What are Modals?

The verbs like- can, could, may, might, will, shall, etc that are used with other verbs to express permission, possibility, certainty, necessity, etc are called modals.

MODALS USAGE

1. Can

(a) It is used to express ability and capacity.

For ex- I can do it.
-She can write with both hands.

(b) It also express permission.

Ex- Can I borrow your pen?

(c) It convey possibility in interrogative and negative sentences.

Ex- Can this be true?
It cannot be true?

=Could – ( past tense of can)

Ex- How could he find out?

I wish you could hear yourself talking.

2. May

(a) It is used for taking permission.

Ex-  May I borrow your pen?

May I ask you a few questions?

May I sit with you?

 (b) It express possibility in affirmative sentences.

Ex- He may be at home.

He may stay here tonight.

It may rain today.

(c) It also express wish.

Ex- May god bless you.

May you get well soon.

May the kingdom of Heaven be his!

= Might– ( past of may)

  It is used for less possibility.

Ex- I thought he might be at home.

might see you tomorrow.

 It looks nice, but it might be very expensive.

3. Was /were able to-

It is used for performance.

Ex- He was able to swim across the river.

They were able to swim across the river.

  • In negative.

Ex- I wasn’t be able to solve the problem.

4. Shall

(a)  It is used with 1st person ( I, we, us).

Ex- when shall we see you again?

I shall be there by 8:00.

(b) It is sometimes used with 2nd or 3rd person to express            command, promise, threat.

Ex- He shall not enter in my house again.

He shall become our next king.

(c) It is also used to ask questions.

Ex- Shall I open the door?

Shall I help you?

Shall we begin dinner?

5. Will-

  • When someone is willing to.

Ex-I will carry your bag.

will lead you to it.

 

  • To express characteristic habit.

Ex- He will always listen the song at night.

  • Express assumption or probability.

Ex- This will be book you want, I suppose.

Things will get better.

One day he will know.

= should/ would-( past of shall/will)

( a) It explicit duty or obligations.

Ex- you should obey the law.

(b) It express opinion.

Ex- They would be on the way to turkey.

That would be the best way.

 

( c) To give or take advice and suggestion.

Ex- You should study more.

6. Must

(a) It express necessity or obligations.

Ex- you must get up early.

We must not be late.

(b) In the case of prohibition.

Ex- you must not drink and drive.

 

7. Have to/ Has to/ Had to/strong

  • It explicit rules and laws.

Ex- You have to attend the class.

  • Have to is used with infinitive to indicate obligations.

Ex- I have to be there by 5’o clock.

  • In negative and questions, have to and had to are used with do, does and did.

Ex- They don’t have to go.

Do they have to go?

8. Ought to

 

  • Express moral obligation or duty.

Ex – we ought to help our friends.

  • To give advice.

Ex- you ought to study hard to achieve success.

9. Used to-

It is used as a discontinued habit or past habit which is no more in present.

Ex- He used to drink daily.

This used to be a dense jungle.

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