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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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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155 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 ...
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96 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 ...
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122 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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0answers
88 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 ...
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1answer
4k views

Is the usage “can able to” wrong? I believe it's wrong. But where can I find some reference on the same?

I hear a lot of people use 'can able to' in their daily talk. I believe it's entirely wrong. Both 'can' and 'able to' hold the same meaning. Where do I get more information on the same and also the ...
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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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303 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 ...
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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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488 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?
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15k 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 ...
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2k 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 ...
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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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1answer
804 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 ...
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2k 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 ...
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2answers
25k 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 ...
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268 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.
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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"?
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232 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
79 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 ...
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1answer
206 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 ...
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3answers
408 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), ...
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2answers
969 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 ...
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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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3k 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?
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5k 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.
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“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 ...
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1answer
153 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...?
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156 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 ...
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414 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 ...
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3answers
209 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 ...
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3answers
735 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 ...
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2answers
179 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 ...
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437 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 ...
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250 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 ...
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1answer
278 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?"
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1k 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 ...
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343 views

“One way would be” vs “One way will be”?

What is the difference between "One way would be" and "One way will be"? Can both of them be used for future actions?
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1answer
800 views

Rule for when to use “could” as a helper?

It would be helpful if you could provide us further details. Is the use of could wrong here? Should it be It would be helpful if you provide us further details. What is the rule when should ...
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1answer
322 views

What is the degree of strength of the verbs listed below dealing with rules/advice?

I used to have a list that showed the increasing strength of these words, but I seemed to have lost it. The words/phrases are: must/mustn't, should/shouldn't, have to/don't have to, can/can't, and ...
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2answers
277 views

When should I use “can” and when should I use “will”?

This sentence talks about capability. I can never do that. This sentence talks about a choice. A personal preference maybe? I will never do that. Is this correct or can we use it ...
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1answer
925 views

“It's important that he should know” vs. “… shall know”

Which sentence is right? It's important that he should know this. It's important that he shall know this. Is the shall/should auxiliary or modal verb?
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1answer
84 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 ...
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49 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 ...
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1answer
65 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 ...
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556 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 ...
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1answer
544 views

“It will depend on what I [will] see”

I want to refer to the future. When someone asks me: "what are you going to do when you have a chance to look at [something]?". How should I reply? Basically, the question is which one is correct (or ...
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1answer
38 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 ...
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“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?
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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 ...