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)

3
votes
2answers
11k views

Usage of “must have” in past tenses

So, I've checked Is "must" ever grammatical as a past tense verb? and Past tense of "must" when meaning logical probability and I'm also almost confident that I cannot say "must ...
3
votes
1answer
8k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
1k 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), ...
3
votes
1answer
45k views

Why is “will not” contracted as “won't”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is “won't” a contraction of? The Why is "cannot" spelled as one word? post brought back another oddity I noticed when learning English. The ...
3
votes
1answer
6k views

“Changes would not be reflected” vs. “Changes will not be reflected”

Following Martha's advise I am splitting up a question Compound sentences, the punctuation and mooore. When I describe consequences of some actions one can take, what form of the verb "will" should ...
3
votes
3answers
24k views

Using “so that” without modal verbs

I know that usually with "so that" there is a modal verb. However, I do not know if this is correct because there is not a modal verb. I will wake him up so that he does not (will not) miss the ...
3
votes
4answers
848 views

Past conditional statements

What is the difference between the following two statements? If I went home for dinner, I took a glass of soft drink. If I went home for dinner, I would take a glass of soft drink. Are both ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“How can X be” vs. “how does X can be”

I have a Spanish friend, who wrote the following sentence: "How does foo, bar, baz can be compared?" I corrected it to read: "How can foo, bar, baz be compared?" Other than the obvious, he ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Infinitive of “may” and “might”?

What’s the infinitive of the verb I use when I say “I might go” or “May I come with you”? I think in German it’s dürfen. Is there one in English? If not, why not?
3
votes
4answers
109 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

“I can have had been”

Can you say "I can have had been..." doing something? Example: I can have had been reading a book if I could send a letter back in time to tell myself. So, not could have had been, specifically ...
3
votes
3answers
10k views

How would you use “can” in a future sentence?

If you purchase this then you will be able to do that. How can I write the quoted statement using can?
3
votes
2answers
129 views

“How does it compares”

I understand it should be How does it compare because the do has stole the s, but what is the reasoning behind it? I don't want to make the same mistake twice, so I feel I need to understand the ...
3
votes
2answers
291 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?
3
votes
3answers
793 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?
3
votes
1answer
62 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? ...
3
votes
1answer
108 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.
3
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

Would certainly have or certainly would have?

I have these confusions sometimes. Firstly, which among the following are grammatically correct to use in sentences- She would certainly have loved that. She would have certainly loved ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

'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 ...
3
votes
1answer
230 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
84 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
658 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Reported Speech “Will” vs “Would”

I recently got confused with the following choices while talking to a friend after class: I sent her an email that I wouldn't come to the class. I sent her an email that I wouldn't be coming ...
3
votes
2answers
58 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

“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 ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

Difference in the usage? ; It “can / could / must” be something serious

I'm teaching English in Japan. I'm using "Grammar In Use Intermediate Workbook" (Cambridge). The following is the question in the workbook: Complete the sentence. Use can, could, must or (be) ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Usage of “will” and “would”

Which one is correct? What would I do without you. What will I do without you. You would always be my favorite travel buddy. You will always be my favorite travel buddy.
2
votes
3answers
947 views

“Will be able to”

One of my friends told me that "will be able to" is a wrong phrase. Able doesn't fit with will. Is this true?
2
votes
4answers
9k views

Using “will” twice in a sentence

Is it correct to use will twice in the following sentence? When you will come to see me we will have dinner together.
2
votes
2answers
193 views

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" ?
2
votes
4answers
410 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?
2
votes
2answers
78k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
6k views

“I have to” vs. “I must”

When would you use the following? I have to go the market. I must go to the market. I need to go to the market. If I replace 'have' with 'had' would you have any other way to say it? E.g. I had to ...
2
votes
5answers
13k views

What is the difference between “can't” and “mustn't” in the expressing of prohibition?

You [verb] use your mobile phone while you're driving. It's against the law. What verb should be used? don't have to needn't mustn't can't Is can't correct, or only mustn't is correct? What ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Would vs Will in future events

What is the difference between the following: Sorry, mate. I wouldn't be able to come for dinner. Sorry, mate. I won't be able to come for dinner.
2
votes
4answers
187 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
143 views

Ian McEwan's usage of “must” as a simple past

Reading Ian McEwan's "The Children Act", I found this sentence: "If Jack, sprawled across from her, seemed absurd in this conversation, then how much more so MUST she appear to him." Being ...
2
votes
1answer
11k 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Simple Present for Future Actions

Why can we use the following statement when we mean future events? What time do you get there? Or should we rather say: What time will you get there? Is there a difference?
2
votes
2answers
209 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?
2
votes
4answers
533 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
18k views

Difference between “can” and “may” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can/May/Will you help me with this? Which is correct if I want to request for a pen? Can I have your pen please? May I have your pen please?
2
votes
2answers
23k views

Using “should be” meaning like “will be”?

CloudEdit is an extremely simple document editing app. Here are the specs: Users should see a list of the latest documents. To edit, the user clicks the document in the list. Users should be ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Explain the verb tense in “I wish I never woke up this morning”

This is from a song by Police, Darkness: "I can dream up schemes when I'm sitting in my seat I don't see any flaws 'til I get to my feet I wish I never woke up this morning Life was easy ...
2
votes
4answers
17k views

What's the difference between “should” and “could” (in the present tense)? [closed]

I am not referring to could as a past tense of can What is the difference between the following sentences? You should do it. You could do it.
2
votes
3answers
852 views

Can “since” and “wouldn't” be used in the same sentence?

For example: Since it's raining, wouldn't it be a good idea to bring an umbrella? That sounds OK, but I'm not sure if it is. What about these alternatives? Since it's raining, isn't it a ...
2
votes
3answers
95 views

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
559 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
615 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 ...