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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When to Use “Could, Would , Will and Can”? [duplicate]

When to Use "Could, Would , Will and Can"? Could you please send me that email? Would you please send me that email? Will you please send me that email? Can you please send me that email? Please ...
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“Could not have been” vs. “must not have been”

What's the difference between "could not have been" and "must not have been"? For example, That could not have been an easy task. That must not have been an easy task. I've seen both ...
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Confusion about modal and auxiliary verb sentence structure [duplicate]

"Little did he realize that ..." What is the structure of this sentence with the past tense of the auxiliary verb 'do' in the beginning ? 2) "Otherwise, could we..." or "Otherwise, we could..." ?
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Is it correct to say “I was sure after a year I would get over it”?

My pet dog died last summer, she was the only one I had, but I was sure after a year I would get over it. Or should I say I had get over it there instead?
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Grammar: French conditionnel in English?

Could anybody help me here, please? I’d like to know the grammatical form of the verb “can" in the following examples: 18y old Tim is asked by a relative what he’s going to do with his life. ...
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What’s the difference between “if I were” and “if I would be”? [closed]

Can someone tell me the difference between these two phrases: if I were rich if I would be rich I am not a native English speaker, so it’s hard for me to see any difference in meaning between ...
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could and might to talk about future possibility

I have problem with using could in the future possibilities for example: They have the technology, but unless the government makes stricter laws, car companies ____ do it. With which one should I ...
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Is “shall” an appropriate word for a scientific thesis? [closed]

May I use the word shall in my scientific thesis? As in The relevant ones shall be introduced in the following. Or is shall considered slang or outdated?
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Using “will” after “if”

I've been told that native-speakers don't ever use "will" after "if", and that saying it this way is a not-native style. So from the film (Harry Potter, pt5) I noticed a line that confused me. Look ...
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Can a hypothetical “could” main clause stand on its own without an expressed conditional?

I have been reading Meaning and the English Verb (Leech, Geoffrey N. 2004). I like its systematic treatment on tense, aspect, mood, and modality. I think it's a must-have for any advanced ESL ...
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Is “Jack could get to work earlier” deontic or epistemic?

Please consider: Jack could get to work earlier. Is this use of could in the dynamic modality about Jack’s inherent ability, or is this the could of epistemic modality about the speaker’s ...
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Nuances in variants of “I should/would/∅ think so”

What is the difference between saying: I should think so. I would think so. I think so. And also what does using should in this way mean? It is strange you should say you have seen her, seeing ...
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Future Perfect in the Past

Can I use should have done for the future just like will have done? For example: It should have been finished by next Monday. Which basically means It should be finished by next Monday but with ...
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Are “was/were able to” and “could” interchangeable?

In a grammar book, the claim was made that in the following sentences one cannot substitute "was/were able to" with "could." The fire spread through the building very quickly, but everyone was ...
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Can “may” be an infinitive

I was reading this article http://www.organics.org/8-beers-that-you-should-stop-drinking-immediately/ when I saw Propylene Glycol is controversial, and is said to may be potentially harmful to ...
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What is the usage of “need to want”?

"Indeed, whoever buys this needs to want a tablet and laptop in more or less equal measure." "Needs to want"? Isn't it a kind of unnecessary way around saying: "I think that people buy this if they ...
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Why “can” not “could” in “She was one of those people who can. . . .”?

The following sentence is from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, occurring in chapter 5 of part 2: She was one of those people who can go to sleep at any hour and in any position. Why is ...
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could have done vs could do [duplicate]

I always suspected that the idiot in the tux could not have done it on his own. In this sentence, if we said could not do instead of could not have done what would be the difference in meanings ...
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Is “Can you carry this book?” acceptable? [closed]

Is it grammatically correct to say: Can you carry this book? I said this to a friend and this person commented that I need to learn grammar. To me the statement seems grammatically correct and ...
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The modal verb would

Longman Advanced Learners' grammar says: (p 27/7) Dad would always help us out financially when we were at university, however difficult it was for him. Is it correct to use 'would' in this ...
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Why is “that would be me” more certain than “that is me”?

I have been reading these two posts on would: Why "that would be me"? (part 1) & Why "that would be me"? (part 2) If you want a domestic SUV, then the best choice would be the Ford Escape ...
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What modal verbs do natives use nowadays?

We are being taught English by a native speaker from Alaska. He states that many of modal verbs we were taught are outdated and have been replaced. E.g.: We must ➙ We have to May I ...
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Inverted conditional sentence using 'can' and 'will'

On this page in Wikipedia!, it states for first conditional sentences: The condition can also be expressed using the modal verb should. This form can be used to make an inverted condition ...
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“Having to” usage

I am confused in the usage of "having to" in a sentence, mentioned below. Which one is correct/appropriate? The trouble is having to backup … or The trouble is in having to backup ...
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“Must be” with a meaning like “must do”

I see that somebody must do something usually means that someone is obliged to do something. I also see that you must be kidding me means that it is highly likely that you are kidding me. But can ...
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Have I transformed this reported speech correctly? [closed]

She asked the teacher what should she do. Should it read as - She asked the teacher, What has to be done? Please explain why the sentence might be incorrect.
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217 views

“Can” or “could”, which is grammatically correct?

