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.



Hello marik12s,

As I said in my earlier comment, all of these are possible. Which is required depends upon the context and the speaker's intention.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


Please kindly advise what modals should be used after expressions of fear, e.g. "I fear that I ____ be imprisoned". Is the use of could/would will be correct?

Thanks a lot in advance!

Hello marik12s,

There are many possible modal verbs which would be correct in that sentence. Both 'could' and 'would' are possible, but so are others such as 'will', 'might', must' and others. Without knowing what the speaker wishes to say it is not possible to say which one is required.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


What is the difference between simple present and ''will' when expressing habitual event, action...

"Yesterday, I went to my favourite cafe and I ordered the usual: a vanilla latte... (...) ...Sometimes, I ''will order'' or ''order'' a coffee cake if I'm feeling a little hungry.

Thank you

Hello JamlMakav,

Most of the time, the simple present would be used to describe this sort of situation or action. As you've noticed (good work!), 'will' can also be used to talk about typical actions or behaviour, but this is not nearly as common.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

hello sir
i am confused to use ( have to) or (must) . i have three sentences and i would like to know why using ( must ) or ( have to) is right or wrong here
1. He's very ill, he must stay in bed. or He's very ill, he has to stay in bed.

2.They are happy because they don't have to wear a uniform in their new school. or They are happy because they mustn't wear a uniform in their new school.

3. You mustn't worry about her ! She’s all right now! or You don't have to worry about her ! She’s all right now!

Hello ibrahemyacoup,

In the affirmative the meanings of 'have to' and 'must' are very similar. 'Must' often implies an obligation which you have set yourself - it is your own decision - while 'have to' implies an external obligation set by rules or laws of some kind.

In both your first example both options are possible. Which is better depends on the context and the speaker's intention.

In the negative form 'don't have to' means that there is no obligation. You can do the action or not, as you wish. However, 'mustn't' means that you are not allowed to do it.

In your second example 'have to' is more likely as having the choice of wearing or not wearing is more likely to make people happy than not having a choice.

In your third example both forms are possible. 'Mustn't' here represents strong advice: it is not a good idea to worry about her. It has a sense of 'please don't let yourself get upset'. 'Don't have to' means there is no need to do this because the person is getting better, though worrying was the right thing to do before.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

For #1 and #3, the use of (have to) or (must) is identical. A speaker might have a personal preference for one or the other, but there's no difference in the meaning.
For #2, the meaning is similar but different. (don't have to) means that they can wear a uniform (if they want to) but there is no requirement to. I.e. Uniform or no uniform, both are okay. By contrast, (mustn't) means that, even if they wanted to wear a uniform, they must not. Only 'no uniform' is okay.
I hope this helps.


When modals are used in reported speech, how do they change? (especially: must and needn't)

are these sentences correct?

‘You needn’t come till six o’clock,’ he said.
He said we needn’t come till six o’clock.

She said, ‘You must pay by 30th April.’
She said we had to pay by 30th April.

‘It must be awful to live in such a noisy place,’ she said.
She said it must be awful to live in such a noisy place.

Many thanks.