Questions tagged [modal-verbs]

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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The verb “take” can mean “remove” or

The verb "take" can mean "remove" or it can mean "move" or it can mean "accept", depending on context. The verb "take" can mean "remove" or ...
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My cards associated with the bank account

My cards associated with this bank account include a debit card, a credit card, etc. My cards which are associated with this bank account include a debit card, a credit card, etc. My cards which are ...
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Contexts that allow volitional past-time “would” with singulary dynamic situations

Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 197, reads Volitional past-time "would" is normally excluded from affirmative contexts with singulary dynamic situations, so that we couldn’t ...
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the auxiliary “need” (in affirmative sentences?)

I remember being told the modal “need” is used only in interrogative and negative sentences and was for quite a long time more idiomatic than the normal forms, but is there anything wrong with the ...
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Common modal verbs in a sentence with two different verbs

We streamlined our leisure hours for higher production, lived by the clock even when time did not matter, standardized and mechanized our homes, and sped the machinery of living so that we could go to ...
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(negative to affirmative) “we could not but pocket the insult”

When we do negative to affirmative, we always use 'must' in the place of 'can not but'. I further know that we cannot use 'must' in the place of 'could not but' because 'could not but' is a past form. ...
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Is 'may suggest' redundant? and is it necessary to put 'that' after suggest?

I'm a little confused here. I get the impression that 'suggest' indicates uncertainty already so adding 'may' may seem redundant? But, 'may suggest' is widely used so I think it's correct. Also, is it ...
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I would have gone travelling or I would have gone to travel?

Why do we say "I would have gone travelling" instead of "I would have gone to travel"? Because "would" is a modal verb, we usually say that it is followed by an ...
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I’d never have guessed that they were married [closed]

Consider these sentences, please: Looking at her now you’d never guess she had been so upset. Can I use "has been" or "was" in place of "had been" in the sentence above?...
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Will and would modal verbs

1). A majority of voters approved changes to Russia's constitution that would allow president valdmir putin to hold power until 2036. 2). A majority of voters approved changes to Russia's ...
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Can vs Could usage differences

He goes to London every month so that he can see his ailing father. He goes to London every month so that he could see his ailing father. Which of the above sentences is correct?? My friends are ...
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Use of 'would' for evidentiality in American English

In American English, "would" is used more often than in British English. It seems that one reason is using 'would' for evidential use in American English. especially for indirect ...
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I could participate in the music show

Consider this sentence, please: a) If I had been serious about music when I was young, today I could participate in the music show. Is sentence a) correct or do we have to use "could have ...
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What is the difference between “some would argue that…” vs “some may argue that”?

What is the difference between these two expressions: "Some would argue that..." vs "Some may argue that..." Thank you,
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Could vs Be able to

I saw a grammar question about this issue :"He ........ arrive at the party on time, even after missing the train, so he was very pleased." and the website picked "was able to" as the answer. I was ...
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What's the difference between using “should” and “must” when making guesses?

I will clarify my question first by giving you some examples of the usage I am specifically asking about: The dish should be ready by now. You must be exhausted, come in. Most online teaching ...
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Modal Simple vs Simple Past [duplicate]

Is there any difference between the two standalone statements below: She sat on my chair She would sit on my chair I emphasise standalone because it is clear to me what a statements such as "I knew ...
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Can't have drunk VS Isn't able to have drunk VS Wasn't able to have drunk

I found a good sentence: She can't have drunk that much coffee It seems to be correct. Why isn't the next thing correct then if "can" and "be able" can mean the same thing? She isn't able to have ...
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It is able to be possible/ She is able to have drunk

If "can" and "be able to" are interchangable sometimes, for example: She can speak Latin = She is able to speak Latin Can "be able to" be used instead of "can" in: She can't have drunk that much ...
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may or can in generally true sentences?

Consider this definition of "may", given in https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/may Definition 3: You use may to indicate that something is sometimes true or is true in some ...
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Modal Verbs and Sequence of Tenses

Should the clause “I would/should think” be followed by another also in the past, according to the rules of tense sequence? I should think he was here [I think he is here now]. I should think the ...
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Could have - Would have been able - Could have been able

Is there any difference between: I could have done it I would have been able to do it I could have been able to do it ? I think the third one is excessive because it has two the same elements of ...
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Must have been going through and Could have been going through

I was doing grammar exercise, I don't understand why should I use must have been rather than could have been, is it because he suffered from a Long illness and he'll die anyway, so I should put must ...
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Would not be able to versus will not be able to

Linda phoned and explained that she would not be able to come to the party the next day because she was still sick. Why do we use would not instead of will not?
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Is conjunction reduction possible within an if's compound apodosis?

I have the following sentence: If the researcher knew the mechanism, any feature of the population would be known, any (causal) relationships in the population would be completely traceable, and ...
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Is it usual to contract would (e.g. Adam'd) after proper nouns?

