• English grammar
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  • 1 English alphabet
  • 2 English pronunciation and phonetics [0/3]
  • 3 English articles [0/9]
  • 4 English pronouns [0/39]
  • 4.1 English personal pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.2 English impersonal pronouns (it, there, ...) [0/4]
  • 4.3 English object pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.4 English possessive pronouns [0/5]
  • 4.5 English reflexive pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.6 English reciprocal pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.7 English demonstrative pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.8 English relative pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.9 English indefinite pronouns [0/5]
  • 4.10 English interrogative pronouns [0/4]
  • 5 English nouns [0/16]
  • 6 English adjectives [0/38]
  • 6.1 Adjectives of quality in English [0/4]
  • 6.2 Demonstrative adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.3 Possessive adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.4 Quantity adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.5 Interrogative adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.6 Numeral adjectives in English [0/8]
  • 6.7 Comparatives and superlatives [0/10]
  • 7 English adverbs [0/18]
  • 7.1 Position of adverbs in English [0/2]
  • 7.2 Adverbs of manner in English [0/2]
  • 7.3 Adverbs of place in English [0/2]
  • 7.4 Adverbs of time in English [0/2]
  • 7.5 Adverbs of quantity in English [0/2]
  • 7.6 Adverbs of frequency in English [0/2]
  • 7.7 Adverbs of degree in English [0/2]
  • 7.8 Adverbs of probability and certainty in English [0/2]
  • 7.9 Adverbs of opinion and observation in English [0/2]
  • 8 English prepositions [0/12]
  • 9 English verbs [0/122]
  • 9.1 Present tenses in English [0/29]
  • Fill in the correct present tense in English (Score -/-)Free
  • Exercise about all present tenses in English (Score -/-)Free
  • Mixed present tenses exercise in English (Score -/-)Free
  • Practice all the English present tenses (Score -/-)Free
  • 9.1.1 Present simple tense in English [0/5]
  • 9.1.2 Present continuous tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.3 Present simple vs present continuous in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.4 Present perfect tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.5 Present perfect continuous tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.6 Difference past simple and present perfect in English [0/4]
  • 9.2 Past tenses in English [0/20]
  • 9.3 Future tenses in English [0/21]
  • 9.4 Auxiliary verbs in English [0/9]
  • 9.5 Present participle in English [0/3]
  • 9.6 Past participle in English [0/3]
  • 9.7 Modal verbs in English [0/11]
  • 9.8 Phrasal verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.9 Regular verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.10 Irregular verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.11 Gerund (-ing form) in English [0/8]
  • 9.12 Infinitive verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.13 Imperative in English [0/2]
  • 9.14 Reported speech in English [0/2]
  • 9.15 Active and passive voice in English [0/2]
  • 10 English conditionals [0/20]
  • This chapter will discuss the English modal verbs. The modal verbs are used to give a certain attitude towards another verb. The modal verbs are not conjugated. 

    List of English modal verbs

    • can
    • could
    • may
    • might
    • will
    • would
    • shall
    • should
    • must

    Definition and usage of English modal verbs

    Modal verbs have different functions:

    • Permission: can, could, may, might
    • Ability: can, could
    • Obligation: must, ought to, should
    • Prohibition: must not
    • Lack of necessity: need not
    • Advice: should, ought to, advice
    • Possibility: can, could, might
    • Probability: might

    The modal verbs are always placed in the beginning of the sentence.

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    Modal verb 'can'

    Use Example
    Ability I can speak French. 
    Permission Can I go to the beach today?
    Possibility It can be very cold at night in the Sahara. 

    Modal verb 'could'

    Use Example
    Ability I could speak French. 
    Permission I could go to the beach today, if the weather was nice. 
    Possibility It could be very cold at night in the Sahara. 

    Modal verb 'may'

    Use Example
    Permission May I go to the cinema tonight?
    Possibility It may rain tomorrow. 

    Modal verb 'might'

    Use Example
    Permission Might I give a suggestion?
    Possibility It might rain tomorrow. 
    Probability I might go on holiday to Spain next month. 

    Modal verb 'will'

    Use Example
    Prediction I think it will snow on Friday.
    Promise I will go jogging tomorrow. 
    Habits She will spend hours on the phone calling her mother. 

    Modal verb 'would'

    Use Example
    Wish I wish you would have come to the party. 
    Habits in the past She would spend hours on the phone calling her mother. 

    Modal verb 'shall'

    Use Example
    Suggestion Shall I help you?

    Modal verb 'should'

    Use Example
    Advice You should drive safely. 
    Obligation You should do your homework. 

    Modal verb 'must'

    Use Example
    Obligation You must go to the library today to study.
    Prohibition You must not drink and drive. 

    Rules for modal verbs

    The table below will show some general rules to keep in mind when using modal verbs. 

    Keep in mind Explanation
    The modal verbs do not have '-s' for 3rd person singular.
    • He can play the piano.
    • She will study French.
    Modal verbs are not used for things that will definitely happen.
    • New Year's Eve is on the 31st of December. 
    • The earth is round. 
    Questions are not formed with do/does/did.
    • Will it snow tomorrow?
    • Can they still join the club?
    Modal verbs are followed by infinitives (without to). 
    • She might go to the party tonight.
    • They will run the marathon next month.  
    Modal verbs have no past form (except could and would)
    • He could run very fast, but now he is old. 
    • Would you carry this for him please?
    The past participle is used when talking about things that did not happen in the past
    • You should have come.
    • We could have eaten the pasta. 

    Train your skills by doing the exercises!

    Next lessons

    1 May or might in English Learn all about the difference between the modal verbs may and might.
    2 Will vs shall in English Learn all about the difference between will and shall.
    3 Would vs will in English Learn all about when to use would in English.
    4 Can or could in English Learn what the difference between can and could is.