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

Good Day from Brasil, dear Friends.

I understand that there are almost 13.000 verbs in English and almost 700 regular verbs. Do You think that I can consider these numbers in my researches about English Verbs? Is there a number? Thanks a lot.

Sidarta Martins (Mr.)

Hello Sidarta Martins,

I'm afraid I don't have any figures available and I think estimates vary widely, so I can't help you with your research. It's an interesting topic and I'd like to know the answer too!

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hello Trulyyours4v,

Modal verbs do not have a different third person form, so we never use third-person 's' with them.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much Sir,Actually my question is in which auxiliary or other verbs we not use the "s" for singular 3rd person..example..She can go to cinema,here we not use "s" likewise I wanna know with other special verbs we may not use the "s'...I'm very weak in this singular 3rd person form as well as using "could". Thank you again for the wonderful service to the people like me...

Hello Trulyyours4v,

Modal auxiliary verbs, listed in this section, do not have the third-person inflection. Other verbs do.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Could you please advise:
‘Could’, ‘may’, would’, ‘might’. I have read that requests with ‘may’ and ‘might’ are unusual today and are considered by most people old-fashioned. However, our teacher and some other books say that ‘may’ and ‘might’ must be used to make formal requests. Are those two really old-fashioned (and how about American English too), or it is fine in the café of London to say: ‘may I have one coffee, please? ‘, or on the street to ask for help by using: ‘may you please help me? ‘
By the way, have I used a correct modal ‘must’ in my sentence: ‘must be used to make formal requests’?

Hello MarikaK,

It is very much context-dependent. I wouldn't say that you 'must' use a particular form to be polite or formal, nor that these forms sound old-fashioned. In an appropriate context they are perfectly acceptable. They are formal and very polite, but not unnatural.

The use of 'must' is fine.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello teacher, actually I have lots of questions here,
1- for request, Are all these options correct and same in meaning?, which is the best one if all acceptable?
can/could/may/might repeat that for me?
May/might/can/could I ask you question?
2-for offer, Are these all options correct and same in meaning? Which is the best one if all acceptable?
Can/could/may/might I help you?
3- in this sentebce, are all these options correct and same in meaning
He is verey ill. You shoud /must/have to call a doctor.
4-for expectation, what the difference in meaning when we use these modal verbs in this sentence?
He should /may/might arrive any minute.
5-Are all these options correct and same in meaning in thes sentence
if the flight was on time, he should /may /might arrive in Jakarta early this morning.
-For regret about past action, can we use must instead of should in this sentence
You should have been more careful.

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