Modal Verb in English Grammar

Modal verb in English is a fundamental aspect of the English language and are used to indicate the speaker’s attitude or level of certainty about the action being described by the main verb. These auxiliary verbs are used to express ideas such as ability, possibility, necessity, and permission. Understanding the different types of modal verbs, their forms and uses, and the nuances of their meanings is essential for mastering English grammar.

This article will provide an overview of modal verbs in English grammar, including their types, forms and uses, common modal verbs. By the end of this article, readers will have a better understanding of how modal verbs are used in the English language and will be able to use them more effectively in their own writing and speech.

Modal Verb in English

What is Modal Verb?

A modal verb is a type of verb (auxiliary verb)that is used to indicate the speaker’s attitude or level of certainty about the action being described by the main verb. Examples of modal verbs include “can,” “could,” “may,” “might,” “must,” “shall,” “should,” “will,” and “would.” These verbs are used to express ideas such as ability, possibility, necessity, and permission. They are typically used with other verbs to indicate the speaker’s attitude or level of certainty about the action being described by the main verb.

Types of Modal Verbs

There are several types of modal verbs in English, including:

  • Ability modal verbs: These verbs express the ability or lack of ability to do something. Examples include “can,” “could,” “be able to,” and “be unable to.”
  • Possibility modal verbs: These verbs express the possibility or likelihood of something happening. Examples include “may,” “might,” “could,” and “must.”
  • Necessity modal verbs: These verbs express the need or requirement for something to happen. Examples include “must,” “have to,” “need to,” and “should.”
  • Permission modal verbs: These verbs express whether or not something is permitted or allowed. Examples include “can,” “could,” “may,” “might,” and “be allowed to.”
  • Advice modal verbs: These verbs express the advice or suggestion for something to happen. Examples include “should,” “ought to,” “had better,” and “be supposed to.”
  • Volition modal verbs: These verbs express the willingness or unwillingness to do something. Examples include “will,” “would,” “shall,” “should,” and “be going to.”

Form and Use of Modal Verbs

The form and use of modal verbs in English grammar can be quite complex. Some general points to keep in mind include:

  • Modal verbs are typically used with other verbs to indicate the speaker’s attitude or level of certainty about the action being described by the main verb.
  • Modal verbs do not change form to indicate tense, unlike regular verbs which change form depending on the tense.
  • Modal verbs are always followed by the base form of the main verb (infinitive without “to”).
  • Some modal verbs can be used to indicate past, present, and future actions, while others can only indicate present or future actions.
  • Some modal verbs can be used to indicate both ability and possibility, such as “can” and “could,” while others are more specific in their meanings, such as “must” which indicates necessity.
  • Some modal verbs are used to express degrees of certainty, such as “may” which indicates a lower degree of certainty than “must” which indicates a high degree of certainty.

List of Modal Verbs in English

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

  • 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

  • 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.

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erna wermescher
erna wermescher
3 years ago

Hallo!
please send me the Modal Verbs table
Thank you
Yours :Erna