Level: beginner


We use may, might and could to say that something is possible, but not certain:

They may come by car. (= Maybe they will come by car.)
They might be at home. (= Maybe they are at home.)
If we don't hurry, we could be late. (= Maybe we will be late.)

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

It can be very cold here in winter. (= It is sometimes very cold here in winter.)
You can easily get lost in this town. (= People often get lost in this town.)

Be careful!

We do not use can to talk about specific events:

A: Where's John?
B: I'm not sure. He may/might/could be 
(NOT can) in his office.

Notice the difference in meaning between can and may/might/could:

That dog can be dangerous.
(= Sometimes that dog is dangerous. I know.)

That dog may/might/could be dangerous.
(= Perhaps that dog is dangerous. I don't know.)

can and may/might/could


Level: intermediate

We use may have, might have or could have to make guesses about the past:

I haven't received your letter. It may have got lost in the post.
It's ten o'clock. They might have arrived by now.
Where are they? They could have got lost.

We use could to make general statements about the past:

It could be very cold there in winter. (= It was sometimes very cold there in winter.)
You could easily get lost in that town. (= People often got lost in that town.)

could and could have



Level: beginner

We use can't or cannot to say that something is impossible:

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

Level: intermediate

We use can't have or couldn't have to say that a past event was impossible:

They know the way here. They can't have got lost!
If Jones was at work until six, he couldn't have done the murder.


Level: beginner

We use must to show we are sure something is 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 should to suggest something is true and we have reasons for our suggestion:

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

Level: intermediate

We use must have and should 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.
It's nearly eleven o'clock. They should have arrived by now.

Probability 1


Probability 2


Probability 3


Probability 4


Probability 5




I like this site V.Much 
Thank you! everyone who arrange this programme

I did not understand clearly, about could, might, should and would. Are these modals in the past tense? If they are, is this right: "If we don’t hurry we could be late. (= Perhaps/Maybe we will be late)"? There is a rule "We use the modal could as the past tense of can".
Could you please explain?
Thank you in advance.

I am Thiago Pereira and my dream it is learn English. I need to get it. If someone can to help me I would stay so happy.

i am not the teacher of this web , i reply you for i hadn't found the message special for you .i am chinese , i also want to improve my English ,let's cheer up together ,we can make it~i believe you should learn by yourself ,nor wait for someone's help~

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salame  alaykume
may God bless      that   wwonderful   site  and   it's team    
thank  u   4 every  thing

it is very usefull

which one is correct?
1- I would be pleased if you send me......
2-I would please if you send me......

Hi Allabakhshi

Number 1 is the closest, but it isn't quite right. You are using a conditional statement and so you could say either:

  • I will be pleased, if you send me... (will clause + present clause)
  • or

  • I would be pleased, if you sent me... (would clause + past clause)

The second version is slightly more polite and used more frequently.

You can find more information about this here:




The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Jack
A lot of thanks for your reply, It was a very complete respond.
I would please if you always check my writing.
Beast regards