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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which of the following sentences uses could incorrectly

from here: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Modal-Auxiliary-Verbs-Could.htm Even though in the pessage it says that "like can, we we can also use can or could to describe actions that are ...
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52 views

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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What did you used to do? [closed]

Page 496 of Collins Cobuild English Usage reads You form 'yes/no'-questions with used to by putting did in front of the subject, followed by use to: Did you use to do that, when you were a kid? ...
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Your child might/could do better

Your child might do better if she got/had a different teacher. Your child could do better if she got/had a different teacher. Q: Are 1) and 2) both pure second conditionals or is sentence 1) a mixed ...
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Usage of the modal SHOULD in clauses of condition

In my grammar it says in clauses of condition should is used to express a supposition that may not be true. For example, 1.If it should rain, they will not come. 2.If he should see me here, he will be ...
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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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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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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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55 views

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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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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54 views

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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35 views

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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35 views

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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38 views

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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1answer
49 views

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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69 views

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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53 views

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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35 views

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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63 views

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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48 views

“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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42 views

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
60 views

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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