24 Modal Auxiliary Verbs Pdf – What is a Modal Verb in English

24 Modal Auxiliary Verbs List PDF!

They can be distinguished from other verbs by their defectiveness (they do not have participle or infinitive forms) and by their neutralization (that they do not take the ending -(e)s in the third-person singular). Auxiliary Verbs – Definition and Examples

The modal verbs in English are a small class of auxiliary verbs used to express possibility, obligation, advice, permission, ability.

They can be distinguished from other verbs by their defectiveness (they do not have participle or infinitive forms) and by their neutralization (that they do not take the ending -(e)s in the third-person singular).

Must Learn: Daily Used Words in English

The principal English modal verbs are can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, and would. Certain other verbs are sometimes, but not always, classed as modals; these include ought, had better, and (in certain uses) dare and need.

Verbs that share only some of the characteristics of the principal modals are sometimes called “quasi-modals,” “semi-modals,” or “pseudo-modals.”

Modal Verbs! A modal verb might also be referred to as a ‘helping verb’ and these are very common within the English language.

There are, however, certain rules which surround their use, for example, the word ‘to’ must never be used after a modal verb. Learning these rules and how a modal verb can function within a sentence can greatly help you in forming grammatically correct sentences.

In this section, we are going to take a look at the modal verb in a little more detail as well as some examples of how it can be used, giving you a greater understanding of its function.

Learn the useful list of modal verbs and how to use 24 modal auxiliary verbs in English with useful grammar rules, example sentences, and ESL pictures.

Modal verbs List

The modals and modal phrases (semi-modals) in English are:

  • Will
  • Shall
  • Would
  • Should
  • Ought to
  • Must
  • Mustn’t
  • May
  • Might
  • Can
  • Could
  • Have to/ Has to
  • Don’t/ Doesn’t have to

Must Learn: Contraction Grammar in English

Examples of Modal Verbs

Here is a list of modals auxiliary Verbs with examples:

Modal Verb

Expressing

Example

Must

Strong obligation

You must stop when the traffic lights turn red.

logical conclusion / Certainty

He must be very tired. He’s been working all day long.

Prohibition(must not)

You must not smoke in the hospital.

Can

ability

I can swim.

permission

Can I use your phone, please?

possibility

Smoking can cause cancer.

Could

ability in the past

When I was younger I could run fast.

polite permission

Excuse me, could I just say something?

Possibility

It could rain tomorrow!

May

permission

May I use your phone, please?

possibility, probability

It may rain tomorrow!

Might

polite permission

Might I suggest an idea?

possibility, probability

I might go on holiday to Australia next year.

lack of necessity/absence of obligation (need not)

I need not to buy tomatoes. There are plenty of tomatoes in the fridge.

should/ought to

50 % obligation

I should / ought to see a doctor. I have a terrible headache.

advice

You should / ought to revise your lessons

logical conclusion

He should / ought to be very tired. He’s been working all day long.

Will/Would

Polite request

Will you join me for lunch?

I would appreciate your assistance.

Formal request

Will you be quiet!

Would you please pay attention!

Show intention

He will arrive at the beginning of the concert.

They would be the first students to register for the workshop.

Make prediction

If she receives a scholarship, she will continue with her studies.
I would be surprised if he is not elected.

Modal Verbs with Definition and Examples

Modal Verb – Will

Will

The verb “will” is used to express:

Promise

Example:

Don’t worry, I will be here.

Instant decision

Example:

will take these books with me.

Invitation/Offer

Example:

Will you give me a chance?

Certain prediction

Example:

John Smith will be the next President.

Future tense auxiliary

Example:

Tomorrow I will be in New York.

 

Modal Verb – Shall

Shall

The verb “shall” is used to express:

Asking what to do

Example:

Shall I get the phone? Or will you?

Offer

Example:

Shall I call a cab?

Suggestion

Example: 

Shall I call again on Thursday?

Modal Verb – Would

Would

The verb “would” is used to express:

Asking for permission

Example:

Would you mind if I opened the window?

Request

Example:

Would you make dinner?

Invitation

Example:

Would you like to go out sometime?

Preferences

Example:

Would you prefer the window seat or the aisle?

Modal Verb – Should

Should

The verb “should” is used to express:

Advice

Example:

You should visit your dentist at least twice a year.

Recommending action

Example:

You really should go to the new museum on Main Street.

Uncertain prediction

Example:

I posted the cheque yesterday so it should arrive this week.

Logical deduction

Example:

I’ve revised it so I should be ready for the test.

Modal Verb – Ought to

Ought to

The verb “ought to” is used to express:

Advice

Example:

You ought to have come to the meeting. It was interesting.

 

 

Logical deduction

Example:

30$ ought to be enough for the taxi.

