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Modal verbs

Level: beginner

The modal verbs are: 



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




I have a couple question please..!
what the deference between these sentences:
The car wouldn't start this morning
The car didn't start this morning

& also what is the exactly meaning of the sentence

Reddington wouldn't tell us who abducted him


Hello Hemam,

'would' (and 'wouldn't') can be used to express unwillingness, in other words, the idea that someone or something doesn't want to do something. So in the first sentence, the idea is that the car didn't want to start. Most people don't actually believe that a car has desires, but sometimes when we feel we are unlucky, we speak this way to show the feeling of being unlucky. Other than this, these two sentences mean the same thing.

The sentence about Reddington could mean that we think he would never tell us this in any circumstance (here 'would' refers to hypothetical situations) or, if it's speaking about the past, it could mean that Redding refused to tell us. Which meaning it has depends on the context.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team


Hello. Which modal is correct to use in the following sentence?

- He will help you if you ask him, but I am not sure.
- He might help you if you ask him, but I am not sure.

Thank you.

Hi Ahmed Imam,

Might is the correct option. Might means there is some uncertainty about whether he will help you or not, and we know that the speaker is uncertain since he/she says 'I am not sure'. 

Will doesn't fit here, because it means the speaker is certain.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Which modal is correct and formal in the following sentence?
1- You have to phone him now. It’s very urgent.
2- You must phone him now. It’s very urgent.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Both sentences look fine to me and I don't see any difference in formality. Without any context there's no way to say which would be more suitable.



The LearnEnglish Team

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.



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.