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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Will vs would in the following question [migrated]

What's the difference between: "I would go on a walk with my friend tonight. " "I will go on a walk with my friend tonight. "
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How to put the modal verb “may” into the correct tense? [migrated]

I don't understand how transform the following sentences using the following tenses. So that it has the same meaning as the first one. How to put the modal verb "may" into the correct tense? ...
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Is dare a modal or main verb in this sentence and how to identify it? [migrated]

I can identify "dare" as modal in negative and interrogative sentence but find it difficult to identify in assertive sentence. for example John dare to call a spade a spade.
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“can remind” or “can to remind”?

I found this sentence in a book that is as follows: Great poets are expressly aware of this, and they do what they can to remind the rest of us. I ask because on one site it says that the verb that ...
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“could” with the progressive aspect of a verb

Situation 1: My friends are playing outside. My leg is injured. Sitting at home, I'm thinking: It's pity that my leg is injured. I could be playing with them now. Situation 2: My friends are playing ...
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Modal verbs usage [closed]

Why do we use "have to have a visa to travel abroad", but not "must have a visa to travel abroad"? As far as I'm concerned, it's impossible to travel overseas without a visa, it's ...
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If it's a page lead, I'll normally try to get hold of it [closed]

If it's a page lead, I'll normally try to get hold of it. If it's a summary I normally won't have time. I would normally read abstract and discussion, and skim the rest. If it's about quantum ...
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Use of “would” to depict uncertain future

Consider the following scenario: A clinical trial that was initiated in Jan 2021 is currently recruiting participants. The estimated enrollment of the trial is 50 participants. It is not always sure ...
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I can solve it/ can see the car

Context: In a math class, Teacher: solve this problem. After some time, when the students are still trying: Teacher to one of his students: John, can you solve it? (He is basically asking John whether ...
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the difference between “must have + (past participle)” and “should have + (past participle)”

The following is a question from the university entrance examination held in 2013 using the DNC Japan Test. My brother (  ) have been very popular when he was a high school student. He still gets lots ...
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Around 1970 in Britain, was this use of 'shall', in 'You shall go (=I let you go)', already out-of-date in daily conversation?

A striking grammatical difference between BE and AE is the various uses of auxiliary verbs (now, modal verbs) of will and shall. When I was a high school boy studying English without any chance of ...
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If he got the job, he would be very happy now

Consider this, please: Person A: My brother was supposed to appear for an interview at 8am, and now it's 10. I don't know if he got the job or not. But one thing is for sure, If he got the job, he ...
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Otherwise I would/could/might be playing now [closed]

Person A: Why are you sitting here and not playing with them? Person B: My leg is injured. Otherwise I would be playing with them now. My leg is injured. Otherwise I could be playing with them now. ...
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“By whom” vs. “By who” with passive modal for forming questions

Consider this sentence: Children should be taught appropriate behavior by their parents. If We want to question the actual doer of the action (their parents), are these correct? By whom should ...
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Use of modal verbs when writing in past tense

I'm trying to write a story in past tense (I'm using deep POV). I have two characters who parted ways. One of them is regretting not spending more time with the other before leaving. Since he is ...
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In third conditional sentences, if the conditional clause precedes the independent clause, should a comma precede the independent clause?

(conditional clause with past perfect + comma + independent clause containing modal auxiliary + have + past participle) I learned this rule many years ago when I was a high school student, but I ...
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Checking back instructions and modal verbs

When my Russian students read a task or instruction or when I give instructions to them they often don't understand them immediately and ask questions like 'Should I do this exercise?', or 'Should I ...
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Varying modal verbs in counterfactual (“subjunctive”) conditionals

There are some situations in which one would like to vary the modal verb in counterfactual conditionals, but it seems to be incorrect. "If things were otherwise, she would keep her promise."...
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Infinitive Phrase or Verb Constituent

I refer to Doing Grammar by Max Morenberg as my default grammar reference. Morenberg makes a distinction between infinitive phrases, which function as Noun Subjects & Objects (SC, NDO, etc), and ...
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“Could” and “might” to talk about past possibilities

339.10 another use of may/might: typical occurrences (PEU = Michael Swan's, Practical English Usage.) In scientific and academic language, may is often used to talk about typical occurrences - things ...
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Meaning of 'could have done something'? [closed]

In the following sentence, If you had tried harder you could have succeeded. does could have succeeded mean would have been able to succeed, or might have been able to succed, or is it ambiguous if ...
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Do you say needn't have in AmE?

My textbook says that you can use this construction "needn't have" if you want to say that something that you have done in the past wasn't necessary and you didn't know it was unnecessary, ...
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Is “Not that we would have expected anything else, of course” sound?

In the GSMArena article Xiaomi denies any ties to the Chinese military in response to being blacklisted by the US, "would have" is used: Today Xiaomi has issued the following statement on ...
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“must + [verb]” past simple

Is there a way to use must in past simple? Present simple: You must run. Past perfect: You must have ran. Past simple doesn't work: You must ran. Not even with another word to indicate past (since ...
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Does “could” always mean something less likely than “can”, even in backshifted subordinate clauses?

