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

Hi nidaz,

That sentence is fine. It means that playing cricket is normal for the person and is not anything new or unusual.

'Used to' can have another meaning when it is followed by an infinitive, but when followed by -ing it has the meaning described above.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi LearnEnglishTeam,

This is related to modal verbs.

whenever we use modal verbs,how should we spell it out,what makes sense?.For example,

1.john could have learnt things at ease.

suppose if a speaker spell out each below sentences with pause ,wherver i have plus mark,
while he/she speaks,in which sentence he/she is perfectly native or making sense?

i could have+learnt+things at ease,or,

i could have learnt + things at ease,or,

i could+have+learnt things at ease,or,

i could+have learnt +things at ease

Thanks.

Best Regards,
Nandish.

Hello Nandish,

Where a pause occurs depends upon the speaker's choice in terms of what information is emphasised, what is considered to be known and what new etc. The words 'could' and 'have' are linked in normal speech, with the 'have' weak rather than stressed. More than this depends, as I said, on the context.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi LearnEnglishTeam,

Please look into these sentences down below where i have used modal verb could,

1.i could do it when i was a kid,
2.i could do it tomorrow,
3.i could do it.

In the first one,i have clearly made it clear that it is past ability.
In the second one,i have clearly made it clear that it is future ability.
And in the third one,neither have i said past or future.So which time it is,past,future or present?

Please explain it at your convenience.

Best regards,
Nandish.

Hello Nandish,

On the context can clarify the meaning of sentence 3. Otherwise, as you observe, it is indefinite.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again Mr.Kirk,

Thank you for you reply.
i believe 'would' also works as 'could'.And how about 'might' for those
three sentences above?

when i say that i might learn english when i was a child,am i making any
sense?.why i wrote this way is,suppose i am talking to a person,and i am not
sure or i don't remember whether i was learningenglish in my chilhood.so i
just put it this way,as,'i might learn english when i was a child'.is this correct?.

And also please see if this understanding,down below, is correct.

we use 'may' for past in some constructions,as, may + have+past participle for,
might+have+ past participle.

can we use 'can' in that way like,can+have+past participle for
could+have+past participle?

Also,if i say i should learn english when i was a kid,am i making any sense?.

And i think finally,

May,and Must have same regularity in past ,present and future.

Because we can use 'i may have learnt english in my chilhood',but
not 'i may learn english when i was a kid'.
And also we can use'i must have learnt english in my
chilhood',but not 'i must learn english when i was a kid'.

And i believe Should,and Might have same regularity in past,present and future.

Because we can use 'i should have learnt english in my chilhood',and also 'i should
learn english when i was a kid'.
And also we can use 'i might i have learnt english in my chilhood',and also 'i might
learn english when i was a kid'.

And if say 'i might learn english next month',does this require 'if' conditional to
make complete sense.

And also if say 'i should learn english next month',does this require 'if' conditional
to make complete sense.

So my conclusion is,if 'may' is present replacement of 'might' in past,can i have 'shall' in
present as present replacement of should in past?

So i sincerely request to comment on each of this cases if possible,because
it would be verfy usefull.

Best regards,
Nandish.

Hello Nandish,

I'm afraid it's just not possible for us to answer such long and in-depth questions. If we tried to provide such a service then we would have no time to maintain the site, which is our main role here. We're happy to answer specific questions from time to time but what you are asking here is really for an in-depth explanation of every example. I understand that it would be useful for you, but I'm afraid this is a job for your teacher, and is not something we are able to do.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Mr.Peter,

It is ok,let me ask those questions part by part and get clarified in the long run.
I Wish you people could clarify little bit of 'should ' and 'might' in past.
And it is great to have been receiving such a great response from you people on queries.
And thanks anyway for giving visitors a big opportunity to learn sitting somewhere around
the world.I find no sites this helpful.

Best Regards,
Nandish.

Hi LearnEnglish Team,

are these equations correct?
could = was able
would = was + being

Please correct if am wrong,

Best Regards,
Nandish BC

Hello Nandish,

I'm afraid it's not that simple. Most words, and especially modal verbs, have multiples uses and meanings. You should read all the pages in this section to learn how these words work. I'd also recommend patience – it takes time to learn to use modal verbs.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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