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Modal Verb Rules, Exercises and Worksheets

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Modals are the verbs which are used with other verbs (not modals) to express ability, possibility, permission, obligation etc.

Here is a list of modals :

can         might       need     would   ought to       could     should

shall       used to     may      must      will               dare

Uses of Modals

 Uses of Shall

Use of ‘shall’ with 1st person shows pure future :
(i) I shall be in my class at this time tomorrow.
(ii) We shall  decorate our houses for Deepawali.

Use of ‘shall’ with and 2nd 3rd person shows:

1.Promise : (i) You shall get a prize.         (ii) I le shall get Rs 500/-

2.Command : You shall not come to my house.

3.Threat       : You shall be punished fir your misconduct.

Uses of Should

  ‘Should’ is used to show :

1.Obligation : We should serve our parents.

2.Advice or recommendation :You should take milk, not coffee.

3.Probability or expectation : He was in the final year of MBBS. He should be a doctor now

Uses of Will

Use of `will’ with 3rd person shows pure future:

He will be in his office at this time tomorrow.

Use of ‘will’ with 1st and and person shows :

1.Wish : I will go home now.

2.Request : Will you please lend me your scooter?

3.Determination : I will find Out the truth.

4.Willingness: I will lend you my pen.

5.Threat : I will surely punish him.

Uses of Would

 ‘Would’ is the past tense of ‘will’. It is used to denote :

1.A polite request : Would you lend me your pen?

2.An enquiry about the wish of the person addressed : Would you like to have a cup of tea?

3.A wish : Would that I were the Prime Minister!

Uses of Can

 ‘Can’ is used to indicate :

1.Ability : He can teach you how to speak English.

2.Possibility : He can come any time.

Uses of Could

‘Could’ is the past tense of ‘can’. It is used to indicate :

1.Ability : He could swim well at the age of ten.

2.Permission : Could! see what is in your hands?

3.A polite request : Could you pass on the salt, please?

Uses of May

‘May’ is used to indicate :

1.Permission : May I come in, Sir ?

2.Possibility : It may rain Way.

3.Purpose : Work hard so that you may pass.

4.Wishes and hopes : May he win a scholarship!

 Uses of Most

‘Must’ is used to indicate :

1.Obligation : You must pay your bill by the 7th of this month.

2.Advice or recommendation : The patient is serious. You must take him to hospital.

3.A logical conclusion : You have worked a lot. You must be tired.

Uses of Need

‘Need’ is used to indicate obligation or necessity.

(i)  You need not go there now. You are too late.
(ii)  Need I remind you of your promise ?

Uses of Might

 ‘Might’ is used to show :

1.Possibility : It might rain, but we cant be sure.

2.Purpose (in the past) : He worked hard so that he might pass.

Uses of Ought to

‘Ought to’ indicates :

1.Obligation : You ought to attend the class regularly.

2.Advice or recommendation : He ought to consult a good doctor.

Uses of Used to

 ‘ Used to’ indicates :

1.A habitual action in the past : I used to fly kites when I was young.

2.A state of things that existed in the past : There used to be a restaurant here ten years ago .

Uses of Dare

‘Dare’ means having the courage to he brave enough.

(i)  I do not know how he dares to say all that.
(ii) I low dare you disobey your parents

Exercises and Worksheets

Modal Verb Rules, Exercises and Worksheets No. 1 & 2
Modal Verb Rules, Exercises and Worksheets No. 3

Go to More Modal Exercises