can ask me anytime.
•You can park your car here.
•You can’t enter into my cabin like this.
•You can’t smoke here.
Usage 3: To show possibility or impossibility
•Smoking can cause cancer.
•You can speak fluently if you practice more.
•You can’t get fat by eating 1 chocolate.
•I can’t learn this way. .
Usage 1: To show Ability or lack of ability in the past
•You could have fallen.
•I could work for 8 hours without any break 3 years back.
•I couldn’t sleep last night.
•I couldn’t bring the books.
Usage 2: To make a request in a polite form.
•Could you get me a cup of tea?
•Could you switch on the TV, please?
Note: It can’t be in negative form.
Usage 3: To make a suggestion or show possibility
•We could go for a movie after Saturday shift [suggestion]
•Oh! Someone is at door. It could be Sam.
Note: It can’t be in negative form.
Usage 1: To ask for permission
•May I take leave today?
•May I use your phone, please?
Note: It’s always in question form. Can’t be use with negative sentences
Usage 2: To show strong possibility in present or future
•He may bring flowers today.
•It may happen again.
•That client may not accept this proposal.
Usage 1: To show possibility in present or future [weaker than May]
•He might bring flowers today.
•It might happen again.
•That client might not accept this proposal.
Usage 2: To show possibility in past
•He might have missed that train.
•That client might dislike the idea in the last meeting.
•If we had done some more practice, we might have scored better.
17. Overuse of Can
Generally, we overuse ‘can’, which is acceptable, but not the best practice.
Use below modal verbs for the mentioned situations:
Asking for permission: May
Possibility: may[strong]/ might[weaker]/ could
Usage 1: To show future possibility/probability, [use in future simple]
•I will watch that video session tonight.
•I will do more practice of Grammar tenses.
•I will come to office after holidays.
•I will not join that meeting.
Usage 2: Making an offer or to give an invite.
[More commonly used with pronoun ‘You’]
•Will you join us for coffee?
•Will you be part of my team?
Usage 1: To show habit in the past. [can be replaced with ‘Used to’]
•When I was young, I would walk miles.
•When she was in the college, she would play the piano in each college event.
Usage 2: Making a request with pronoun ‘you’. [can be replaced with ‘could’]
•Would you get me a cup of tea?
•Would you switch on the TV, please?
Usage 3: Polite expressions.
•What would you like to have? [polite and formal] than saying
•What do you like to have?
•I would like to have a cup of tea [polite and formal] than saying
•I want a cup of tea
Usage 1: To show future possibility/probability more formally, [use in future
[It can be used only with pronoun ‘I’ and ‘We’]
•I shall be in the training center by then.
•We shall discuss on this topic with our manager.
Usage 2: To make an offer or suggestion
[It can be used only with pronoun ‘I’ and ‘We’. Normally used in question form]
•Shall I call doctor?
•Shall we begin the meeting now?
•Shall I bring coffee for you?
•Shall we go for a break now?
Usage 1: To express an opinion [more politely]
•We should get more time with our family.
•He should get better job.
•I should live in India.
•He should arrive any minute.
Usage 2: To give or ask for an advise
•You should practice more exercises to improve your English.
•You should have some rest.
•He shouldn’t leave the classes now!
27. Ought to instead of Should
To make sentence more formal, you can use ‘ought to’ instead of ‘should’.
However, it is less commonly used.
•We ought to get more time with our family.
•He ought to get better job.
•You ought to have some rest.
*’ought to’ shouldn’t be used in question form as standard practice.
Usage 1: To show a necessity in present and future
•You must be serious about English learning.
•You must practice more reading, writing and speaking exercises in English.
Usage 2: To show prohibition in present or future
•You mustn’t use phone while you drive.
•You must not use the mobile phone during the meeting.
Usage 3: Expressing an assumption with strong certainty.
•You must be tired after two back to back meetings.
•He must have overhear our conversation.
•She must have reached home by now.
31. Any Questions?
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