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)

2
votes
4answers
437 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
2answers
768 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
6answers
26k views

Is “would” the past future tense of “will” or just a modal verb?

What's the difference: Would you give me some advice? Will you give me some advices?
2
votes
1answer
7k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
9k 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
12k 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
1k 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
3answers
648 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
130 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' ...
2
votes
4answers
428 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
116 views

Is it better to say “How do I…” or “How can I…”?

Is it better to say "How do I do something?" or "How can I do something?"
2
votes
1answer
318 views

“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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
140 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
95 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
89 views

if or should to ask possibility? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: A special use of “should”? I have received an email which was starting wih this: Should you have any questions, please call at this number... So could ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Must the word after “can” be present tense?

http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/transcriptions/EWD04xx/EWD498.html: We can found no scientific discipline, nor a hearty profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and, ...
1
vote
2answers
323 views

Can I drop 'might' in this sentence without changes in meaning?

I was interested in the following sentence which appeared in an article titled “Rethinking the Afghanistan War’s What-Ifs" by David E. Sanger in The New York Times (July 31, 2010). The British ...
1
vote
2answers
1k 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.
1
vote
3answers
543 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?
1
vote
5answers
2k views

'You can' or 'You may' in online instruction text?

I need to add a small piece of help text to a search field in an online form. The placeholder text (grey text inside the text field) says "Type at least three characters". Then directly under the ...
1
vote
1answer
953 views

“Dare” with and without “to”

To my surprise, there's a missing question about this particularly interesting verb, dare. All I know about it is the fact it can be in two forms, as an auxiliary (without to: "I dare not mention ...
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
vote
2answers
37k views

How to use would or could in English? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should we use “can”, “could”, “will”, “would”? I am not a native English speaker and this would/could thing always ...
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
308 views

“how soon I get” vs. “how soon I will get”

What is the difference between the following: It depends on how soon I get my visa. It depends on how soon I will get my visa.
1
vote
3answers
2k 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 above statement using "can"?
1
vote
1answer
276 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: ...
1
vote
1answer
82 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
3answers
580 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
105 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, ...
1
vote
2answers
89 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
545 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
253 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Using 'would' to form reasons

In the following examples: Why would anyone want to eat something so horrible? Who would live for forever? Why would I ever lie to you? Is 'would' being used to refer to time in future or past Or ...
1
vote
4answers
9k 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.
1
vote
2answers
5k views

“shall” vs. “will” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'shall' and 'will' Is there any difference at all between these two sentences? What will we talk about? What shall we talk about?
1
vote
3answers
8k views

“It could/might/may be funny” — what is the correct usage?

What is the difference in meaning in these three sentences? it might be funny it could be funny it may be funny The answer was partially touched on in this post.
1
vote
3answers
110 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
226 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...?
1
vote
1answer
218 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
498 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
223 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
807 views

“Can I have one apple from your box?” vs “Could I have one apple from your box?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “can” or “could”? I was doing some reading on usage of can and could. I understand that can is used when asking for ability, and could for willingness. I ...
1
vote
2answers
221 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
587 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
285 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
416 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
2answers
2k views

“I wouldn't ever” vs. “I would never”

The two expressions from the title, “I wouldn't ever” and “I would never”, are very similar. But are they completely equivalent or do they bear any subtle differences? If so, how do they differ in ...