Modal verbs (such as can, could, shall, should, will, would, may, might, and must) combine with verbs in the bare infinitive to express information about the verb such as possibility or necessity.

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Difference between “should”, “would” and “ought to”

The sentence: It's essential that the documents should be destroyed immediately. Why can't ought to be used in place of should and why can't I go for would?
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Can I use “could” and “would” in the present tense? [on hold]

Is it correct to say: She speaks so fast that I couldn't understand her.
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53 views

“would not” vs. “did not” [migrated]

Could anybody explain to me the usage of 'would' in the following sentences: I asked to borrow the car but my father wouldn't let me. The landlady wouldn't allow me to have guests. I was ...
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43 views

Is “know how to” a phrasal modal? [on hold]

I know how to do it If not, how would you analyze this?
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44 views

expressing uncertainty in the past: “could be” vs. “would have been”

Yesterday I wrote the below snippet in an email, but looking at it again it doesn't sound right: Last term I did way too much teaching related stuff (my fault, didn’t really know how much time ...
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42 views

“can” vs. “could”

"This case report suggests that a lung embolism CAN/COULD occur in a patient with no pulmonary vulnerabilities." Which of these verbs is correct in this sentence?
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'I couldn't use to' instead of 'I didn't use to be able to/I used not to'

I heard this over the weekend - I've been going to evening classes and now, at last, I can touch type. I couldn't use to do that. I would normally say 'I didn't use to be able to do that', or ...
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Grammatical difference between: “should have more…” and “should eat some…”

I should have some/more fish. I should eat some/more vegetables. Are the verbs eat and have different in the two sentences considering the use of should?
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4answers
232 views

Is “ have to” a modal verb?

A friend of mine is telling me that " have to " is not a modal verb, even thought I have learned that it is. So is the " have to" a modal verb or not? If not which are the reasons?
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What is the best word for this context: May or Should?

• This Quotation is a confidential document provided strictly for the party to whom it is addressed and may neither be used for any purpose other than as intended nor shared with any other party • ...
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“you have sooner or later to” - why is “have to” split into two parts?

Playing a sport, any kind of sport, coming from a sports oriented family and not trying hard, you have sooner or later to face some awkward questions at dinner, such as... Source: Tennis ...
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Must in past. Obligation versus deduction

If you can use "have" as a modifier to make modals past tense, why can't we apply them across the board. For example May/Might in past "you might have known." Or "He must have been here." These are ...
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54 views

“Will” vs “Would” in the sentence [closed]

On the Day of Judgement when nothing but God's justice WILL reign supreme. or On the Day of Judgement when nothing but God's justice WOULD reign supreme. Which of the two is correct? ...
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76 views

'I think' and 'I would think' difference

What is the difference between the two, are they intеrchangable? I heard this dialogue in a movie: Someone spilled coke on the transmitter It was beer. I would think. Could he just ...
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65 views

Is a past tense protasis necessarily hypothetical when followed by an apodosis with “would have”?

Is a protasis with a verb in the past tense necessarily interpreted as a hypothetical condition when followed by an apodosis with "would have" + past participle? For example, is the sentence If ...
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48 views

Usage/meaning of would in this very specific context (book)

Can anyone explain me the meaning of would (underlined) in this specific context? How would you rephrase this sentence? It's an excerpt from the book In the Teeth of The Evidence: And Other Mysteries ...
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48 views

Modals usage can/could [closed]

We were checking some exercises and I wanted to know what's the correct modal to use: Gemma is away in Australia all summer. You ___ (can / see) her yesterday! The answer is can't have seen, ...
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104 views

Can linking verbs function as modal verbs?

Here is an example: Police say there appear to be signs of a break-in. And I wonder why not appears instead of appear.
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56 views

Using modal verb “would” as a main verb

I've found around the web sentences of this form, which are using model verb "would" as a main/conjugated verb. I would to be ... Or I would to eat this food. I think those are ...
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115 views

“I have had to take a leave.” is it grammatically correct?

I am little bit confused about English grammar structure about have had to and its uses, and I need some clarification on the same. For example: I have had to take a leave. Is that grammatically ...
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81 views

Present Tense Construction using “May”

Is it correct to say: “I'm not planning on leaving the country any time soon, but you just don't know when a passport may come in handy”? One issue raised about the sentence was the usage of ...
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35 views

The origin of “used to” and “supposed to”

Is anyone aware of where these phrasal modals that look like passive constructions come from? Were they originally passives (for example: "he was supposed to do xyz by someone else") that eventually ...
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107 views

“Your trip must have been fun” vs “Your trip has to have been fun”

I think these following sentences are equivalent in terms of meaning. I'd like to ask if there is subtle difference in terms of meaning? Which one is more common?Can we say one or other is more ...
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I don't understand what is wrong with this sentence. Can anyone help?

The sentence is: The bank manager was told not to hold him back, so this man could escape It is illustrated in a book as containing an error. The writer reports how judges responded to it and ...
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Just how many moods are there in English?

Most sources say that there are just three (indicative, imperative, and subjunctive) and others list several more and are not consistent. All the modal auxiliaries seem to form distinct moods: do ...
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Can “should” be used in first-person, past-tense narration?

