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Dear sir, I need to know about the following words: Can, Could, Shall, Should, May, Might, Will, Must, Ought, Would.
- Kishore, UAE
All these words are a special type of verb called Modal Auxiliary Verbs. They add a specific meaning to a word and they also have different rules than regular verbs. As a result, they can cause some confusion.
The following is a list of examples of modal verbs and how to use them:
1. Use can and could to talk about ability.
I can play the violin
I could speak French when I was in university.
2. Use can, could, may, and might to talk about permission.
Could I ask you a question?
May I sit here?
You can borrow my phone.
3. Use may and might for possibilities; they are not used for definite situations.
I may go to the party
She might be the next President.
4. Use should and ought to for situations where there is some obligation, suggestion, or where something is logical.
I ought to go to my wife’s best friend’s birthday party.
The concert hall shouldn’t be hard to find.
You should listen to this podcast to improve your pronunciation.
5. Use would for hypothetical situations, questions, and preferences.
Would you ever go sky diving?
I would buy that car if it were cheaper.
Would you like to have dinner with me?
I would like to be a writer.
6. Use shall, will, can’t, and must for things you have to do and things you are not allowed to do.
I will pass the test.
I must finish what I start.
I can’t enter the Staff Room.
- Sidhartha Desai, www.ExpertEnglishTeacher.com