Presentation on theme: "MODALS May, might, can, could. Modals give an indication of a speaker’s attitude and of the relationship between the speaker and the person spoken to."— Presentation transcript:
MODALS May, might, can, could
Modals give an indication of a speaker’s attitude and of the relationship between the speaker and the person spoken to. Modals can indicate degrees of certainty, uncertainty, formality, informality, tentativeness, respect and politeness.
ABILITY Can: expresses ability in the present. -He’s lucky he can remember facts very easily Could: expresses general ability in the past. - When I was a child I could speak welsh but now I’ve forgotten it completely. To talk about achievement or something that was done with difficulty, we do not use could. We can use was/were able to, managed to + infinitive or succeeded in + verb + -ing. - She managed to/ was able to memorise all the words before the test. - On holiday they succeeded in holding a conversation with a vocabulary of just 50 words
We can also use was/were able to, managed to + infinitive or succeeded in + verb -ing to express that someone was successful in doing something on one occasion. -Were you able to get his autograph after the concert? -We managed to find my mobile phone by ringing my own number. - After queuing for an hour, we succeeded in getting tickets for the show.
PERMISSION Can is often used to express permission and cannot/can’t is often used to express prohibition in the present and in general time. Could and couldn’t are used to express permission and prohibition in the past. - You can leave whenever you want (permission) - In the UK, children cannot leave school until they are 16. (prohibition) - In the 1950s, children in the UK could leave school at 14. (permission) - In the 1950s in the UK, young adults couldn’t vote until they were 21. (prohibition)
May is sometimes used to express permission and prohibition in the present. It is more formal and polite than can. - Members may not wear jeans or t-shirts at formal ceremonies.
REQUESTS, SUGGESTIONS AND POLITE ORDERS Can and could are both used to make offers and requests and to give polite orders and suggestions. Can is informal. Could is neutral. - Can/could I help you with that? (offer) - Can/could you test me on these words? (request) -You can/could check the recipe and find the ingredients while I wash up. (polite order/ suggestion) Might is sometimes used to request permission very politely but is usually used only in highly formal situations. - Might I be allowed to give an opinion on this matter? - Might I suggest that we take a vote on this proposal?
POSSIBILITY AND PROBABILITY POSSIBLILITY OF EVENTS AND SITUATIONS IN THE PRESENT AND FUTURE May Could Might: Lower probability Could not / couldn’t: almost total certainty - She could decide to take the early train. (possible) -She may get here on time if she catches the early train. (possible) -She might get here on time if she catches the early train. (less probable) -She couldn’t arrive before 10, it is impossible. (certain)
EVENTS AND SITUATIONS IN THE PAST May Might + have + past participle Could - They are late. They may have been held up in the rush hour traffic. - I left a message at their hotel but they might not have got it yet. - They couldn’t have met by coincidence in London, it’s too big. POSSIBILITIES IN THE PAST THAT WE KNOW DIDN’T HAPPEN May Might + have + past participle Could - Didn’t you use a map? You might have got lost. (But you didn’t) - She was very intelligent and could have gone to the university. (But she didn’t)
EXPRESS NEGATIVE CERTAINTY ABOUT THE PRESENT BASED ON AN EVIDENCE Cannot Can’t -This bill can’t be right, we’ve had only twoo coffees! Cannot Can’t - This doesn’t taste like pizza, she can’t have followed the recipe. + have + past participle
THEORETICAL POSSIBILITY Can Could: less confidence than can. -The school can take 1000 pupils and it usually does. -The school could take 1000 pupils but it would be difficult in terms of space. EVENTS AND SITUATIONS IN THE IMMEDIATE PRESENT AND IN THE FUTURE May Might + be + verb + -ing Could -Where is Sam? He might be studying in his room -Fiona could be managing her own company a year from now.
EXCERCISES -He is happy, he…………play the piano -In my job I…………… in writting an inform. -Were you………………. (kill) him before they got back? -You..……… (eat) whatever you want. -Students………………. (not go) to the bathroom during the classes. -………… you find the answer for me? -…………. ……….. (allowed) to give an opinion on this matter? can succeeded able to kill Can eat May not go Could Might I be allowed
EXERCISES She…………. be here at time if she leaves work early. They haven’t answered jet, they………………………… (not read) my letter. He was immensely rich, he..…………………….(buy) the ring. (but he didn’t) She………….be in china, I saw her just five minutes ago. This is not green, you………………………(mix) blue and yelow. He……..eat four hot dogs in a minute and he usually does. He………go by car, but there is so much traffic Why Sarah is not here? She………..be coming right now. might might not have read could have bought can’t can’t have mixed can could might