Consider this excerpt from fiction in which the character is considering a course of action: We weren’t making any progress. Every suggestion I made seemed to make him angrier. Maybe I should ...
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47 views

Need and need to [duplicate]

Which one of the two sentences - "Do I need mention that she is my wife" or "Do I need to mention that she is my wife" - is correct use.
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“should” in conditionals

I'm having trouble with should. The third conditional is fine: If you had known about the safety hazard at the plant, you should have told someone. However, for the second conditional I'm ...
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111 views

When is “need” a modal verb, and when is it not? [closed]

When do we use "need" as a modal verb and say "need something" or "need do something", and when do we say: "need to do something" "I needed" "he needs" etc.? Can we use "will need"?
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81 views

How do I choose between “can” and “could”? [duplicate]

Where can we go? Where could we go? Can you pass me the salt? Could you pass me the salt? Which sentence is more appropriate and why? What are the differences?
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Sentence with would or used to [closed]

Having the following sentences: He wouldn't like us to be stuck at home. He didn't use to like us being stuck at home. Which one is correct? Can I use both?
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Is it possible to say “we were better” meaning “we better” in the past tense?

I know that textbooks maintain that this phrase (even not exactly this, since it's the "incorrect" version of "we had better") should be used only in the present and future tenses but I wonder if it's ...
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334 views

would come vs. would have come?

Which is the difference between the following constructions? He told me that he would come. (would + base form = present conditional) He told me that he would have come. (would + have + past ...
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230 views

Can we say “you can [not go] to school” or does it automatically become a negative sentence? [duplicate]

"You can [not go] to school." Can this sentence mean that you can stay here and not go, or does it automatically become a negative sentence if I say it like this?
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Why is the past tense of “may”, “might”?

Why is the past tense of may, might? When you see other past forms of auxiliary verbs, they usually have -ould, like should, could, and would. Unlike other forms, the past tense of may is might not ...
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103 views

Will (be) flourish(ed)

It seems that the sentence "A young mind will flourish with the proper guidance" could be rewritten as "A young mind will be flourished with the proper guidance" without major difference in meaning. ...
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140 views

“Would” & “ Used to”

"Would " & " Used to ". They both are used for repeated action in the past tense. Then what is the difference between them?
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111 views

Stress on “can” and “could”

I can go there. I could go there. In these sentences, when spoken, how is the meaning altered by putting stress/emphasis on the words can and could?
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135 views

Meaning of the term “empty use” in the context of modal verbs

I'm reading a book titled Comprehensive High School English Grammar & Composition. The author, who is Indian, says this on the use of the modal verbs can and could: Can is used to express ...
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How does one correctly use the 'verb + infinitive' construction?

Which option is correct? I want add something. I want to add something. If there is a general rule, please describe it. If you know how to better name the topic, propose your own version.
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51 views

Is “You must have cleaned the room by 9 o'clock tomorrow” epistemic or deontic?

"You must have cleaned the room by 9 o'clock tomorrow" Is must epistemic or deontic here? I think it might be epistemic because of the use of the perfect aspect (have cleaned), but it sounds ...
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409 views

I can say: “You shouldn't have done this!” Can I say: “You had better not have done this!”?

Provided "should" and "had better" are near synonyms (stronger advice in "had better" than in "should" or in more formal "ought to"), I know I can say You shouldn't have done this! But how about ...
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119 views

Would and Could [duplicate]

In a formal agreement, we can place one of these two sentences: He would do sth. He could do sth. What we want is that if the person, He, wants and is willing to "do sth," he is able to do that ...
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72 views

Modal verb “will” to describe a present situation

I heard a phone conversation between a person wishing to buy theater tickets and a sales agent like the following: “I want to buy two tickets for tonight’s show.” “Certainly. I’ll need your ...
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224 views

Understanding “Couldn't have got”

Here are two sentences: Sarah hasn't contacted me. She couldn't have got my message. What is the correct meaning of the above? Since Sarah hasn't contacted me, there's a possibility she ...
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Correct modal verb [closed]

Please share your thoughts about this item from an exam. UPDATED If it is possible for John to shift to architecture, he (should/could/must/might) shift to architecture. It is possible for John ...
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120 views

'Might' is the subjunctive inflection of 'may'; was there ever a subjunctive inflection of 'must'?

I acknowledge that there is no subjunctive mood in English. However, there are variants of some words that we might regard as subjunctive variants. For example, 'might' is the, if you will, ...
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2k views

should have done vs should had done (sequence of tenses) [closed]

imagine you want to use "should have done" in a subordinate clause when there's some past tense in the main clause. e.g.: "He said I should have(had?) done it." which one is correct? or should i ...
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What are the uses of the modal verb “would”? [closed]

Besides the future-in-past sense in conditional sentences, what other alternative uses can the word would have in conversation?
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210 views

Modal verb in the beginning of a sentence

I am reading The Lord of the Ring where I found this sentence: May you have joy of the sight, my good dwarf! Is it a correct usage of modal verb? I have not found any grammar rule for this case. ...