Modal verbs


The modal verbs are:

can could
may might
shall should
will would

We use modal verbs to show if we believe something is certain, probable or possible (or not). We also use modals to do things like talking about ability, asking permission making requests and offers, and so on.


Hello sir,
Could you tell me difference between the following sentences.
1. You must not speak when the teacher is speaking.
2 you have not to speak when the teacher is speaking.
Are these sentences meaning same? I think in both sentences obligations have come.

Hi akhi,

I'm afraid that sentence 2 is not correct in standard English. must not can be used to indicate a prohibition, but have to in the negative (don't have to) only indicates the lack of necessity (not prohibition).

You mustn't speak (= it is prohibited to speak)
You don't have to speak (= it is not necessary to speak)

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I'm glad to join you and I've read all the answers about the modals before to ask that but I still have a doubt. I'm studying Present perfect and I want to know if it's possible to use 'might' meaning 'could'. For instance, what's the difference between the following sentences:
1. It might have done.
2. It could have done.



Hello lucianombs,

These are example of modals of deduction in the past and they are essentially interchangeable.  You can think of three levels of certainty with these kinds of modals:

It must have done. [I'm very confident that it did]

It could/might/may have done. [I'm not sure if it did or not]

It can't have done. [I'm very confident that it didn't]

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi LearnEnglish Team !
Any chance I can find a lesson on "NEED" (as a modal and/or ordinary verb) somewhere in your site ?(I have done a bit of searching but I could not find a specific lesson).
Thank you in advance for your help.
Best regards

Hi Françoise,

You can find an explanation of different uses of 'need' and some exercises on this language page from Word on the Street - but I recommend you work through the whole episode, which you can find here.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Peter,
This site is really a great help. Thanks to all you people helping us.
I have just looked at the side bar help, lot of grammar indeed, but I may use this opportunity to ask about "use of prepositions".

More specifically would you please send me the link where can I find detailed discussion about the use of preposition. Particularly, the verbs with preposition and discussions about signpost.


Hello Saman Toor,

We have a page devoted to prepositional phrases, which I think will be just what you are looking for.  There are also many activities on prepositions on other pages, such as on pages related to different listening or reading materials.  You can find these by using the search window on the right - type in 'prepositions' and you'll see many exercises in the results.

I hope those links are useful.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello there!

I'm back here after nearly 2 months.So it's great to be here again.
I want to know that can we say some sentences without modal verbs? as an example
1)interpretation would always have to be done.
Can we sat that 'interpretation always have to be done?'
Please explain this and now i cant see that features had in here.bold,italic,bulletin.

Thank you.