Level: beginner

The modal verbs are: 



We use modals to show if we believe something is certain, possible or impossible:

My keys must be in the car.
It might rain tomorrow.
That can't be Peter's coat. It's too small.

We also use them to do things like talk about ability, ask permission, and make requests and offers:

I can't swim.
May I ask a question?
Could I have some tea, please?
Would you like some help?

Modal verbs




Hi again shabbo22,

The difference between these two questions is the time: the first is a question in the past simple, and the second is in the present perfect. This difference is explained on our talking about the past page (see especially parts 1 and 3) and in this short video from Word on the Street. You might also find it helpful to read through the comments on both of those pages, as this is a topic that many people have questions on.

After you've looked at those resources, please don't hesitate to ask us another question on either of those pages.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

thank you Kirk.

 could you explain the usage of did and have, when do you use did and have in a question?

Hi shabbo22,

Have you seen our page on question forms? This is explained in some detail on that page. After reading it, if you still have questions, please don't hesitate to ask us!

Best regards,

The LearnEnglish Team


I am quite demented about the usage of modals may, might and could.These are used to express possibility,but might and could are past forms.Please explain

How can you use these three modals to express possibility and in what sense and degree?

Kindly please provide explanations along with examples.

With kind regards,


Hello Livon4090,

We are a small team here on LearnEnglish and we have to respond to many comments every day, so it's not possible for us to provide long explanations of quite large areas of grammar such as this - that is why we have the grammar explanation pages.  You can find examples and explanations for these modals used to express possibility on this page, and you can find information on the same modals used with 'have' here.  Please look at the examples there and if you have any questions about those examples, or if you have any other sentences you're not sure about, then please post them and we'll try to help you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Pete,
The following sentences are used for future possibility ,but not sure.

  1. They might come later (=perhaps/maybe they will come later)
  2. They may come by car (perhaps/maybe they will come by car)
  3. If we don't hurry we could be late (= perhaps/maybe we will be late)

Can we interchange the modals in the above three sentences.For example

  1. They could come later (=perhaps/maybe they will come later)
  2. They could come by car (=perhaps/maybe they will come by car)
  3. If we don't hurry we might/may be late (=perhaps/maybe we will be late)

I hope to hear from you soon.
Best wishes,

Hi Livon,

Yes, the first three sentences are all correct and all of them express possibility. The second set of three sentences with different modals are also all correct.

Good work!

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Kirk for your response.Now please take a look at the following sentences and see if they are correct.

I might do it later (=perhaps/maybe I will do it later)

I may go to the party(=perhaps/maybe I will go to the party)

I could visit my friend's house(=perhaps/maybe I will visit my friend's house)


These sentences are expressing future possibility if I am right.


Please reply me kirk soon.


Best wishes,







Hello Livon,

The three sentences are all correct and can be used in the ways you suggest.  The first two (may and might) suggest choices: you can choose to do these things or not.  The last one (could) suggests possibility - for example, that you have enough time to do this. In other words, the first two sentences start from the position (assume that we know this) that the action is possible and tell us that you have options; the last sentence tells us that the action is possible (assumes that we may not know this).

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team