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Verb: Modal Auxiliary - Level III

Modal Auxiliary

Notes

Modal Auxiliaries
Modal auxiliaries express: need, advise, permission, possibility, or probability, as well as the strength of these attitudes.

The modal auxiliaries are:
can, could, had better, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will, would.

Forming Modal Auxiliaries
Modal auxiliaries are followed by the present tense of the main verb.

  • When the present tense of a verb is used in third person the main verb has an ‘s’ added. Modals are used in the base form (present tense) with the base form of the main verb – a final ‘s’ is never added to either the modal or the main verb.
    Examples:
    I can run
    You can run
    She can run.
    (She is third person singular. The modal auxiliary ‘can’ does not change with the third person singular subject nor does the main verb ‘run’ change. An ‘s’ is not added to ‘run’.)A final ‘s’ is never added to the present tense of the main verb when a modal is used.
    When the third person present tense of a verb is used, an ‘s’; is added when there is no modal auxiliary.
    Examples:
    I run.
    You run.
    She/He runs.
  • Modals are followed by the present tense of the main verb.
    Example: I can do it.
  • Meaning of Modals
    Modals can have more than one meaning or use. In the following example, the common meaning is given.
    Examples:

–       can – expresses an ability
I can swim.

–       could – is used to make suggestions.
We could stay home.

–       would – used to make a polite request or state a preference.
Would you help me? (request)
I would rather stay home. (state a preference)

–       will – expresses certainty about a future event.
The concert will begin at eight o’clock sharp.

–       should – used to give definite advice.
She should go home.

–       shall – make a suggestion and ask for agreement
Shall I open the window?

–       may – used to request, give permission and state a weak degree of certainty.
May I please borrow your golf clubs? (request)
Yes, you may go. (give permission)
He may be sick. (weak degree of certainty)

–       might – expresses a weak degree of certainty.
He might be home by now.

–       must – expresses necessity.
You must go to the doctor.

–       ought to – expresses an obligation.
I ought to care for the children.

Assignment

Select modal auxiliary in each sentence.

Enter it in the correct column.

1. Jason can run a marathon in 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

2. My sister should be on time for my wedding.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

3. The pianist might be able to play that difficult sonata.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

4. The plane will depart Los Angeles at 11:00 P.M. this evening.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

5. Ken said, “I would rather work than go to the beach”.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

6. Young children should get at least 12 hours of sleep every night.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

7. My brother could help you with the painting.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

8. The government ought to compensate victims of crime.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

9. Criminals must be held responsible for their crimes.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

10.  You may leave as soon as you finish you homework.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

11.  Would you like to go shopping with me?

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

12.  You can learn to play tennis if you take a few lessons.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

13.  One thing is certain; you must(*) practice if you want to play tennis well.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

14.  There ought(*) to be stiffer fines for people who break the law.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

15.  You should attend classes; those students who are absent usually fail.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

16.  I will give you another chance to complete the assignment.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

17.  Mary should come home to see her children.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

18.  You could talk to a councilor about your concerns.

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

19.  May I leave after I finish the test this afternoon?

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

20.  Shall I join you at the game tonight?

Definition Enter the Modal Auxiliary
  • Expresses an ability
  • Is used to make suggestions
  • Gives permission
  • Expresses a weak degree of certainty
  • Expresses necessity
  • Expresses an obligation
  • Makes a suggestion and asks for agreement
  • Used to give definite advice
  • Expresses certainty
  • States a preference

Answer Key

Verbs: Modal Auxiliary

1. Jason can run a marathon in 2 hours and 30 minutes

Answer – Expresses an ability

2. My sister should be on time for my wedding.

Answer – Used to give definite advice

3. The pianist might be able to play that difficult sonata.

Answer – Expresses a weak degree of certainty

4. The plane will depart Los Angeles at 11:00 P.M. this evening.

Answer – Expresses certainty

5. Ken said, “I would rather work than go to the beach.”

Answer – States a preference

6. Young children should get at least 12 hours of sleep every night.

Answer – Used to give definite advice

7My brother could help you with the painting.

Answer – Is used to make suggestions

8. The government ought to compensate victims of crime.

Answer – Expresses an obligation

9. Criminals must be held responsible for their crimes.

Answer – Expresses necessity

10. You may leave as soon as you finish your homework.

Answer – Gives permission

11. Would you like to go shopping with me?

Answer – used to make a polite request or state a preference

12. You can learn to play tennis if you take a few lessons.

Answer – expresses an ability

13. One thing is certain; you must practice if you want to play tennis well.

Answer – expresses necessity

14. There ought to be stiffer fines for people who break the law.

Answer – expresses an obligation

15. You should attend classes; those students who are absent usually fail.

Answer – used to give definite advice

16. I will give you another chance to complete the assignment.

Answer – expresses certainty about a future event

17. Mary should come home to see her children.

Answer – used to give definite advice

18. You could talk to a councilor about your concerns.

Answer – is used to make suggestions

19. May I leave after I finish the test this afternoon?

Answer – give permission

20. Shall I join you at the game tonight?

Answer – make a suggestion and ask for agreement