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 Livon,

Yes, that is correct.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Pete ,
Please keep up the good work.
Best wishes,
Livon

Dear Teachers,
Firstly,could you please tell me the difference between possibility and probability.The bottom line is that I cannot figure out between the possibility and probability. How do you get a feel that its is a possibility or a probability ?
Would you please provide some lucid examples with explanations.
Best wishes,
Livon

Hi Livon,

Possibility and probability refer to how likely we think something is true. Imagine, for example, that you and I are in a park and we see a family wearing party hats and eating cake. We see the same situation and both speculate on the reasons for the party. Let's say that I'm convinced (see as probable) that the family is celebrating one of the children's birthday, whereas you aren't sure - you think it could possibly be a celebration of the parents' wedding anniversary.

In such a case, I could say, "They must be celebrating a birthday" (must indicates I am certain or view this as very probable). You could say, "Perhaps, but they might be celebrating a wedding anniversary" (might indicates that you think this is possible).

Does this help you?

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Dear Kirk,
Thank you very much for your swift response.
Please keep up the good work.
Best wishes,
Livon.

Dear teachers:
Could you help me....l'm really don't know about tenses,,,there we use only 16 tenses,,,,and in the internet l saw 26 tenses in english language.....!How many tanses have in english?
with refards
mirazh!
 

Hello MIRAZH,

This is a question which provokes a lot of discussion!  The consensus today is that English has two tenses - present and past.  This is because tenses are defined in linguistics as inflectional changes in the form of the verb (changes in the verb itself, not just adding auxiliary verbs) which show time and in English there are only two such forms.  Other verb forms (such as continuous and perfective aspects or passive voice), are made by adding extra words, such as auxiliary verbs, or by using other words (phrases like 'going to', for example, or modal verbs like 'will').

I hope that answers your question.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Teachers,
I am interested to know about the usage of 'would be'.
What it is used for?
Sometimes people say : ' It would be fun' or 'It would be difficult'. They might be talking in present here or future . But I think the sentence refers to the past as 'would' is the past form of 'will'. Could you please clarify it and provide some explanation for it.
What do you think?
With best wishes ,
Livon
 
 

Hello Livon,

The two sentences you provide are actually examples of conditional sentences in which the if-clause has been omitted - this is quite common in English.  For example:

'It would be fun [if we did it].'

'It would be difficult [if we tried to do it].'

In these kinds of conditional sentences the 'would + verb' form describes an unlikely or impossible present or future action or state.  You can find more information on this and related structures on this page and on this page.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Pete ,

I appreciate your help.

With kind regards,

Livon

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