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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“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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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218 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. ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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.
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“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 ...
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“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 ...
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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.
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Simple explanation of the many functional uses of 'should'?

[User John Lawler]: So how many named special cases of each modal verb are there, in toto? There's 1. subjunctive should, and 2. mandative should, and 3. putative should, at least; and I ...
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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?
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4answers
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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 ...
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858 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?
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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?
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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?
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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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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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.
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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“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.
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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3answers
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“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' ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
354 views

“You wouldn’t want to know” vs “you don’t want to know”

What is the difference between "You wouldn't want to" and "You don't want to"? Also similar uses with You wouldn't want to do You wouldn't want to see
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230 views

Future Seen from the Past

What is difference between these two sentences: They left at 6 a.m. and would reach London after four hours. They left at 6 a.m. and reached London after four hours. The book, Oxford ...
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3answers
187 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?"
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1answer
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Why are modal verbs never used with “has” even when the subject is singular?

Why is it that modal verbs are always used with "have," regardless of whether the subject is singular or plural? For example, you would say "She has been here" and "They have been here," but you would ...
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1answer
396 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.
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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 ...
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“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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
155 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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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.
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“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?
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'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 ...
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“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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
5k 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. ...
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1answer
329 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: ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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“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.