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)

0
votes
1answer
116 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."
1
vote
1answer
228 views

“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 ...
3
votes
4answers
872 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
8k views

'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 ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

“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. ...
1
vote
2answers
229 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
609 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

“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 ...
2
votes
1answer
105 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
132 views

“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?
1
vote
1answer
280 views

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: ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

What are all the words that make up a complete list of linking verbs in English?

What are all the words that make up a complete list of linking verbs in English? My English teacher from what I can remember listed them as follows, am I missing any? is am are was were be been ...
2
votes
2answers
30k views

What is the difference between “have to”, “must”, and “should”? [duplicate]

Is there any difference between have to”, “must”, and “should”? If there is some difference between them, when do I have to use (nor not use) each of the constructions below? have to do something ...
1
vote
2answers
294 views

Modal verb without auxiliary verb

I'm used to seeing modal verbs followed by auxiliary verbs, like this: I should have been reading. However, I've heard people say things like: I'm glad you did or I wouldn't met you. I ...
0
votes
2answers
474 views

the use of would in the sentence

what is the difference between this two sentences " would you like to be a farmer ?" and "Do you like to be a farmer?" I know would is about specific time but there is no time in the sentence
-5
votes
1answer
67 views

How to comprehend “The output should be false.”? [closed]

Consider a function in a computer program which returns a boolean value (true or false). The output should be false。 can be interpreted as either of the following two: 1. As we expected, the output ...
4
votes
3answers
329 views

Is it Standard American English to ever contract “did” as “-'d”?

Assuming that it is Standard American English to contract would as -'d, is it standard to contract did as -'d? For example: I would really like to have a glass of single malt scotch right now. ...
1
vote
1answer
446 views

Can “to be able to” be used without preposition

Can the phrase "to be able to" be used without the preposition "to". For example, can you say "I will call you back as soon as I am able?"
1
vote
1answer
84 views

Is 'to' in “would to say” correct?

At a certain point of this article I read; Sometimes [Lucas] would to say to Richard, ‘you can't do that’ It sounds awkward for me to see a modal verb followed by "to". Of course, when you're ...
1
vote
1answer
86 views

Imperative + which, should [duplicate]

I'm about to post an ad for our company survey but I'm not sure which of the following (the position of should) is correct. Take the survey on which computer should our company get next. or ...
17
votes
3answers
7k views

May you please explain this?

At a family dinner, my 18 year-old niece asked my sister, "May you please pass the salt?" My sister said that she was impressed with her daughter's politeness, but that that particular wording was ...
4
votes
7answers
2k views

Confusing structures with modal verbs

I have skimmed through the part on modals of a classic grammar book (Murphy's "Grammar in Use") and picked up all the structures that look strange to me. Could you, please, explain how often they are ...
3
votes
1answer
178 views

“Should” in the past?

What is the way to say that something "should be done" in the past? I know there is a "should have" structure, but it is used for situations, when something was to be done in the past, but it wasn't. ...
2
votes
1answer
146 views

“…must be running”

I'm trying to understand the meanings of must with a lexical verb in present continuous. Usually "must" means the judgement of the speaker (epistemic modality). Can it have a non-epistemic meaning ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Are modal verbs finite or non-finite?

According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, finite ... 2 Grammar (of a verb form) having a specific tense, number, and person. non-finite ... Grammar (of a verb form) not limited by tense, ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Dare + have done

Here is an example from an old book. I know it’s old but it can’t be simply discarded, I hope. "I never dare have spoken — never dare have told you that my love for you was killing me" So, I ...
-1
votes
1answer
143 views

“I may know where it is” vs. “I know where it may be”

I am wondering if the following two sentences have different meanings. I may know where it is. I know where it may be.
1
vote
1answer
666 views

Are “could I have been able to cope with” and "could I have coped with” the same?

I am a bit confused with the formation of this sentence. My lines are: What if I were a girl? Would I have been able to cope with the ordeal that women and girls live through every day? But I ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Is the structure “can have verb-ed” possible?

