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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Stress on “can” and “could”

I can go there. I could go there. In these sentences, when spoken, how is the meaning altered by putting stress/emphasis on the words can and could?
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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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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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Why is the past tense of “may”, “might”?

Why is the past tense of may, might? When you see other past forms of auxiliary verbs, they usually have -ould, like should, could, and would. Unlike other forms, the past tense of may is might not ...
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Is it possible to use had to + past participle?

I always think that the proper use of this construction is, for example: 'After the death of her grandfather, she had to take over his duties on the farm'. This is a sentence from my paper, which ...
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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 ...
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Is it possible to say “we were better” meaning “we better” in the past tense?

I know that textbooks maintain that this phrase (even not exactly this, since it's the "incorrect" version of "we had better") should be used only in the present and future tenses but I wonder if it's ...
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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 ...
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Passive of modal verb dare

What would be the passive of: You dare not talk to her. Also, is it right to say "you dare not talk to her" at all?
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“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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Can we say “you can [not go] to school” or does it automatically become a negative sentence? [duplicate]

"You can [not go] to school." Can this sentence mean that you can stay here and not go, or does it automatically become a negative sentence if I say it like this?
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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
376 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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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
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'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 ...
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2answers
91 views

“Would” & “ Used to”

"Would " & " Used to ". They both are used for repeated action in the past tense. Then what is the difference between them?
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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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How does one correctly use the 'verb + infinitive' construction?

Which option is correct? I want add something. I want to add something. If there is a general rule, please describe it. If you know how to better name the topic, propose your own version.
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How many tenses are there in English?

Do we have 16 tenses in English? With future present past future in the past in these forms simple continuous perfect perfect continuous Can we manipulate these together to create English ...
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Is “You must have cleaned the room by 9 o'clock tomorrow” epistemic or deontic?

"You must have cleaned the room by 9 o'clock tomorrow" Is must epistemic or deontic here? I think it might be epistemic because of the use of the perfect aspect (have cleaned), but it sounds ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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1answer
71 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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1answer
52 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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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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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 ...
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1answer
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'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, ...
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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.
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Difference between “should” and “ought to”

What is the difference between You should go and You ought to go? I rarely use the latter.
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428 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 ...
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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?
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“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?
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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?
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110 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?
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117 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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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?
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“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 ...
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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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2answers
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“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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1answer
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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?"
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“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.
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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“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"?
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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?
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...