I'm a call center agent. When I ask to transfer the call to the authorized person, which form should I use: Can I speak to...? or Could I speak to...?
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What is the difference between “have not to” and “have to not”?

English isn't my native language, of course, to ask something like this. I personally thought that "have not to do something" and "have to not do something" were the same. But recently, I've seen a ...
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186 views

“have to” a phrasal verb

Why is "have to" not listed as a phrasal verb in the dictionary? "have" means to be in possession of something while "have to" means "obliged to". So "have to" seem to be non-compositional in terms of ...
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“Boys will be boys!” Is 'will be' a future simple of 'be' or a present simple of modal auxiliary 'will'?

In the proverb: Boys will be boys! is 'will be' one verb or two? the future simple of 'be' (one verb)? or the present simple of modal auxiliary 'will' + the bare present infinitive of 'be' ...
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“If the robot can learn from a human, it can/could keep track of humans.”

I have the following sentence and I don't know whether "can" or "could" would be a better choice. If the robot can learn from a human, it could keep track of humans. If the robot can learn ...
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Why is the same modal auxiliary, 'may/might' used to ask permission and for uncertainty?

"May I go to the bathroom?" and "I asked if I might go to the bathroom." The modal auxiliary 'may/might' is used to ask permission. "He may not have understood your question." and "He might ...
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“Can I” vs “May I” [duplicate]

You may have heard the argument "it's not can I go to the bathroom, it's may I." If this is true, then any question such as "can you get me a glass of water?" could have the same argument applied to ...
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The Use of the Modal Verb “Would” in a Certain Passage

Please consider the following passage from my English textbook: ...The commander of the troops called on his men to gather together on deck in proper drill order...Meanwhile, the lifeboats had ...
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Would it be incorrect to use “could” and “might” in the same sentence?

Would it be incorrect to use “could” and “might” in the same sentence? For example: It could be that Joseph might come this afternoon. Since could and might are both stating a possibility, it ...
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141 views

Difference between “had + past” and “would have + past”? [closed]

Is there any difference between these two statements? When should each be used? I thought you had slept. I thought you would have slept.
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“Once…” in the past tense

I was standing on the spot where the murderer had been, thinking, "Did he hesitate? Once the trigger was pulled for the first time, there would've been no turning back." Can the following ...
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What are usages similar to “Need I say more?”?

I recall hearing usages like Need I say more? Need I remind you that ...? instead of Do I need to say more? Do I need to remind you that ...? Indeed, they sound better, at least to ...
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108 views

Finite verbs / Do vs Be

Which is correct? "You were always looking out for me. You always do." or "You were always looking out for me. You always are."
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“Help” as a Non-Modal verb

Please read the following sentence: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is planning his retirement in the next nine months from the software giant he helped build. Would you consider "helped" a ...
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Using “can” to express future ability

To refer to future ability we should strictly use will be able to in certain instances, while in other cases it is possible to use either can or will be able to. Why? How can one account for that ...
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'There seem' or 'there seems' + usage of the word 'seem'

First, I have a question "How words 'seem' and 'there' are used together?" Which is correct: There seem ... or There seems ... Then, I'm am interested in general constructions with the word ...
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“Can not” vs. “cannot” [duplicate]

Is there a difference in meaning and/or connotation between "can not" and "cannot"? I have read and seen both used interchangeably, but I know people who argue for a slight difference in meaning. ...
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What tense uses a modal with “be” and a past tense verb

I am trying to determine the tense of a certain verb group. This group uses a modal/auxiliary with "be" and the past tense of the action verb. Examples: He may be finished. She must be ...
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551 views

Differences between using “Would you” and “Can you” when making requests [duplicate]

Is there a difference between asking a question with "Would you..." and asking the same question with "Can you..."? For example, Would you take the trash out? Can you take the trash out? Both ...
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“would I need” or “will I need” What is the correct sentence?

I don't know which sentence is correct for my formal letter? As a foreigner will I need any work permit or personal accident insurance? As a foreigner would I need any work permit or personal ...
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I knew we shouldn't trust him

I ran into this sentence in a movie: I knew we shouldn't trust him. But I don't know if it's correct. I'm assuming it is, for the movie is american. But I'm used to seeing something like this ...
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Is phrase “will you be needing …” correct?

I'm curious about this phrase Will you be needing [...] ? It seems gramatically correct; I am also fine with "need" used in continuous time. But I'm wondering if it is used in spoken ...
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“When he went out he left the radio on so that his parents shall think that he was still in the house”

When he went out he left the radio on so that his parents shall think that he was still in the house. This is a past sentence. Why is shall think used? Can I use should think?
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Usage of 'would' in the future tense?

Is there anything wrong in this sentence? "I would go to work tomorrow if the buses were plying." I know it is not wrong to use 'would' in hypothetical sentences in the past and present tense: ...