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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Omission of “to” with deontic “have to” [closed]

In the following sentence from The New Yorker (emphasis added) Sarkozy [...] has spent much of his campaign trying to woo voters away from Le Pen [...] and he is only going to have grovel for them ...
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502 views

Meaning of sentence with 'would'

The sentence is: What would the people eat? Can it mean "What are the people going to eat?" in future Or, "What were the people going to eat?" talking about future from past Or, both?
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157 views

Is it right to say “Is John lie?” [closed]

So is it right to say "Is John lie?"? If yes, why not "Does John lie?" or "Is John lying?". Sorry if it sounds stupid, but I'm a bit confused.
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30 views

Using “could” when giving direction

Today someone asked me how to get to a place via bus. I only knew the train route so I tried to tell her that she could(?) use the train instead. This is an excerpt of the conversation: Do you know ...
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1answer
47 views

“Can” vs “Able to”: People/Animals vs. Inanimate Objects

I’m wondering if the English grammar “rule” given below, which I have heard from numerous non-native speakers, has any validity. “can” is used for people, animals, and inanimate objects. ...
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41 views

Modality: Modals with Continuous Aspect

I am not completely sure about the use of 'must' 'can't' and 'should' in continuous aspect. It seems that different people have different opinions, especially regarding their use to refer to the ...
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2answers
347 views

“Could not have been” vs. “must not have been”

What's the difference between "could not have been" and "must not have been"? For example, That could not have been an easy task. That must not have been an easy task. I've seen both ...
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139 views

Grammar: French conditionnel in English?

Could anybody help me here, please? I’d like to know the grammatical form of the verb “can" in the following examples: 18y old Tim is asked by a relative what he’s going to do with his life. ...
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107 views

The modal verb would

Longman Advanced Learners' grammar says: (p 27/7) Dad would always help us out financially when we were at university, however difficult it was for him. Is it correct to use 'would' in this ...
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1k views

What is the difference between “have not to” and “have to not”?

English isn't my native language, of course, to ask something like this. I personally thought that "have not to do something" and "have to not do something" were the same. But recently, I've seen a ...
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2answers
143 views

Would it be incorrect to use “could” and “might” in the same sentence?

Would it be incorrect to use “could” and “might” in the same sentence? For example: It could be that Joseph might come this afternoon. Since could and might are both stating a possibility, it ...
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1answer
158 views

Difference between “had + past” and “would have + past”? [closed]

Is there any difference between these two statements? When should each be used? I thought you had slept. I thought you would have slept.
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128 views

Finite verbs / Do vs Be

Which is correct? "You were always looking out for me. You always do." or "You were always looking out for me. You always are."
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127 views

counterpart of “Shall I/we …” in written English

See my title. I am looking for a word or expression to replace the way of "Shall I/we ...?" The context is I am asking for permission or suggestion but it is not in conversation. I want to apply such ...
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144 views

“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 ...
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4answers
396 views

“It might not be adequate and worsen” vs. “it might not be adequate and worsens”

The problem is this sentence: It might not be adequate in some cases and worsen the results. Is it correct or should I write "worsens the results"? If the effect of might not is propagated to ...
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2answers
882 views

“Would” vs “Will”

In the following context is the word 'would' correct at all or do we have to use 'will'? Some countries grow hashish, and sometimes they would smuggle it to other countries. Some countries ...
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1answer
36 views

Mustn't be doing something

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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41 views

Use of Modal Verbs 'Must' and 'Will' to Express Certainty

When I see examples of 'must' or 'will' showing certainty, I find that the main verb is either a stative verb or a present participle preceded by 'be'. How different are the two sentences in the ...
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2answers
99 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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2answers
50 views

Is there a difference between the two sentences? [duplicate]

-The train could leave Boston. -The train would leave Boston. Is there a difference? Are they interchangeable?
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56 views

Contracting “I should have” to “I'd've”

I know that for "I would have" the contraction "I’d have" or "I’d’ve" is a lot more frequently used in everyday conversation. But is the same true for "I should have"? Is "I’d've" also prefered?
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60 views

Modal-verb ellipsis

I have two questions about modal-verb ellipsis. Can we omit the boldfaced modal verb in (a), without changing the meaning of the sentence? Which sounds more natural, (a) or (b)? (a) The delegation ...
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132 views

Can 'must' be used in a negative question?

