Linked Questions

32
votes
13answers
50k views

“May” & “Might”: What's the right context?

I may not be coming in tomorrow... I might not be coming in tomorrow... When should I use "may" and "might"?
28
votes
5answers
21k 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?
23
votes
6answers
21k views

When should one use “should” and when should one use “must”?

I tend to use should when it's a suggestion I don't have a strong opinion on, i.e. it could be done in many other ways than the one I'm suggesting and it can still happen. You should stop by that ...
3
votes
3answers
171k views

How can I use “must have been”?

Must have been can have two meanings— it depends on the text. Must have p.p. doesn't always mean that, for instance, something did not occur— it might occur. For instance: Clerks must have been in ...
4
votes
7answers
4k views

Confusing structures with modal verbs

I have skimmed through the part on modals of a classic grammar book (Murphy's "Grammar in Use") and picked up all the structures that look strange to me. Could you, please, explain how often they are ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

Is the “will” in “can and will” necessary?

Anyone who's ever seen much American film or television has heard some variation of the following sentences countless times: You have the right to remain silent. If you choose to give up that ...
2
votes
2answers
13k views

“I have to” vs. “I must”

When would you use the following? I have to go the market. I must go to the market. I need to go to the market. If I replace 'have' with 'had' would you have any other way to say it? E.g. I had to ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Dare + have done

Here is an example from an old book. I know it’s old but it can’t be simply discarded, I hope. "I never dare have spoken — never dare have told you that my love for you was killing me" So, I ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Usage of infinitives in this sentence

In my academics I learned that we use infinitives (to + verb 1st form). So I was surprised when someone told me this sentence is incorrect. I am not able to figure it out why this sentence is ...
3
votes
2answers
23k 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 used....
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Using “will” in a sentence vs not using “will”

I'm an ESL teacher. A student asked me a question regarding this sentence. "Don't phone Ann now. She'll be busy." The student asked me why we have to use "will" in the sentence. Why shouldn't the ...