I have seen and heard sentences like these: He could have gone too far. John can't have eaten all the cake. But I don't seem to encounter this structure: She can have done the work. I ...
1
vote
1answer
509 views

Use of “would” in the specific situation

A man asked a question to his friend, “Why was it the best time for Bilal to be in his home?” His friend replied, “It would be the best time for Bilal to be in his home because his uncle ...
-6
votes
1answer
669 views

“To have to” vs. “should” [closed]

I wonder which one to choose here: My father should drive carefully when it’s raining. My father has to drive carefully when it’s raining.
1
vote
0answers
42 views

The verb “should” as a conjunction [duplicate]

Here is the phrase from Wikipedia: CFO Peter Klein has said that Microsoft has no alternate plan should its current mobile strategy fail. Another example: Should Microsoft’s tablet and phone ...
-5
votes
1answer
379 views

'What may it be'/ 'what may be it' which one is correct? [closed]

I think,saying 'what may it be' is correct in the sense of something that i did not see before,it is new to me and on my hand.and i am saying this sentence "what may it be"/"what may be it".which one ...
13
votes
3answers
694 views

What kind of construct is 'would that that were all'?

There is a place in Bram Stoker’s Dracula where I can’t quite parse the grammar: 8 May. — I began to fear as I wrote in this book that I was getting too diffuse. But now I am glad that I went ...
0
votes
2answers
206 views

“I stay in Canada” vs. “I will stay in Canada” [duplicate]

Situation: I am in Canada and will go back to Hong Kong next week. So, I want to tell my friends that "I will stay in Canada until the 6th of March". Question: I do not know if the word will should ...
0
votes
1answer
122 views

counterpart of “Shall I/we …” in written English

See my title. I am looking for a word or expression to replace the way of "Shall I/we ...?" The context is I am asking for permission or suggestion but it is not in conversation. I want to apply such ...
1
vote
1answer
259 views

Is “he should be seventeen” correct?

Is the following sentence correct to describe a young man? He should be seventeen. My colleague was absolutely sure it was correct. I disagreed, so we had a bit of an argument. I would agree on ...
4
votes
2answers
808 views

could versus be able

Let me start by saying what is written in grammar books on this issue and after that I will put my question. (Take heed that this usage of "could" ONLY refers to the past and ONLY to affirmative ...
1
vote
3answers
609 views

Are there other verbs that work like “dare” and “need”? [duplicate]

The verbs dare and need do not require auxiliaries when used in the interrogative; for example, “need I?” is as acceptable as “do I need?” Excluding the auxiliaries themselves (like be, do, have), ...
1
vote
3answers
229 views

Saying about many related events in the future

My question relates to these questions : Conditionals in the future Future tense in conditional clauses “If I go..” vs. “If I will go..” referring to the future About two mutually related, future ...
8
votes
5answers
6k views

“need to do” vs “need do”

Consider: I need to do this. I need do this. My English grammar knowledge tells me that "need" doesn't have the same status as the modal verbs "may", "can", "should" and what not. Hence the second ...
5
votes
1answer
412 views

Why are 'preterite presents' called so?

While reading about 'defective verbs' on Wikipedia, I came across this term – preterite present verbs. The most commonly recognized defective verbs in English are auxiliary verbs — the class of ...
32
votes
8answers
6k views

What is the infinitive of “can”?

Like the title says: I don't think "to can" is right :) I mean "can" as in to be able to. I'm aware of other meanings. I can't find the answer here. (There's What is an "infinitive"? which ...
0
votes
1answer
140 views

“He was so desperate that he would have given anything” vs. “that he did give anything”

A: I heard he promised to buy her anything she wants. B: Right. He was so desperate that he would have given anything to win her over. In sentence B, instead of "would have given," is "did ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

Is there a rule for “wouldn't” used to mean “didn't want”?

I have seen the sentences in books where wouldn't seems to have been used in the meaning of didn't want, and I wonder if such a rule exists. For instance, I wanted to participate, but he wouldn't ...
-1
votes
2answers
6k views

Is it “What should he have done?” or “had he done”?

What should he have done? What should he had done? Could you tell me which one is correct? (If any.)
10
votes
5answers
39k views

What is the difference between 'can', 'could', 'may' and 'might'?

I'm a native English speaker and I've been doing some research into English grammar for a programme I'm working on. However, on looking into modal verbs, I've only just come to appreciate how subtle ...
2
votes
4answers
155 views

“Would” in a reported statement

I am teaching some students changing original quotes into reported speech. Well, one of my students asked how the following quote can be changed into reported speech: I would like to swim. From ...
0
votes
2answers
523 views

question about the future tense

In a sentence like How do you get to the train station? What would be an appropriate answer (tense wise)? Could you say both of these two: I’ll drive you. I’m going to drive you. ...