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Verb Modals

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Notes, Exercises, Videos, Tests and Things to Remember on Verb Modals

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  • Note
  • Things to remember

"Verb Modals" is expressing mood or attitude of a speaker .

Commonly used models

can, could, will, would, shall, should, may, might, must, ought to, need, dare etc.

  1. Permission
  2. Ability
  3. Possibility
  4. Suggestion, advice, duty (obligation)
  5. Promise
  6. Intention/ willingness
  7. Request
  8. Necessity
  9. Prohibition
  10. Wish


  • Modals are always followed by a main verb but in question tag it can be used alone.
  • Modals don't change it's form with the person or main verb of the subject.
  • The main verb used after a modal must be in root form.

Permission (may, can, could)

  • can: informal (not so polite)
  • may: polite
  • could: more polite

Ability (can, could, be able to)

  • can: be able to, be capable of, know how to
  • could: ability, expressed in past
  • can: opportunity

- Milan can solve the problem.
(Milan is able to solve this problem.)
(Milan knows how to solve this problem)


  • Be able to can be used in any tense.

Probability (may, might, could)

  • could: a weaker possibility
  • might: a weak possibility
  • may: a good possibility

Intention (will, shall)

  • shall: I shall ring you up in the evening.
  • will: He will help you in the business.

Request (would, won't, can, could)

  • would: polite request
  • could: polite request
  • can: formal request

Wish (may)

  • May you live long!


  • Not to be afraid to do something

Need Not

  • There is no necessity or compulsion

Questions and Answers

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