Does the could version always show more uncertainty/doubt than the can version in each of ⑴, ⑵, and ⑶? You can/could get very nasty skin diseases from bathing in dirty water. You can/could get into ...
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What are the substitute verbs for the modal auxiliary verb 'may/might' when talking about possibility?

He can play. = He is able to play. He cannot play. = He is unable to play. He must not play. = He is forbidden to play. He is prohibited from playing. He must play. = He is compelled/forced/obliged to ...
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Is “must” more used than “have to” in written language?

I was taught that there is a difference in the kind of obligation one can express through 'must' and 'have to'. If I say I must do this. I imply that I feel an inner urge to do this, whereas if I say ...
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Subjunctive Mood with the Type 3 Conditional or “could with the perfect infinitive” expressing ability, theoretical possibility, etc. in the past

From NBC news’s ‘Breakthrough finding’ reveals why certain Covid-19 patients die: "Before Covid, their condition was silent," Bastard said. "Most of them hadn't gotten sick before.&...
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Why are we using a past modal verb with a present verb in this sentence?

it is typically restricted to military aircraft except for the legendary Concorde, which was able to speeds of up to three times that of passenger planes today Why are we using 'was able to' with '...
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Why is “be” in “this court rules he be put on probation” an infinitive?

I was watching an old movie, The Little Rascals, and one of the lines from a kid goes: Your Honor, may I suggest... this court rules he be put on probation. I am not sure if be is in infinitive form ...
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'May' and 'can' differences [duplicate]

What's the difference between may and can in the following context? 1- Our company has decided to organize a online quiz competition for students all over India on this Monday at 7:00 PM. Those who ...
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“I did not grew / grow up” - which one is the correct tense? [closed]

There are actually quite a few threads on the question of grew or grow up, but none with the verb did and the state "being poor" instead of a location, so I allow myself to ask it here. ...
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Modal verbs with passive continuous [closed]

Project work might be being done. Is this correct?
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GoT: “..You ought dress more warmly, Gared.” — why not `ought to dress`?

Reading Game of Thrones, Prologue, ...You ought dress more warmly, Gared. (More context here: Genius.com) Why not "ought to dress"? Is it a kind of archaic form?
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Correct usage of modal verbs: should have / might have / would have

Context: There are two lecturers in the particular faculty in the university and both of them are teaching the same subject as two parts. The first lecturer completed his part and the second lecturer ...
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using which in relative cause as an object

For example, is this sentence correct? “If your friend isn’t reliable, he/she can use the things which your friend knows about you against you.”
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The backshift of the forms of infinitives with modal verbs

Must can be used in reported speech. I told him that he must stay home. However, what happens if we use other forms of the infinitive? What is Jack doing? He must be watching TV. 2)I said that ...
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Using “may not” when something is not sometimes true

When we want to say something is sometimes true or happens sometimes, we use "can": A vegetarian diet can provide enough calories for a child's normal growth. What modal would you use if ...
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What's difference between could choose and could have chosen in this sentence?

A story is only as believable as the storyteller. For story to be effective, trust must be established. Yes, trust. Whenever someone stops to listen to you, an element of unspoken trust exists. Your ...
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Modal verbs in past narration

I'm correcting a text that is narrated in the past tense and has many sentences like the following: Bob realized he'd been lied to; he shouldn't be so naïve. He could go back and get revenge, it would ...
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Is “must have four cats” the same as “must have got four cats”?

On Cambridge Online Dictionary, the phrase "have got" is considered a formal alternative to simply "have", for example: He has four cats. He has got four cats. I want to ask: ...
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He could be released next year

Consider this sentence, please: He was jailed five years ago and could be released next year. Can I say that sentence 1) has two interpretations depending on the the degree of stress placed on "...
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First Conditional sentence with would

Grammatically, when we construct a first conditional sentence, the if-clause is followed by a result clause with a "will" in it. However, in many formal texts written by native English ...
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What is this formal (perhaps old-fashioned) actual-state-of-affairs use of 'should' called?

Here are three examples of the kind of thing I have in mind: “That he should do such a thing is terrible!” “That this should be the case is regrettable.” “That such a thing should happen is a blot on ...
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Does modal “will” have mood or tense, and if so what is it?

Reading elsewhere on this forum, it seems that "will" when used as a modal auxiliary is not regarded as having tense (despite that dictionaries seem to regard "would" as its past ...
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“Will” not used for somebody else's intentions/plans

Page 576 of Collins English Usage reads When you are talking about your own intentions, you use will or be going to. When you are talking about someone else's intentions, you use be going to. I'll ...
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“Didn't need to” vs “Needn't have done”

Page 315 of the Collins English Usage reads If you are talking about the past and you want to say that it was not necessary for someone to do something on a particular occasion, you say that they ...
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Is “It is supposed to do smth in case of…” correct?

Writing documentation I want to describe an action which a user is expected to do in case of some situation. Is it correct to say it the next way: "It is supposed to do ... in case of ...", ...
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Is 'would have' always the third conditional?

a. No Stone Age ten-year-old would have been living on tender foods like modern potato chips, hamburgers, and pasta. Their meals would have required far more chewing than is ever demanded of a modern ...
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These animals can usually be dangerous

These animals can be dangerous. Sentence 1) can be glossed as: These animals are sometimes dangerous. Or Some of these animals are dangerous. We can also add the adverb of frequency "...

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