The helping verbs which show the, mode or attitude of the main verb are called Modals.
Use Of Modal:
The Modal ‘can’ is used to show capability strength, nature, ability, skill, permission, probability, etc.
|She can teach you if she likes.||(capability or strength)|
|He can cheat you.||(nature)|
|I can cross the river.||(ability/skill)|
|You can go home now.||(permission)|
|Accidents can happen at any time on G.T. Road.||probability)|
|Any one can’t do these sums.||(incompetence or improbability)|
|You can’t teach English.||(inefficiency/inability)|
- The negative of can is cannot or can t.
Cannot (Can’t) shows incompetency, improbability, inefficiency or inability.
The modal ‘Could’ is used to show capacity, probability, polite request, mild annoyance, request, etc.
|My mother could do whatever she wanted to do.||(permission/freedom/determination)|
|He asked me if I could lend him some money.||(capability/strength)|
|She could sing well if she desired.||(ability)|
|If he had saved enough money, he could purchase a house.||(capacity and probability)|
|Could you tell me the time?||(polite request)|
|Couldn’t he wait for a few minutes more?||(mild annoyance/request)|
The negative of Could is Could not or Couldn’t.
- Could is the Past form of Can. Therefore, could shows both the past time and present time situations.
I am sorry I could not ring you five minutes earlier.
- Here the time, five minutes earlier, can be taken either as past or as present time.
Could I help you in lifting the load?
It means ‘should I help you in lifting the load’? It shows present time situation.
the modal ‘May’ is used to show desire, permission, request, probability, likelihood, aim/objective. May not shows lack of probability.
|You may use my pen.||(desire/permission)|
|May I have your scooter?||(request/desire to seek permission)|
|She may stand first in her class.||(probability)|
|It may rain tonight.||(likelihood/probability)|
|May she have a son!||(keen desire)|
|.I eat so that I may remain fit.||(aim/objective)|
|May she get a good partner!||(desire/request)|
|He may not attend my birthday party.||(lack of probability)|
The negative of May is May not or Mayn’t
The modal ‘Might’ is used to show probability, excessive modesty/humility, guess, purpose, doubtful probability in future, permission, etc.
|She thought that she might return home in time.||(probability)|
|Might I use your scooter?||(excessive modesty/humility)|
|She might have finished her breakfast.||(purpose)|
|Has not promised, but he might lend me money.||doubtful probability in future)|
|The referee said that we might play die match.||(permission)|
The negative of Might is Might not.
- Might is the past form of May. Therefore, might shows both the past time and present time situations.
Might I use your phone?
Here desire is expressed and permission is sought to use the phone.
The Modal “Shall” is used to show Simple Future, to know the desire of the hearer, show promise, desire, intention or planning, suggestion/proposal and order etc.
|I shall take part in the tournament next week.||(Simple Future)|
|Shall I visit your house?||(to know the desire of the hearer)|
|She shall get a saree if she stands first.||(show promise)|
|We shall accept your present.||(desire)|
|I shall buy the blankets||(intention or planning)|
|Shall we have some rest now?||(suggestion/proposal)|
|I say you shall post this letter.||(order)|
- Shall is also used with first Person Pronoun. (I, we) to show future (tune) intention, programme or reference
The Modal ‘WiII’ is used to show ”quest, routine, forewarning, firm etc.
|We will go for a picnic next week.||(Simple Future)|
|Will you take your seat, please?||(humble request)|
|He will often bum midnight oil.||(routine|
|If you insult your parents, you will be ruined.||(forewarning)|
|We will not yield before any pressure.||(firm determination)|
|After reaching Madurai, we will see the Meenakshi temple.||(speaker’s keen desire)|
|I will repay your loan next month.||(promise)|
|We will help Sushma as far as possible.||(proposal/ardent desire)|
|You will be honest in future.||(order/instruction/warming)|
|This bag will hold all the books.||(capacity)|
|The machine will do all types of calculations.||(quality)|
The modal ‘Would’ is used to show humble request, routine, intention, failure of an activity, improbable situation, desire, preference, etc.
