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Modal verbs and its types

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Modal verbs or modal auxiliary verbs are a type of verbs that indicates modality, i.e., likelihood, permission, ability and obligation. Some of the common modal verbs are can, could, may, might and must. Let us understand them briefly.

Remember as a kid you asked your parents before going out to play,  “Can I go out to play?” Now, at your work place when you want to leave early, you have to ask for permission, “Could I go home early today?”

modal verbs

They are a kind of special verbs which behave very irregularly in English. Modals cannot be represented alone as a main verb since they are always used in the helping form. Let’s learn them one by one and take another step towards English fluency.

Types of modals


1. Will/ Would

Will is used to show a wish, prediction, request, demand, order, assumption, promise, etc.

Examples:

Will you please keep quiet?
Aruna says, it will rain today.
Kumar said he will not drink alcohol henceforth.

Whereas, would is used to show a wish or to request in a polite way and sometimes to express habits.

Examples:

Would you please give me 100 bucks?
She would remain very calm during her examination days.

2. Can

Can is used to show permission, possibility, and ability.

Examples:

You can join us for the dinner if you want.
Can I leave early today?
Sanvika can speak English fluently.

3. Could

Could is used to represent a suggestion, request, permission, future possibility and ability in the past.

Examples:

Could I go for a movie?
I think we could do it.
Neha gave up her dreams so that she could marry him.

4. May

May is used to ask permission and to show future possibility.

Examples:

May I have a cup of tea?
India may become a developed country by 2020.

5. Might

Might is used to show present and future possibility.

Examples:

I have a coupon of Pantaloons, that might offer a discount of 10% after showing them.
Mrs. Smith might be sleeping now, let’s not disturb her.

6. Must

Must shows the necessity, obligation and prohibition.

Examples:

You must not do it.
We must leave now.

7. Should

Should is used to show advice and obligation.

Examples:

You should walk carefully as the roads are slippery.
Shriya, you should close the tap and avoid wastage of water.

These modal verbs help you every day in your conversation. It is important to learn their correct usage. To improve your English communication skills, you can join a course and learn grammar in-depth. A spoken English course will not only help you develop your English communication skills but also will make you fluent in the language.

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-By Chander Madan

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