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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“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
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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
574 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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413 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
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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2answers
55 views

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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1answer
48 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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80 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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37 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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1answer
209 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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1answer
141 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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1answer
237 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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1answer
533 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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554 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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1answer
77 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
184 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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1answer
914 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
989 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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53 views

“would not” vs. “did not” [migrated]

Could anybody explain to me the usage of 'would' in the following sentences: I asked to borrow the car but my father wouldn't let me. The landlady wouldn't allow me to have guests. I was ...
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41 views

Is “know how to” a phrasal modal?

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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1answer
117 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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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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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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170 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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1answer
111 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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“would I need” or “will I need” What is the correct sentence?

I don't know which sentence is correct for my formal letter? As a foreigner will I need any work permit or personal accident insurance? As a foreigner would I need any work permit or personal ...
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1answer
467 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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2answers
154 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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3answers
9k views

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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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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542 views

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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2answers
47 views

Modals usage can/could [closed]

We were checking some exercises and I wanted to know what's the correct modal to use: Gemma is away in Australia all summer. You ___ (can / see) her yesterday! The answer is can't have seen, ...
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2answers
447 views

Speculation about a Future Event [closed]

What is the difference between the following two sentences: 1. He will be coming tomorrow. 2. He must be coming tomorrow.
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341 views

Future Perfect in the Past

Can I use should have done for the future just like will have done? For example: It should have been finished by next Monday. Which basically means It should be finished by next Monday but with ...
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1answer
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The Use of the Modal Verb “Would” in a Certain Passage

Please consider the following passage from my English textbook: ...The commander of the troops called on his men to gather together on deck in proper drill order...Meanwhile, the lifeboats had ...
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2answers
387 views

“I stay in Canada” vs. “I will stay in Canada” [duplicate]

Situation: I am in Canada and will go back to Hong Kong next week. So, I want to tell my friends that "I will stay in Canada until the 6th of March". Question: I do not know if the word will should ...
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1answer
13k views

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 ...
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1answer
43 views

expressing uncertainty in the past: “could be” vs. “would have been”

Yesterday I wrote the below snippet in an email, but looking at it again it doesn't sound right: Last term I did way too much teaching related stuff (my fault, didn’t really know how much time ...
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4answers
106 views

“Your trip must have been fun” vs “Your trip has to have been fun”

I think these following sentences are equivalent in terms of meaning. I'd like to ask if there is subtle difference in terms of meaning? Which one is more common?Can we say one or other is more ...
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3answers
102 views

Will (be) flourish(ed)

It seems that the sentence "A young mind will flourish with the proper guidance" could be rewritten as "A young mind will be flourished with the proper guidance" without major difference in meaning. ...
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1answer
72 views

Modal verb “will” to describe a present situation

I heard a phone conversation between a person wishing to buy theater tickets and a sales agent like the following: “I want to buy two tickets for tonight’s show.” “Certainly. I’ll need your ...
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196 views

Expressing Impossibility in the Future

What are the possible meanings of the following sentence: He can't be coming tomorrow. I think it has the following two possible meanings: It is impossible that he will be coming tomorrow. He is ...
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2answers
91 views

Past modals and “like” [closed]

I need to rewrite a sentence by using the past modals. "Luke's given that watch away to a friend" (standard sentence) "Clearly he didn't like it then". (the sentence I have to rewrite with a modal ...
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2answers
470 views

Can modal verbs in the perfect tense, i.e. may/might/could have done, refer to the future?

I think the pattern 'modal + have + past participle' refers to the present or the past. Can it refer to the future as well? Are all of the following sentences correct: He may have arrived yesterday. ...
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106 views

Use of 'would' in place of the past simple

They left the house at 6 and would reach Edinburgh 12 hours later. (= .............. and they reached Edinburgh 12 hours later.) This is from a famous grammar book. I don't understand how ...
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Is it correct to say “I was sure after a year I would get over it”?

My pet dog died last summer, she was the only one I had, but I was sure after a year I would get over it. Or should I say I had get over it there instead?