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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

1
vote
0answers
42 views

“He might could come Friday” - Can anyone use two modals for the same verb (and get away with it)? [duplicate]

I've heard someone use two modals for the same verb more than once, in an American film. It looked like an old movie, perhaps from the 70s. The other sentence was: "I might could help you." I wonder ...
1
vote
2answers
160 views

Ellipsis in “can and have occurred”

The side effects can and have occurred. The omitted verb is an infinitive (occur) but the written verb is a past participle (occurred). Is this sentence grammatically correct and suitable for ...
0
votes
2answers
83 views

Use of 'would' in place of the past simple

They left the house at 6 and would reach Edinburgh 12 hours later. (= .............. and they reached Edinburgh 12 hours later.) This is from a famous grammar book. I don't understand how ...
-2
votes
3answers
121 views

How can I ask for a user's contact information? [closed]

We have an app in which users will win prizes, and we will be contacting them by email to send them their prizes. In the dialog requesting the user's email address, I've written this text: Please ...
0
votes
2answers
70 views

Is there a difference between the two sentences? [duplicate]

-The train could leave Boston. -The train would leave Boston. Is there a difference? Are they interchangeable?
2
votes
1answer
317 views

Use of 'must have' for obligation in the future

I have noticed there is a way of using 'must have' to denote finished obligation in the future - somewhat akin to the 'future perfect tense'. An example of what I mean: " I must have finished ...
2
votes
1answer
482 views

Can one use “may” and “might” in the same sentence?

Is it possible to use may and might in the same sentence to describe a potential outcome? For example: While Sara may recognise the car, Paul might not.
0
votes
0answers
104 views

Contracting “I should have” to “I'd've”

I know that for "I would have" the contraction "I’d have" or "I’d’ve" is a lot more frequently used in everyday conversation. But is the same true for "I should have"? Is "I’d've" also prefered?
2
votes
3answers
531 views

Passive of modal verb dare

What would be the passive of: You dare not talk to her. Also, is it right to say "you dare not talk to her" at all?
1
vote
3answers
428 views

What is the future tense of “would have been”?

The following sentence is grammatically correct: Today would have been Freddie Mercury's 68th birthday. If Freddie Mercury were still alive, this sentence would be correct too: September 5, ...
4
votes
9answers
940 views

“It was not to be closed” or “It should not have been closed”

I would like to use the phrase "this question should not be closed" to refer to a question that someone closed—but the expression seems defective because it doesn't get at the fact that the closing ...
1
vote
1answer
193 views

Can a remote conditional have “might” in the protasis?

In the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Huddleston and Pullum, the authors write: A remote conditional must have a modal auxiliary as the apodosis verb (usually would, should, could, ...
1
vote
0answers
12 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

“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 ...
0
votes
0answers
10 views

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..." ?
0
votes
1answer
295 views

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?
0
votes
1answer
250 views

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. ...
1
vote
3answers
557 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
415 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
117 views

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?
5
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
10
votes
4answers
712 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
492 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
314 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
240 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
0
votes
3answers
111 views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
168 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
721 views

Mixed conditional clause type 1-3

I came across the following conditional clause while studying a grammar book published by Oxford: "If you know London so well, you shouldn't have got so hopelessly lost." The writer of the book has ...
-1
votes
3answers
3k views

“May not have [noun]” or “may have not [noun]”

Which of the following is correct: may not have or may have not? For example, which sentence should one write? They may not have apples. They may have not apples.
2
votes
4answers
488 views

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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
344 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
121 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
170 views

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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
159 views

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 ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
423 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

“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 ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

“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 ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

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.
1
vote
1answer
496 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...?
0
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
466 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 ...
-7
votes
1answer
339 views

“should + have + p.p.” meaning

We can use the following structure Should + have + p.p. with two different meanings. Can someone explain those meanings for me?
2
votes
3answers
182 views

“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' ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

“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 ...
2
votes
4answers
664 views

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 ...
-3
votes
2answers
347 views

“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 ...
0
votes
1answer
287 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
176 views

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 ...