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Modals with 'have'

Level: intermediate

We can use a modal verb with have and a past participle:

Subject Modal have Past participle  
They will have arrived by now.
You might have seen the film.
Jack and Jill would have been late.

We use a modal verb with have:

  • to refer back from the present:

It's nearly eight o'clock. They will have arrived by now.

  • to refer back from a point of time in the past:

We were very worried. We thought someone might have taken the car.

  • to refer back from a point of time in the future:

We won't eat until they arrive. They might not have had supper.

  • to refer to past time:

You should have helped her when she asked.
They might have got lost. Nobody knows where they are.

Modal verbs with have 1


Modal verbs with have 2




Hello ahmednagar,

The difference here is one of perspective: how the speaker sees the action. If we say 'gone' then we are treating the action as complete and as a whole. If we say 'going' then we are looking at the action as something that was in progress. We often use the 'going' form when the action was interrupted by something else, but the two sentences are very close in meaning and often both are possible.

You can read more about this kind of distinction on this page dealing with the present perfect simple and continuous.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

thank you so much

Hi Sir ;

The below sentence is correct ?.

If we use this method to solve this problem, we should have clear facts.

Can we use "should have" with noun ?.

Here, I put the word "should" to the sentence like "We have a book "
We should have a book.

Hello pumbi,

Yes, that sentence is correct. 'should' is the modal verb (for giving advice) and 'have' (indicating possession) is the infinitive that goes with it. This is different from the modal + have + past participle structure that is explained on this page; in this structure, 'have' is still an infinitive but does not express possession but rather perfective aspect, i.e. the past.

Yes, you can absolutely use a noun after 'should have', just as in your sentences about clear facts and a book, because 'have' can be followed by a noun.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

"It is nearly eight o’clock. They will have arrived by now."

It is nearly eight o’clock. They might have arrived by now.

which one correct both this sentence?

Hello taj25,

Both sentences are correct grammatically, though the meaning is different ('might have' shows possibility; 'will have' shows a more certain prediction or expectation).


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello! I wonder which one is correct
1. It should have voided.
2. It should be voided.
I want to say that a transaction has done and it can't be voided anymore.
Please help me thank you.

Hello jarljudele,

A voided transaction is one which is cancelled before completion, so if the transaction has been completed (as I understand from what you wrote) then you can only give advice about what should have been. In that case you would say:

It should have been voided (but was not, and so the transaction was completed)


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much!
That was very helpful.

Is there a timeline for should have+pp?
Is it a tense? Can we draw a timeline for it?