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Examples of Modal verbs

Modal verbs

Post by natttt
Posted on 2011-01-10 02:04:33

They can control their own budgets.

We canít fix it.
Can I smoke here?
Can you help me?

Ability / Possibility
Inability / Impossibility
Asking for permission


Could I borrow your dictionary?
Could you say it again more slowly?
We could try to fix it ourselves.
I think we could have another Gulf War.

He gave up his old job so he could work for us.

Asking for permission.
Future possibility
Ability in the past


May I have another cup of coffee?
China may become a major economic power.

Asking for permission
Future possibility


We"d better phone tomorrow, they might be eating their dinner now.
They might give us a 10% discount.

Present possibility
Future possibility


We must say good-bye now.
They mustnít disrupt the work more than necessary.

Necessity / Obligation

Ought to

We ought to employ a professional writer.

Saying whatís right or correct


(More common in the UK than the US)

Shall I help you with your luggage?
Shall we say 2.30 then?
Shall I do that or will you?

Asking what to do


We should sort out this problem at once.
I think we should check everything again.
Profits should increase next year.

Saying whatís right or correct
Recommending action
Uncertain prediction


I canít see any taxis so Iíll walk.
I"ll do that for you if you like.
Iíll get back to you first thing on Monday.

Profits will increase next year.
Instant decisions
Certain prediction


Would you mind if I brought a colleague with me?
Would you pass the salt please?
Would you mind waiting a moment?
"Would three o`clock suit you?" - "Thatíd be fine."
Would you like to play golf this Friday?
"Would you prefer tea or coffee?" - "Iíd like tea please."

Asking for permission
Making arrangements

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