It is used to express possibilities, abilities, permissions, obligations, etc.
It is used before the ordinary verbs.
The most important thing about Modal Verbs is that unlike other verbs, they never change their forms. You can use Modals in any tense, but they will remain in their original form only. That is why they are also termed as “Defective verbs“.
List of Modals and what they express:
- ability or capacity ( I can speak in five languages )
- permission ( Can I use this pen ? )
- possibility ( You can win the competition )
- offer ( Can I carry the bags for you ? )
- ability in past ( I could ride a horse when I was younger )
- possibility ( He wondered whether it could be true )
- polite permission ( Could you pass me the salt, please ? )
- suggestion ( We could go to the movies, if you are interested )
- formal permission ( May I come in ? )
- possibility, probability ( They may not be happy about what happened )
- polite permission ( Might I suggest something ? )
- possibility, probability ( I might visit her home )
- Dissatisfaction ( You might want to pay a little more attention to your work )
- Future tense ( I will do my work tomorrow )
- Volition ( I will try to do better next time )
- Characteristic habit ( He will go on and on for hours about machines )
- Assumption ( That will be the owner, I think )
- Request ( Will I see you tomorrow ? )
- Past equivalent of ‘will’ ( She said she would carry my bags )
- Hypotheses ( It would be so expensive to stay in hotel )
- Questions ( Would you like to have some tea ? )
- Past habits ( She would sit and watch cartoons for hours )
- Future tense (first person) ( I shall be ready by 6 o’clock )
- Command ( You shall not enter my house again )
- Threat ( You shall be punished for your negligence )
- Offer ( Shall I pick you from the airport ? )
- Duty or obligation ( Children should obey their parents )
- Ask for opinion ( What should we do now ? )
- To give personal opinion ( You should see a therapist )
- Obligation ( The government must provide proper health care facilities )
- Logical certainty ( Living in such poor conditions must be difficult )
- Show something is very likely ( You must be joking )
- Moral obligation ( We ought to love our neighbours )
- Probability ( This yoga ought to be very useful )
Q: Use appropriate Modals:
- You _________ improve your hand writing.
- He said I ________ use his phone anytime.
- We _________ love our neighbours.
- Feba _______ have gone out with her friend.
- _________ you like some tea?
- If you want to lose weight, you ______ be on diet.
- I ________ solve the puzzle.
- I thought you ________ be at home.
- You ____ go now.
- Kiran _______ speak in ten languages.
- It ______ snow tomorrow.
- You _________ pay a little more attention to your appearance.
- I ________ like to help you.
- _______ I carry the bag for you?
- You _______ be punctual.
- Living in such crowded places ______ be difficult.
- I _______ ride on horses, when I was young.
- You __________ know better.
- He ________ not take such step.
- ________ you lend me your calculator?