A modal verb is a type of verb that is used to denote modality, which is used to express: – probability, ability, permission, request, ability, proposal, order, obligation, or advice. Modal verbs always accompany the basic form (infinitive) of another verb that has semantic content.
Basic modal verbs of the English language: can, could, may, might, must, should, should, will, and would. Some other verbs are sometimes, but not always, classified as modal; These include “ought”, “had better” and (in some cases) “dare”, and “need”. Verbs that have only some of the characteristics of the basic modal forms are sometimes called “quasi-modals”, “semi-modals”, or “pseudo-modals”.
|Modal verb meaning
|Modal verb example
|to express ability
|I can speak a little English.
|to request permission
|Can I open the door?
|to express the possibility
|I may be late tomorrow.
|to request permission
|May I go home, please?
|to express obligation
|I must go now.
|to express a strong belief
|She must be over 50 years old.
|to give advice
|You should stop smoking.
|to request or offer
|Would you like a cup of tea?
|If I were you, I would say sorry.
More modal verbs Examples
|Modal verb usages
|Modal verb examples
|I can play the guitar very well.
|Can I sit now?
|It can be a rainy day tomorrow.
|I can help you with this job. Don’t worry!
|Can you please pass me the water bottle?
|Ability in the past
|I could play the guitar well when I was 9.
|Excuse me, could I come in?
|A hailstorm could come here at night.
|No problem. I could give you a help.
|Could you please move to the next page?
|May I leave early?
|Scientists may discover a vaccine for coronavirus.
|Might I take you home?
|I might visit him evening if the weather is nice.
|You must do the homework.
|He must be at school now. He told me about that yesterday.
|You mustn’t play here. It’s dangerous.
|The weather forecast predicts that it will rain tomorrow.
|I will finish all the homework today.
|I will lend you some cash.
|Will you please give me that pen?
|Used as the past form of “will”
|My dad said that he would give me some gifts on my birthday.
|Polite request/ demand
|Would you mind closing the window, please?
|This time tomorrow I shall be in Japan.
|Shall we discuss this further with her?
|You should see the doctor. It’s swollen.
|The project should be done this weekend.
|Should I call him to say sorry?
|You ought to say good bye to your friends when you leave.
|You ought to sleep early. You look really tired.
|Used to talk about something not necessary
|You needn’t give her any advice. She won’t listen.