Level: intermediate

We can use a modal verb with have and a past participle:

Subject Modal have Past participle  
They will have arrived by now.
You might have seen the film.
Jack and Jill would have been late.

We use a modal verb with have:

  • to refer back from the present:

It's nearly eight o'clock. They will have arrived by now.

  • to refer back from a point of time in the past:

We were very worried. We thought someone might have taken the car.

  • to refer back from a point of time in the future:

We won't eat until they arrive. They might not have had supper.

  • to refer to past time:

You should have helped her when she asked.
They might have got lost. Nobody knows where they are.

Modal verbs with have 1


Modal verbs with have 2




Hello sir
"He could have reached the train" means: Perhaps he have reached the train.
So when we say: "He couldn't have reached the train" , does it mean: "Perhaps he haven't reached the train" ???? or it has other meanings??

Thank you

Hello Yasser Azizi,

Strictly, 'He could have reached the train' means that it was possible for him to reach the train, not that it might have happened. We would use this sentence even if we know that he did not reach the train. For example, we could say 'He could have reached the train, but he didn't even want to run'.

In the same way 'He couldn't have reached the train' is a logical deduction about something in the past. It means the same as It was not possible for him to reach the train.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

good day :)
is this statement correct please : " I must stayed awake for hours that day."
is it possible to use past tense on verbs while using models in the same sentence?
thank you

Hello loucia,

No, that is not a correct form. After modal verbs we use the base form ('must stay') or, with a perfect modal, a past participle ('must have stayed').


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Please tell me whether have to and able to are modal verbs
Many thanks

Hello sumanasc,

Although there are some very reputable learner's resources that call 'have to' a kind of modal verb (e.g. Oxford), most grammars do not include it in the list of modal verbs (see, for example, the Wikipedia entry on English modal verbs). The same is true for 'be able to'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

hello team
I know the grammatically rules for would have + pp in sentences but in the following sentence:

And I think that, to some extent, I missed out on that and( I would have like to have had that experience. ) the second sentence I put it in the bracket , is correct and how? thank in advance

Hello nicky62,

That sentence is perfectly fine except for one thing: instead of would have like you need would have liked. The section in brackets describes an experience you did not have in the past and expresses a regret about this. It is quite a common way to express regrets about the past:

I didn't go to France and I would have liked to have gone.

She didn't take the test in the end, sadly. She would have liked to have at least tried to pass it.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

thank you peter, you helped me a lot . I was confused by this sentence before your very nice comment. have a nice day

Is it correct to say "I'm sorry I couldn't have come when you needed me"?