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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




Please explain the difference between the two sentences and provide some details about the structure and meaning.
1.Do you mind me being here while you’re working?
2.Do you mind my being here while you’re working?

Hello Mussorie,

There is no difference in meaning here. In this and similar constructions you can use either the object pronoun or the possessive adjective with the -ing form. Both are in common use and are acceptable but I think the form with the object pronoun (me) is more informal and less likely to be used in formal contexts.


You can read a brief discussion of the topic here:



The LearnEnglish Team

Please explain the difference.
1.I phoned at six o'clock. I knew he would have got home by then.
2.I phoned at six o'clock. I knew he had got home by then.
And one more question regarding the usage of "will have" in the context of looking back from the present. is 6:00 clock. The match will have started.
Why don't we use would instead of will here? Because it seems like the activity of the match started in the past from the present, then it should be would, right.
Please explain to me the details of the question.

Hello Mussorie,

In both 1 and 2, you are reporting that the thing you imagined has been confirmed, but the verb form in 1 suggests that someone else was doubting your supposition.

In the other sentence, 'will have started' is used because the time reference point is the present time (6:00). We use 'would' to speak about the future from the perspective of the past, but the time reference point here is present. The beginning of the match in the past is suggested, but not stated.

Hope this helps.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi team,
I want to know one more thing.
I am trying to learn 'reduced adjective clauses' and I am confused about one thing.
Can I reduce the clause containing modal verbs(can, will, may, might, etc.) ? İf it is yes, is it a common?

I want to give an example sentences
can I say

The man who can fix your roof is my friend. =The man fixing your roof is my friend.

Thank you and best wishes!

Hello Nevı,

No, I'm afraid that doesn't work. Normally the verb forms in reduced relative clauses replace non-modal verbs, usually in the present continuous, present simple or past simple.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

You've been really helpful.I really appreciate it.

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