Modal Verb – Must

Must

The verb “must” is used to express

Obligation/ Necessity

Example:

must memorize all of these rules about tenses.

Deduction

Example:

She lied to the police. She must be the murderer.

Modal Auxiliary verb – Mustn’t

Mustn’t

The verb “musn’t” (must not) is used to express:

Prohibition

Example:

You mustn’t smoke in this restaurant. It’s forbidden.

 

Modal Verb – May

May 

The verb “may” is used to express:

Possibility

Example:

Richard may be coming to see us tomorrow.

Ask for permission

Example:

May I borrow your dictionary?

Modal Verb – Might

Might

The verb “might” is used to express:

Slight possibility

Example:

It looks nice, but it might be very expensive.

Past form of “may” in reported speech

Example:

The President said he might come.

Modal Auxiliary verb – Can

Can

The verb “can” is used to express:

Ability

Example:

David can speak three languages.

Permission (informal)

Example:

Can I sit in that chair, please?

Offers

Example:

Can I carry the luggage for you?

Modal Auxiliary verb – Could

Could

The verb “could” is used to express:

Request

Example:

Could I borrow your dictionary?

Suggestion

Example:

Could you say it again more slowly?

Ability in the past

Example:

I think we could have another Gulf War.

Asking for permission

Example:

Could I open the window?

Modal Auxiliary verb – Has to

Have to/ Has to

The verb “have to/has to” is used to express:

External Obligation

Example:

You have to take off your shoes before you get into the mosque.

Modal Auxiliary verb – Don’t/Doesn’t have to

Don’t/ Doesn’t have to

“Don’t/Doesn’t have to” is used to express:

Is not necessary

Example:

You don’t have to do all the exercises, only the first one.

 Modal Verbs Exercise

…………….. I come with you?

  • Can
  • Will
  • Would

………………. you help me with the housework, please? (Polite request)

  • Could
  • Will
  • Should

My grandmother is eighty-five, but she ……………… still read and write without glasses. (Ability)

  • can
  • could
  • may

There was a time when I ………….. stay up very late. (Past ability)

  • would
  • could

You …………….. not lose any more weight. You are already slim. (Necessity)

  • may
  • need
  • should

It is snowing outside so I …………… stay at home. (Intention)

  • may
  • will
  • can

I ………………. get you a shawl from Kashmir. (Promise)

  • will
  • would
  • can 
  • may

…………….. you mind if I borrowed your car? (Permission)

  • Will
  • Would
  • Should

……………. you take care of my dog for a day? (Polite request)

  • Will
  • Shall
  • Should

Our country ………………. become a superpower by 2025. (possibility)

  • may
  • might
  • will
  • should

We …………… make the first move. (Prohibition)

  • must not
  • will not
  • cannot

She …………… sell her home because she needs money. (weak possibility)

  • may
  • might
  • could

Answers
1.  Can I come with you?

2. Could you help me with the housework, please?

3. My grandmother is eighty-five, but she can still read and write without glasses.

4. There was a time when I could stay up very late.

5. You need not lose any more weight. You are already slim.

6. It is snowing outside so I will stay at home.

7.  I will get you a shawl from Kashmir.

8. Would you mind if I borrowed your car?

9. Will you take care of my dog for a day?

10. Our country may become a superpower by 2025.

11. We must not make the first move.

12. She might sell her home because she needs money.

Modal Auxilary Verb Exercises

Use modal verbs where possible. If a modal verb can’t be used with a certain tense, use its substitute.

  1. You (must)  get up early tomorrow.
  2. You (not / need)  call a baby sitter.
  3. We (may)  watch the film tonight.
  4. He (not / can)  see me yesterday.
  5. She (must)  stay at school yesterday afternoon.
  6. (may / you)  go to the disco yesterday?
  7. He (not / must)  sleep now.
  8. You (not / need)  answer.
  9. He (ought to)  give evidence at the court yesterday.
  10. Since he bought the new car he (not / can)  sleep.

Answers

  1. You must get up early tomorrow.
  2. You need not call a baby sitter.
  3. We may watch the film tonight.
  4. He could not see me yesterday.
  5. She had to stay at school yesterday afternoon.
  6. Were you allowed to go to the disco yesterday?
  7. He must not sleep now.
  8. You need not answer.
  9. He was supposed to give evidence at the court yesterday.
  10. Since he bought the new car he has not been able to sleep.

Infographics (Modal Auxiliary Verbs )

Modal verb has to have to modal verb ought to Modal verb will Modal verb might Modal verb must modal verb would modal verb may modal verb could modal verb do not does not modal verb must not modal verb shall not modal verb exercises modal verb exercises modal verb exercises modal verb exercises modal verb exercises modal verb exercises

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