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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Is it may or might?

I know that the past tense of may is might so, basically, if the truth of the situation is known, you use "might have." For example: If I were to go to the store but didn't, I would say: I might ...
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The usage of “could” and “can” in questions [duplicate]

Which of the following is more appropriate? Can you go? Could you go? Is there anything wrong in asking like this "Could you go?"
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61 views

She can/might get a job as a teacher?

We were asked a question in an exam, from Grammarway 4. The question was: She ... get a job as a teacher. She loves children. I prefered to use "can" because I thought that was possibility but ...
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129 views

Is use of “shall” archaic?

A friend of mine, pursuing BA(Hons) in English corrected me that no one uses shall now and often it is advised to prefer the use of should, would, etc. Although Downton Abbey is set upon a time ...
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43 views

“She must have done that, mustn't she?” (Tail/tag questions with “Can/may/must + Present Perfect”)

How often can you hear an educated native speaker say She can't have done that, can she? She can have done that, can't she? She mustn't have done that, must she? She must have done that, mustn't she?...
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Past for modal verbs meaning [duplicate]

Here are two examples from Murphy grammar textbook: 1)"I didn't see you at Michael's party last week - No, I had to work that night, so I couldn't come." 2)"I think I saw you at Michael's party last ...
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Modal verbs for logical deduction

What's the difference between must and should when used for logical deduction? Can they be used interchangeably? Here's an example: "You must be tired after your long journey." - MUST "I've ...
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105 views

Omitting verbs, is it correct?

I wonder if I could omit the second 'visit' in such sentence: You have to visit all the places, which she wants to (visit) Would it be correct? Thanks in advance :)
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Is “have yet to” a modal?

It seems to have the function of phrasal modals, but it has limited use and can not be conjugated in other tenses/aspects. I have yet to meet him.
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Is saying “may have” incorrect?

I believe I've heard that might is the past tense of may. So you should say might have never may have.
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43 views

Finite and non-finite clauses: “We have washed the dishes”

I have a quick question regarding finite and non-finite clauses if I may? In clauses that contain modal or auxiliary verbs marked for tense AND a non-finite element, is the clause finite or non-...
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Future tense of the word “Can” [duplicate]

What is the future tense of the word can? One way to express it is "will be able to", but what is actually the future tense of "can" ?
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82 views

Sudden shift to present perfect in McCarthy's “The Road”

I have a question regarding "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. The book is written in past tense and uses past perfect form to tell us of what had happened before, but in this sentence Cormac uses present ...
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Asking questions without “do” in them

In school, we learned that in interrogative statements to use do (e.g. Do you want to go there?). I'm wondering if there are any cases when do is not required. For example, I'm thinking if this is ...
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87 views

Difference between “should”, “would” and “ought to” [closed]

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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105 views

Can I use “could” and “would” in the present tense? [closed]

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

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

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

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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83 views

“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 Arena ...
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3answers
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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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“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? Also ...
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327 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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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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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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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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109 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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62 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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229 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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101 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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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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267 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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102 views

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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70 views

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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61 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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124 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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108 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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657 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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307 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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170 views

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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150 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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“Would” & “ Used to”

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