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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“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 give" ...
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73 views

Is saying “may have” incorrect?

I believe I've heard that might is the past tense of may. So you should say might have never may have.
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365 views

Understanding “Couldn't have got”

Here are two sentences: Sarah hasn't contacted me. She couldn't have got my message. What is the correct meaning of the above? Since Sarah hasn't contacted me, there's a possibility she ...
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756 views

“Has/Have/Had” as a main verb and auxiliary verb

I need help regarding the use of has/have/had both as a main verb and as an auxiliary verb. In the sentence below, the word has acts as the main verb. I would normally follow it with the phrase "so ...
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1k views

Should you use “will like” or “would like” for a request/response in the present tense?

I ran into these sentences that got me thinking about would/will: I will like to have your number. I would appreciate a text. Is that grammatically incorrect or just impolite? I suppose the ...
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100 views

about 'need' and legal requirements

I saw the following question. It is puzzling not because of the grammar, but the meaning of 'need': In the past we threw a lot of our kitchen waste away, but today many itmes such as plastic bottles ...
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237 views

Ellipsis in “can and have occurred”

The side effects can and have occurred. The omitted verb is an infinitive (occur) but the written verb is a past participle (occurred). Is this sentence grammatically correct and suitable for ...
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374 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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995 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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503 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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1k 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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5k 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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430 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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2k 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 we ...
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647 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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432 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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1k 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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55 views

“She must have done that, mustn't she?” (Tail/tag questions with “Can/may/must + Present Perfect”)

How often can you hear an educated native speaker say She can't have done that, can she? She can have done that, can't she? She mustn't have done that, must she? She must have done that, mustn't she?...
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115 views

Omitting verbs, is it correct?

I wonder if I could omit the second 'visit' in such sentence: You have to visit all the places, which she wants to (visit) Would it be correct? Thanks in advance :)
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What is the best word for this context: May or Should?

• This Quotation is a confidential document provided strictly for the party to whom it is addressed and may neither be used for any purpose other than as intended nor shared with any other party • ...
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66 views

Usage/meaning of would in this very specific context (book)

Can anyone explain me the meaning of would (underlined) in this specific context? How would you rephrase this sentence? It's an excerpt from the book In the Teeth of The Evidence: And Other Mysteries ...
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103 views

Present Tense Construction using “May”

Is it correct to say: “I'm not planning on leaving the country any time soon, but you just don't know when a passport may come in handy”? One issue raised about the sentence was the usage of "...
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41 views

Sentence with would or used to [closed]

Having the following sentences: He wouldn't like us to be stuck at home. He didn't use to like us being stuck at home. Which one is correct? Can I use both?
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267 views

Modal verb in the beginning of a sentence

I am reading The Lord of the Ring where I found this sentence: May you have joy of the sight, my good dwarf! Is it a correct usage of modal verb? I have not found any grammar rule for this case. ...
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154 views

Is “mustn’t be doing something” deontic or epistemic?

Do the following sentences have a deontic or epistemic meaning? He must be studying now. He mustn't be studying now.
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264 views

Can a remote conditional have “might” in the protasis?

In the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Huddleston and Pullum, the authors write: A remote conditional must have a modal auxiliary as the apodosis verb (usually would, should, could, ...
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588 views

could and might to talk about future possibility

I have problem with using could in the future possibilities for example: They have the technology, but unless the government makes stricter laws, car companies ____ do it. With which one should I ...
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604 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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80 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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205 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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979 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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1k 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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47 views

Finite and non-finite clauses: “We have washed the dishes”

I have a quick question regarding finite and non-finite clauses if I may? In clauses that contain modal or auxiliary verbs marked for tense AND a non-finite element, is the clause finite or non-...
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61 views

Is “know how to” a phrasal modal? [closed]

I know how to do it If not, how would you analyze this?
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Meaning of the term “empty use” in the context of modal verbs

I'm reading a book titled Comprehensive High School English Grammar & Composition. The author, who is Indian, says this on the use of the modal verbs can and could: Can is used to express "...
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147 views

Would and Could [duplicate]

In a formal agreement, we can place one of these two sentences: He would do sth. He could do sth. What we want is that if the person, He, wants and is willing to "do sth," he is able to do that ...
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“However difficult something is, …” or “However difficult something may/might be, …” ? [duplicate]

Does it make sense to follow an adjective phrase such as "however difficult" with the modal auxiliaries "may/might"? Isn't it a bit pleonastic, since "however" already contains the idea of either ...
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18 views

Should or would [duplicate]

Is it I should be grateful for an early response or I would be grateful for an early response. In formal UK English it is the former but even there I see it less often these days. Since I was brought ...
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“He might could come Friday” - Can anyone use two modals for the same verb (and get away with it)? [duplicate]

I've heard someone use two modals for the same verb more than once, in an American film. It looked like an old movie, perhaps from the 70s. The other sentence was: "I might could help you." I wonder ...
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18 views

When to Use “Could, Would , Will and Can”? [duplicate]

When to Use "Could, Would , Will and Can"? Could you please send me that email? Would you please send me that email? Will you please send me that email? Can you please send me that email? Please ...
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191 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?
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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 ...
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33 views

Breaking Tense: “May be” vs. “May have been”

This may be simple or trivial, but when writing in the past tense, is it wrong to switch to present tense to use the verb "may be"? Sharon may be irrational, but it was not completely her fault. ...
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128 views

When is “need” a modal verb, and when is it not? [closed]

When do we use "need" as a modal verb and say "need something" or "need do something", and when do we say: "need to do something" "I needed" "he needs" etc.? Can we use "will need"?
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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 • ...
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484 views

Is the word “will” some conjugation of the verb “to be”?

I have the impression that the phrase "will be" is using the verb "to be" twice. Is that correct?
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182 views

I am learning English because I will need it when I go abroad

Which ones of the following could be correct: I am learning English because I will need it when I go abroad. I am learning English because I need it when I go abroad. What I imply is that I ...
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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.)
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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
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Must had vs must have [closed]

If someone says that they had been to Florida on a recent trip, which one of the following would be a correct respone: That must had been fun. That must have been fun. Or is there a ...