The modal verbs are can, could, may, might, mustshall, should, will and would.

The modals are used to show that we believe something is certain, probable or possible:

Possibility:

We use the modals could, might and may to show that something is possible in the future, but not certain:

They might come later. (= Perhaps/Maybe they will come later.)
They may come by car. (= Perhaps/Maybe they will come by car.)
If we don’t hurry we could be late. (= Perhaps/Maybe we will be late)

We use could have, might have and may have to show that something was possible now or at some time in the past:

It’s ten o’clock. They might have arrived now.
They could have arrived hours ago.

We use the modal can to make general statements about what is possible:

It can be very cold in winter. (= It is sometimes very cold in winter)
You can easily lose your way in the dark. (= People often lose their way in the dark)

We use the modal could as the past tense of can:

It could be very cold in winter. (= Sometimes it was very cold in winter.)
You could lose your way in the dark. (= People often lost their way in the dark)

Impossibility:

We use the negative can’t or cannot to show that something is impossible:

That can’t be true.
You cannot be serious.

We use couldn’t/could not to talk about the past:

We knew it could not be true.
He was obviously joking. He could not be serious.

Probability:

We use the modal must to show we are sure something to be true and we have reasons for our belief:

It’s getting dark. It must be quite late.
You haven’t eaten all day. You must be hungry.

We use must have for the past:

They hadn’t eaten all day. They must have been hungry.
You look happy. You must have heard the good news.

We use the modal should to suggest that something is true or will be true in the future, and to show you have reasons for your suggestion:

Ask Miranda. She should know.
It's nearly six o'clock. They should arrive soon.

We use should have to talk about the past:

It's nearly eleven o'clock. They should have arrived by now.

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

hello,i am abdel hamid , thank you for the session.
I need more about how can i be able to get motivation for speaking well english , despite i have been  studying at university .

Hi,I'm a new member .
looking forward to a better English. what's the best and easiest way for that
Thank you very much

Hi Souci,
Welcome to LearnEnglish! I don't believe there is one best way for everyone to learn English. Firstly, you have to think about why you want to learn it and which skills are most important to you. Someone who wants to write essays in English needs to study in a different way from someone who just wants to speak English to hotel staff on holiday. So, what are your goals?
Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

thank you for  comment adam ,would you please do more for learning

I have registred my self as new person to be learn english well, so how can i study?

first of all , i'd lide to thank everybody creating this famous school ( british council)
it's really a huge resources for all of  us !!
again many thanks !

hi i am blasido aneed help to writer english  grammas  is very hard for me

hello,
i thank  the team for making this program available  for everybody. i want really learn English, but i have always some difficulties in conjunctions. i wonder if u can give some advices.
thank u

Thanks ,john

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I believe the first one is pefect.
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Regards,
Raja

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