Modal verbs are unusual verbs that express modality.
They have some differences from normal verbs, the most important one is: › Modal verbs do not take "-s" in the third person in singular. Examples: He can speak Chinese. She should be here by 9:00.
Had to: Sorry I’m late, I had to post some letters..
Should have and ought to have: The parcel I sent you should have arrived by now. You shouldn’t have eaten so much last night. I should have thought you knew. It was strange that you should have been staying in the same hotel last year. I’ve done the washing up for you. –Oh, you really shouldn’t have!
Could have and couldn’t have: David could have won the race if he had tried. (possibility/ability) It could have been Sue, I suppose. (uncertainty) We couldn’t have been happier in those days. She could have gone to the party with her friends. (bus she didn’t)
Could: When I was sixteen I could stay out till 11.00. (I was allowed to) Mary could swim when she was three. (she actually did) Compare: Mary could have swum when se was three. (but she didn’t) May have and might have: You might have drowned! I suppose I may have been rather critical. They might not have received our letter yet.
You might have told me my trousers were split! I might have known that he would be late. Must have and can’t have Someone must have taken it. (I am sure they did) You can’t have lost it. (I am sure you didn’t) Surely you can’t have eaten all of it! Surely you must have noticed it!
Would not: Everyone was angry because Sam wouldn’t turn off the television. Would have: I would have accepted this job, but I didn’t want to move house. A: Someone called after you left but didn’t leave a message. B: That would have been Cathy, probably.
Needn’t have and didn’t need to: You needn’t have paid all at once. (you did pay) I didn’t need to go to the dentist again, luckily. Adverbs and modals: You coul easily have been killed. I might just take up on that. You couldn’t really have managed without me. I might well decide to come.
Don’t have to and must not: › Don’t have to: You don’t have to work tomorrow
Must not › You must not leave the room until we finish our presentation
Expectation: › This film *should be very good Recommendation › I think you *should talk it over with your parents Criticism of an action › You *shouldn’t eat so much late at night
Uncertainty › Should I leave this papers on the desk? Should and verbs of thinking › I should think that model would sell quite well Conditional sentences
Is used to express possibility or uncertainty › This could be the house To express possibility or impossibility › The situation couldn’t be worse
To make suggestions › We could go to see that film To express unwillingness › I couldn’t possibly leave Tim here on his own
To make criticism › You can be very annoying, you know! To refer to capability › Winter here can be really cold
They only refer to present time. If they are expressing certainty, they are opposites: › This must be our stop › This can’t be our stop
To express although clauses › She may be the boss, but that is no excuse for shouting like that May/might as well › Nobody else is going to turn up now for the lesson, so you may as well go home
Both express uncertainty. May is often used in formal language › The peace conference may find a solution to the problem Special use: › Try as I might, I could not pass my driving test
To emphasize something that the speaker wants to happen › I shall give up smoking this year Formal rules and regulations › No player shall pick up or move the ball of another player
To express an assumption › Subject A: The phone’s ringing › Subejct B: that’ll be for me Will/won`t can be used to emphasize an action, forbid it in response to a will action › I’ll take the money anyway! › You won’t › I will
Often used where a conditional sense is understood but not stated › Nobody would agree that idea
Need to is a modal auxilary and behaves like a normal verb › Do you need to use the photocopier? Need is a modal auxiliary, but mainly in question and negative forms › Need you make so much noise?
Can be an intransitive verb followed by infinitive with “to” › I didn’t dare to say anything It can also be a modal auxiliary, mainly in questions and negatives › She dare not refuse
Had better: recommendation › You’d better not phone her again Be bound to: makes a future prediction of certainty › It’s bound to rain tomorrow