English Grammar: Modal Verbs

A modal auxiliary verb gives information about the function of the main verb that it governs ...


A modal verb is a type of verb that is used to indicate modality – that is: likelihood, ability, permission and obligation. Examples include the English verbs can/could, may/might, must, will/would and shall/should. In English, modal verbs are often distinguished as a class based on certain grammatical properties.

  • Can

Gabriella can speak French fluently.

You can take a taxi.

Can I have a drink, please?

  • Be able to

He is able to find any street in London.

  • Can't

That story can't be true.

  • Could

The teacher said we could all go home.

Could you help me with these boxes?

You could ask your doctor for a check-up.

  • May

I may be late, so don’t wait for me.

May I come in?

  • Might

She might not want to come with us.

  • Must

All passengers must wear seat belts.

His new car must have cost around £20,000.

  • Have to

It’ll have to be on a Sunday. I’ll be working every other day.

  • Need to

He needs to see a doctor straightaway.

  • Should

You should read his new book.

  • Ought to

You really ought to quit smoking.

  • Needn't

I needn’t have put on this thick coat.

  • Mustn't

You mustn’t tell Jerry what I’ve bought.

  • Don't have to

You don't have to call a taxi.

What's Your Reaction?

Confused Confused
1
Confused
Sad Sad
0
Sad
Geeky Geeky
0
Geeky
Haha Haha
0
Haha
Wow Wow
3
Wow
Hard Hard
0
Hard
Easy Easy
2
Easy
What? What?
0
What?

Comments 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

English Grammar: Modal Verbs

log in

Become a part of our community!
Don't have an account?
sign up

reset password

Back to
log in

sign up

Join ESL Buzz Community

Back to
log in
Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format