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.
 

Comments

Hello,

I have a doubt: for requests in formal order of polite, I use can, could, may and might?

Thanks

Hello Glauci,

You can find information on requests on this page.  You can find an exercise on requests and offers on this page [offers and requests are often put together].

Remember that making requests is a functional use of the language rather than a grammatical system. There are many ways of making requests, some of them purely reliant on intonation.  For example, the sentence 'It's hot' could be a statement of fact, an exclamation of surprise, a question or a request for a drink, depending on the context and the intonation used.

Intonation is also key to politeness.  The same sentence can be polite or rude, depending on how it is said.  For this reason, it is very difficult to say which modals, for example, are more or less polite.  All of them can be used politely if the intonation is appropriate.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team 

could someone tell me the we can use can,could,may and would for request. Then what is the difference in the uses of these for requesting. Please explain with nice examples.

Hello Yadraj,

Our grammar pages have explanations of the various uses of the different modal verbs. Please take a look at them - for example, ability, permission, requests and advice. There you will find both explanations and examples. After you've done that, you're welcome to ask us questions that aren't already answered there.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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,

Kirk
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.

Thanks,

Luciano.

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,

 

Peter

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,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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