The modal verbs are:

can could
may might
shall should
will would
must  

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

Sir, I'd like to know more about should. Is it the same as "ought to"?
Can "should" be in continuous form?
please give me example.
thanks

Hi eribarongan,
I've just answered your other question about 'should' on another page and provided several links for you.  The pages following this one (click 'next' above) should provide you with the information you need, but in general 'ought to' and 'should' are very similar in meaning, though 'ought to' is much less common in modern English.
Best wishes,
 
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

nice
 

thank you 

Hi,

sentence 1: 'You must not hit your sister again! Do you understand?'
sentence 2: 'This is the non-smoking section. You can't smoke here.'

Can you explain to me the use of 'must' in sentence no.1 and the use of can't in the sentence no.2? I often get confused with the use of modal verb 'must'.

regards

Hi Theresa Andrew,

Both sentences describe things that are not allowed (prohibition), so the meaning is quite similar. The different is that 'must' in the first sentence suggests a more personal prohibition, while 'can't' in the second sentence suggests a rule or law which is not the speaker's decision. However, in many examples these overlap: something is prohibited both because the speaker thinks it is wrong and because it is illegal or against the rules, as in both sentences above. That is why either of the two modal verbs can often be used.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter,

Thank you for the explanation. My only concern is during APTIS test, both can be given as options unless I exactly know the use of the modal verbs, it's going to be tough in choosing the best answer. In the recent APTIS mock test, I had this confusion between the use of modal verb must with other verbs such as should and can't. I've tried many questions pertaining this modal verb even so I still make mistakes in answering the questions. Can you help me on how to overcome this confusion in answering exam oriented questions?

regards

Hi Theresa Andrew,

I appreciate the point you're making. However, it sounds like the issue is related to the specific context in the test and it's hard for me to address these without seeing the examples. Perhaps you could post the particular example(s) you have in mind and I'll try to explain them for you.

Best wishes,

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,

examples:

1. It's very valuable. You (should, must) be very careful with it.
2. I (must, should) remember to inform him about the delay.
3. You (must, should) not drink the tap water. It's not safe.
4. If it broke the day after you bought it, you (should, have got to) take it back to the shop.
5. Of course I'm worried. I (must, have got to) be at the airport in half an hour, and look at the traffic.

Can you help me to understand the use of modal verbs in these sentences? I answered all these questions wrongly.

regards

what is the difference between these two sentences, did you do your homework and have you done your homework?
 
 

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