Is it proper to write negative questions this way? You mustn't watch too much TV, must you?
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9 views

Confusion about modal and auxiliary verb sentence structure [duplicate]

"Little did he realize that ..." What is the structure of this sentence with the past tense of the auxiliary verb 'do' in the beginning ? 2) "Otherwise, could we..." or "Otherwise, we could..." ?
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105 views

Can “may” be an infinitive

I was reading this article http://www.organics.org/8-beers-that-you-should-stop-drinking-immediately/ when I saw Propylene Glycol is controversial, and is said to may be potentially harmful to ...
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41 views

Asking a Question about Certainty [closed]

Suppose, I am a student and I am at school. I need to meet the principal. I go to his office, but he is not in. Now I ask myself a question about his presence. Which one of the following is the most ...
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147 views

“I may know where it is” vs. “I know where it may be”

I am wondering if the following two sentences have different meanings. I may know where it is. I know where it may be.
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1answer
40 views

Use of 'Could' in the Past Tense

What are the possible meanings and implications of the following sentences: He could come yesterday. He could not come yesterday. He could have come yesterday. He could not have come yesterday.
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3answers
356 views

“Fortunately I could get into the next bus” vs. “fortunately I managed the next bus”

Which of the following sentences is more acceptable in the meaning "fortunately someone get into or was able to catch the next bus"? Fortunately I could get into the next bus. Fortunately I ...
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4answers
157 views

Don't understand the connotation of the modal verb “may”

In the sentence there may be no legitimate form of reasoning to the best explanation understood as an alternative to inductive reasoning. does may be no mean that it is possible that there ...
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0answers
44 views

Ability vs. General Ability in the Past

There is a rule in English that we don't use 'could' to express someone's ability to do something at a particular time or in a particular situation in the past. We use other expressions e.g. be able ...
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1answer
108 views

Why is “that would be me” more certain than “that is me”?

I have been reading these two posts on would: Why "that would be me"? (part 1) & Why "that would be me"? (part 2) If you want a domestic SUV, then the best choice would be the Ford Escape ...
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1answer
1k views

How to create a questions from past modal verb sentences

I have no idea why my question was closed as it was pretty clear (at least for a person of average intelligence) so I am trying again: There is a sentence, e.g: He could have seen that. Will the ...
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3answers
355 views

“Can” or “may” and “have to” or “must” [closed]

There are two typical situations: when someone asks for a permission or for a obligation. I am totally confused, because there seems to be two ways to ask and to reply, and I don't know which one is ...
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3answers
50 views

How can I ask for a user's contact information? [closed]

We have an app in which users will win prizes, and we will be contacting them by email to send them their prizes. In the dialog requesting the user's email address, I've written this text: Please ...
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1answer
820 views

Questions with 'would' [closed]

Why most questions in English get asked with 'would'? Grammar books say that it's used for making a polite request, but doesn't talk about the grammar of the 'would' part. Do we have to answer ...
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1answer
93 views

How to reply when someone says “How dare you do it” [closed]

I have no idea how to answer this: How dare you do it or How dare you do something that is unusual Is this a correct way of replying I dare it because I needed it Are there any ...
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2answers
232 views

“Can I” vs “May I” [duplicate]

You may have heard the argument "it's not can I go to the bathroom, it's may I." If this is true, then any question such as "can you get me a glass of water?" could have the same argument applied to ...
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1answer
169 views

could have done vs could do [duplicate]

I always suspected that the idiot in the tux could not have done it on his own. In this sentence, if we said could not do instead of could not have done what would be the difference in meanings ...
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0answers
66 views

“can I speak to Mr Tom” or “May I speak to Mr Tom” which one is correct [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can/May/Will you help me with this? Difference between “can” and “may” Can I speak to Mr Tom? May I speak to Mr Tom? Which one is correct? My thinking is ...
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1answer
403 views

'What may it be'/ 'what may be it' which one is correct? [closed]

I think,saying 'what may it be' is correct in the sense of something that i did not see before,it is new to me and on my hand.and i am saying this sentence "what may it be"/"what may be it".which one ...
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3answers
702 views

“Do you know where I might find them” VS “Do you know where I may find them” [closed]

What is the difference among the following questions: Do you know where I might find them? vs Do you know where I may find them? vs Do you know where I could find them? vs Do you ...
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1answer
67 views

How to comprehend “The output should be false.”? [closed]

Consider a function in a computer program which returns a boolean value (true or false). The output should be false。 can be interpreted as either of the following two: 1. As we expected, the output ...
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1answer
715 views

“To have to” vs. “should” [closed]

I wonder which one to choose here: My father should drive carefully when it’s raining. My father has to drive carefully when it’s raining.