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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




Hello Bilal Riaz,

We use both ‘may’ and ‘might’ when we’re not sure about something and nowadays they are used interchangeably with this meaning. Some people consider ‘may’ to be slightly more formal, but I think it’s really a question of personal style, and you can use both of them so you don’t repeat the same words all the time. There is a difference in how we use ‘may have’ and ‘might have’, and there is are some differences in how we use them in requests. For more information on how we use them both take a look at the summary here.
Thanks for an interesting question which I’m sure a lot of people have been wondering about.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Learn English team
First thing i would like to thank you for the great job .
I am working on research of modals verbs , I would like to know the resources of modals verb to put it in my  research , if there is any book ? please write it to me .
If that job belong to Adam Jk and Jeremy Bee only please let me know .
thank in advance

Hello Nisreen!
Interesting to know you're researching modal verbs - they're an important area in English! Our grammar pages were written specially for us, but there are a lot of grammar books which talk about modals in more detail. My first choice of reference is Swan's Practical English Usage, but other teachers use other books.
Good luck with your research!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish

Hello Jeremy Bee
Thanks for your reply

hi jeremy,
will you please make some sentences using 'may arise from....', 'if i may say so,.." 'i might have guessed..' i have no idea what does they mean?? please..

Hello Jeremy and Adam
I hope both of you are having a great time,
but I need to get form you advice because I'm getting worry about my English knowledge. I got level B2 last year and it was great. I got 4.8 out 5 that is a great grade but now it's passed almost four months since I finished classes and the lack of practice is killing (both me and) my knowledge. It seems I'm  forgetting all stuffs! No talk about speaking. That's getting worse!
I need desperately your advice. What can I do to keep on improving? I don't know. If I had a review of grammar all things seems to be so demanding and complicated, all things hard to remember easily without practicing. 
So guys, yes I'm a little bit frustrated. I'd love to travel abroad but it's not possible right now. So what do you think could be effective for my learning?
Ok that's all. Thanks for your supporting work. See you around!

Hello Nibelungo!
Congratulations on your test result - that's really pretty good!
As for forgetting stuff, in English we say 'Use it or lose it'! If you don't practice, you will find you forget your English. However, even if you can't travel to an English speaking country, there's plenty you can do to keep practising your English.
For reading and listening, we have lots of resources right here on LearnEnglish. You could try our Stories and Poems section for fiction, and our audio magazine or our business section for non-fiction readings and listenings. There's plenty there to keep you going, and we have more coming! What's more, reading and listening will help to improve your writing and speaking.
Speaking and writing can be a little more difficult to practice on your own. You can comment here on our pages for practice in expressing your ideas. For speaking, you could try to record yourself. Choose some of the discussion questions and go to a site like, record your answers,  and playback your recording – what mistakes did you make? What do you like about your answer? Also, remember you don't have to have a native speaker to talk to. Maybe a friend or colleague wants to talk English – ask around, and find someone who wants to practice.
Above all, try to do something every day!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi again Jeremy!
Wow! You do know how to encourage students! I appreciate your reply to my message. I'll keep your message because you gave a way to study, I mean where to get started. So first of all by reading and listening, then writing expressing my ideas helped by discussion questions exercises and finally speaking recording in vocaroo. I got it.
I didin't know where to get started so you've helped me quite a lot. Thank you!!
See you around!

I like your learn english website, it's like a teacher. I am really happy join with or learn with british council .
Thank you.

Hi,, British council..
i really like this website. As a beginner It really help me understand English more..