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Modal verbs

Level: beginner

The modal verbs are: 

can
may
must
shall
will
could
might

should
would

We use modals to show if we believe something is certain, possible or impossible:

My keys must be in the car.
It might rain tomorrow.
That can't be Peter's coat. It's too small.

We also use them to do things like talk about ability, ask permission, and make requests and offers:

I can't swim.
May I ask a question?
Could I have some tea, please?
Would you like some help?

Modal verbs

MultipleChoice_MTYzNDI=

 

Comments

Hi teacher Peter,
I have 2 questions about in this sentence.
"Donations to charities can be offset against tax."
1)Could we add agent(like by sth.)?Could you give an example

2)Here,can we say directly "Donations to charities can offset against tax."
If so,why we don't say in active voice obviously ?

Hi Nuro,

1) Yes, you could add a phrase with by to the sentence:

Donations to charities can be offset against tax by both private individuals and companies.

2) Active voice does not work here as the donations are the object of the verb offset. The person paying tax offsets the donations.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Please, could you tell me which modal is suitable in the following sentence. Why?
- Do you know if we have to have a visa to visit North Korea?
- Do you know if we must have a visa to visit North Korea?
Thanks for your great efforts.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

I think have to is the most likely choice here as the question is about an external rule rather than a self-imposed obligation.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi team I have questions,
1-"Tina gave me a shopping list so that I wouldn't forget anything."
In this sentence, can we say
" ...so that I didn't forget anything."? what's the difference 2 of them?

Hi Nuro,

Both forms are possible here. If you imagine what Tina said then both don't forget and won't forget are possible:

I'll give you a shopping list so you won't forget anything.

I'll give you a shopping list so you don't forget anything.

It may seem strange to use the present simple (don't forget) with future meaning here, especially when 'will' is used in the first clause, but there are certain contexts in which this is possible: in sentences like the one above and after the phrase 'in case', for example.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks teacher,
I have been thinking this strange situation that you mentioned for 4 days.
I mean why we use simple present or modals instead of will to future events?Can you explain more detail? I am soo confused:(

Hello again Nuro,

It's actually a common feature of English. Remember that English does not have a grammatical future tense, but rather uses different grammatical structures to express future time: present forms (simple and continuous), modal verbs (including 'will'), going to and even past forms (for hypothetical futures).

 

You can read more about expressing future time on this page:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar-reference/talking-about-the-future

 

And you can read about verbs used in time clauses here:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar-reference/verbs-in-time-clauses-and-if-clauses

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Can we use "hasn't got to" instead of "doesn't have to" to express lack of necessity? Also, in questions, can we use "has she got to" instead of "Does she have to"? Is the following sentence correct?
- She hasn't got to do all this work today because she can do it next morning.
Thank you

Hi Ahmed Imam,

Yes! It is possible to use hasn't got to for this meaning, and your sentence is correct. But, hasn't got to is less commonly used than doesn't have to.

In questions, that's right - we can use Has she got to ... instead of Does she have to ... .

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

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