|She said that she would help me in my need.||(Past Tense of Will)|
|Would you please post this letter for me?||(Humble request/routine)|
|Would you like to stay with me tonight?||(to know hearer’s intention)|
|Our scooter wouldn’t start, therefore, we reached the office by bus.||(failure of an activity)|
|Would that I were the Prime Minister of the country!||(Improbable situation)|
|I would like to give you some trouble.||(Desire)|
|I would rather quit than submit to undue pressure.||(Preference)|
|Would you mind giving me a lift in your car?||(to know intention)|
- ‘Would’ is also used as the past tense of Will.
The Modal ‘ Should’ is used to show duty, obligation, advice, suggestion, imagination, desire, opinion, probability and guess.
She said that I should not bother her.
|(Past form of will/shall)|
|The teacher should show good result.||(Duty)|
|You should keep your word.||(obligation)|
|She should serve her mother-in-law.||(Advice)|
|You should engage a tutor for your son.||(Suggestion)|
|Should you go to the post office, bring me some post cards.||(Imagination)|
|Should I speak to Rajni?||(Desire)|
|You should see a doctor at once.||(Opinion)|
|Should she come here, we shall protect her.||(Probability)|
|Fatima should be here by now.||(Guess)|
- Should is also used as the Past Tense of Will/Shall.
The “Must” is used to show Obligation, Compulsion, Necessity, Necessity/compulsion, Sincere advice, Necessity, Advice, Guess, Probability, Guess about past activity etc.
|You must return my book at once.||(Obligation)|
|I must buy a wristwatch because I get late every day.||(Compulsion)|
|You must teach her a lesson.||(Necessity)|
|Everyone must follow the traffic rules.||(Necessity/compulsion)|
|The bride must serve her aged mother-in-law.||(Sincere advice)|
|You must appear at the test.||(Necessity)|
|She must reach her school in time daily.||(Advice)|
|The old lady must be around seventy.||(Guess)|
|– My uncle must have reached home by now.||(Probability)|
|She caught a thief. She must have been very brave.||(Guess about past activity)|
|There is a heavy downpour; you must take your umbrella with you.||(logical necessity)|
The modal ‘Dare’ is used to show challenge oi misadventure. It (Dare) is used in negative as well as interrogative sentences.
|Dare he say so?||(Interrogative misadventure)|
|Dare they speak against you?||(Interrogative Misadventure)|
|Dare you step in her room?||(Interrogative misadventure|
|You daren’t meet me after school hours.||(Negative misadventure)|
- ‘Dare’ is also used in prohibitory sentences.
- ‘Dare’ is an odd type of Verb. As a matter of principle, the infinitive with ‘to’ is used with do/did in the negative and interrogative forms of ‘Dare’ but ‘to’ is generally elided (dropped) in usage; as:
- Did he dare (to) oppose my proposal?
- How does he dare (to) criticize what I said?
- He dared not (to) speak a word against the decision.
Used to has been used to show old habit (in or out of practice at the time of speakings).
|I used to bathe in the river||(Past Habit)|
|He used to drink before going to bed daily.||(old/Past Habit)-now given up)|
|She used not to disobey her husband.||(negative)|
- ‘Used- to’ does not have the Present Tense Form. It is invariably used in the Past.
More/Further Information about Modals.
- Can, could, may, might, shall, will, would, should, must, ought (to), need, dare and used to are called Modals or Modal Auxiliaries.
- Specific Qualities of Modals: Modals show willingness advice, promise, determination, threat, obligation, request, possibility, permission, Mention instruction, power, capability, ability,
- Modals are never used alone. They are always used with such words as are applied (clear) or implied .
- Modals are not governed by the number, gender and person of the subject. In other words, no change take** place (is effected) in their basic (genuine) form. They always remain unchanged (alike).
- Only the First/Crude form of Verb (V1) is used with the Modals. The Infinitive, without ‘to’ is used with them. The Infinitive ‘to’ is used only with the Modals (used to) and ought (ought to).