I'm met with a tricky question, though not so essential I'd still like to know if places or peoples names can be joined by modal verbs. I'm certain Adam wouldn't mind: to Adam'd not mind. Also I'...
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How can you distinguish the meanings of “would”?

Below is the context at issue: Interviewer: You would like to see a change in our whole approach to aging. You advocate equality – a society for all ages. What (1) would this look like? Interviewee:...
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Is “you might have already had dinner” correct order-wise? [duplicate]

I said this to a friend of mine, but I am not sure whether it is correct or not, in terms of word order. You might have already had dinner. Or maybe the correct way is: You might already have had ...
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If I was vs If I were [duplicate]

If I was to live and avoid terrible deficits, I would have to have urgent surgery. Is this grammatically correct? Shouldn't it be "If I were"? Most importantly, what is the grammar rule governing ...
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May not = can not, not allowed or prohibited? [closed]

I did an English test and there was a question which made me really confused. You may not take this trip. In the sentence above, may not can be substituted by: You are prohibited to take this trip ...
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can do worse than V

In "You can do worse than become a lawyer" (a more common alternative is "You could do worse than"), what does the "can" mean? Some people say it is used to indicate possibility, but there are ...
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2answers
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“They wouldn’t give me my money back.”.What is the meaning of 'would' in this sentence?

I am learning model verb 'would'. And one of the sentences I am not being able to understand. Here is the sentence "The CD wasn’t working so I brought it back to the shop but they wouldn’t give me my ...
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“should” vs “should have to”

learnersdictionary.com: (1a) All contestants should have to follow the same rules. (2a) No one should have to tolerate that kind of treatment. My variants without "have to": (1b) All ...
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Mixing Conditional 1 and 2

Are the following sentence ok to use ? Are they related to the mixed conditions where you mix between conditional 1 and 2 ???? 1-I want to travel abroad and complete my study if I could. 2- I want ...
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The meaning of ‘must have to’

I have collected the following examples from a corpus: (1) Ohio is of course a battleground state that made observers, indeed most observers say Donald Trump must have to win this election. But can ...
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you might be able to put the ashes

Consider this sentence of mine, please: If you wanted to enhance the soil, you might be able to put the ashes in your garden. Does the second part of the above sentence suggest that the speaker is ...
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1answer
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What sentence sounds more natural?

I have a question regarding the following sentences: which one is more native one. I wouldn't be trying to learn English, if I haven't met someone who inspired me. I wouldn't be trying to learn ...
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Active to Personal Passive - what do we do with “may be”?

If I wanted to turn this sentence written in the active voice: "People believe he may be fired", to one with Personal passive structure, how should it sound like at the end? He is believed to ... 1) ...
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Owns, owned, had owned, anyone would think

Are the following sentences correct? a) Anyone would think he owns/owned the place, from the way he talks! (talking about the present) b) Anyone would think he owned/had owned the place, from the ...
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Is this even correct?

How is the "I may" part in the following sentence correct? "may" is used for asking permissions politely but here it is not used as a question and yet it is politely structured? Am I missing smth here?...
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could vs might, different or same

Is the difference between could and might in a) much more significant than in b)? a) You need to discuss with them how they could vs might help you. b) You could vs might try calling the help desk. ...
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may vs might, same or different

Do the following sentences have the same meaning? a) You need to discuss with them how they may help you. b) You need to discuss with them how they might help you.
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might=will possibly or would possibly

Consider this sentence of mine, please: Depending on the context, I might use one of the sentences. If you were to paraphrase might in the above sentence, how would you paraphrase it? a) Depending ...
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What tense is “would have been”?

This is used in Conditional Type 3. But no one knows what tense this is...
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What is the past form of the modal verb “must”?

There are 9 modal verbs, and you can pair every two of them together to represent present and past forms, except must: can ----› could shall --› should will ---› would may ----› might must ---› ??...
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Could=might be able to?

Can you please give me an example where could might be used as meaning might be able to?
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native speakers view on the meaning of the modal words “could” and “might”

How does a native speaker of English understand the meanings of the modal words could and might in sentences (present or future tense, not past tense sentences) without a specified conditional clause? ...
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“Might” In Second Conditionals?

Consider this sentence, please: 1) You might say that work is coming back into fashion. Can I convert 1) into a second conditional sentence? For example: 1a) (If you wanted to), you might say that ...
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“Can to do” in song's lyrics

In the song "The next right thing" from the Frozen 2 soundtrack there is a strange part in the lyrics: Take a step, step again It is all that I can to do The next right thing Why "can to do", is it ...
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Couldn't have been more wrong vs Couldn't be more wrong

Is there a difference between 'I couldn't have been more wrongˇ and 'I couldn't be more wrong' if used after a sentence like 'I thought he would appreciate the gesture'?

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