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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

1
vote
3answers
58 views

I can say: “You shouldn't have done this!” Can I say: “You had better not have done this!”?

Provided "should" and "had better" are near synonyms (stronger advice in "had better" than in "should" or in more formal "ought to"), I know I can say You shouldn't have done this! But how about ...
2
votes
4answers
645 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
40 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
28 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
392 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
68 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 ...
-1
votes
3answers
78 views

Correct modal verb [closed]

Please share your thoughts about this item from an exam. UPDATED If it is possible for John to shift to architecture, he (should/could/must/might) shift to architecture. It is possible for John ...
2
votes
1answer
98 views

'Might' is the subjunctive inflection of 'may'; was there ever a subjunctive inflection of 'must'?

I acknowledge that there is no subjunctive mood in English. However, there are variants of some words that we might regard as subjunctive variants. For example, 'might' is the, if you will, ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Why would he do this to me?

Do the following two statements convey the same meaning? Why would he do this to me? Why did he do this to me? To me, both of them seem to imply something done to me in the past.
15
votes
5answers
20k views

Difference between “should” and “ought to”

What is the difference between You should go and You ought to go? I rarely use the latter.
0
votes
2answers
73 views

should have done vs should had done (sequence of tenses) [closed]

imagine you want to use "should have done" in a subordinate clause when there's some past tense in the main clause. e.g.: "He said I should have(had?) done it." which one is correct? or should i ...
23
votes
5answers
8k views

Why should I use “ought to”?

Is "ought to" still used in modern English? If yes, in what contexts is it used, and is it used more in formal or informal cases?
-7
votes
1answer
308 views

“should + have + p.p.” meaning

We can use the following structure Should + have + p.p. with two different meanings. Can someone explain those meanings for me?
2
votes
3answers
4k 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 quoted statement using can?
-1
votes
2answers
72 views

What are the uses of the modal verb “would”? [closed]

Besides the future-in-past sense in conditional sentences, what other alternative uses can the word would have in conversation?
1
vote
1answer
76 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. ...
1
vote
0answers
40 views

Use of the modal “can” in a sentence [closed]

... where you can know other cultures. I don't know but I feel the can know collocation in this sentence is a bit weird. Is this usage correct?
0
votes
0answers
61 views

“May have been” : sequence of tenses

Let us suppose we have such a sentence: John says Marry may have fallen ill. How should we change the sentence if we talk about the past? Is it correct? John said Marry might have fallen ...
1
vote
2answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
104 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
48 views

Can “dare” be followed by a present continuous tense? [closed]

I want to know if the following sentence is correct : "How dare you are not drinking tonight?"
-1
votes
3answers
2k views

“May not have [noun]” or “may have not [noun]”

Which of the following is correct: may not have or may have not? For example, which sentence should one write? They may not have apples. They may have not apples.
6
votes
6answers
211 views

Shift to “must” for negation of “have to”?

According to englishpage.com, if have to or must expresses certainty, the negative form uses must not. Example: That has to be Jerry. They said he was tall with bright red hair. => That must not ...
3
votes
3answers
19k views

Using “so that” without modal verbs

I know that usually with "so that" there is a modal verb. However, I do not know if this is correct because there is not a modal verb. I will wake him up so that he does not (will not) miss the ...
1
vote
0answers
20 views

“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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “will never have been” valid English?

I was reading this phrase "will never have been" and I was wondering what grammatical structure does it belong to / is it grammatical? I'm not sure why but it sounds weird. What is the difference ...
4
votes
1answer
15k views

'There seem' or 'there seems' + usage of the word 'seem'

First, I have a question "How words 'seem' and 'there' are used together?" Which is correct: There seem ... or There seems ... Then, I'm am interested in general constructions with the word ...
5
votes
5answers
16k views

“Can’t help but” vs. “can help but”

Is "can’t help but" considered to be a confused mix of the expressions "can but" and "can’t help"? If not, what is the difference between "can help but" and "can’t help but"?
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Future Tense of Modal Verbs

All normal verbs can be conjugated in the future tense. e.g. I know, I will know. I do, I will do. But I have noticed that we cannot conjugate the modal verb can in the future tense. can, I ...
4
votes
1answer
91 views

Is It Correct to Say ‘Need I Not’?

Need is utilised as a normal and also a modal verb (similar to ‘can’, ‘shall’...). e.g. I don’t need; I need not. Is it correct to say need I not or needn’t I for the interrogative form?
0
votes
2answers
89 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
36 views

Negative granting [closed]

I want to say for example to my kid that tomorrow he has the option to not wear formal shirts in school. What is the best way to say that ? "You can not to wear formal shirt tomorrow" ? Or in some ...
2
votes
5answers
9k views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
285 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 ...
-5
votes
1answer
875 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.
5
votes
6answers
3k views

Are modal verbs finite or non-finite?

According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, finite ... 2 Grammar (of a verb form) having a specific tense, number, and person. non-finite ... Grammar (of a verb form) not limited by tense, ...
1
vote
1answer
111 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
179 views

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 ...
-3
votes
2answers
240 views

Putative should - what time does it express? [closed]

Here are some examples with the putative should. What is the factor which indicates the time reference expressed by the putative should in the examples? Being a foreigner to English I find it hard to ...
0
votes
1answer
137 views

I regret that something didn't happen in the past

We can use should have + pp to express our regrets about things that didn't happen in the past. I should have talked to him about the car. (I regret, that I didn't talk to him) In the other ...
2
votes
1answer
692 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
60 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
106 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
152 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
675 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
-1
votes
2answers
104 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.
0
votes
2answers
218 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

A special use of “should”?

I saw a sentence like this: Wilkinson is contesting the release, and threatened to sue should it be released. I could understand it but do you know what do they call this kind of use of "should" ...
1
vote
1answer
82 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.