What Are Modal Verbs?

Understanding Modal Verbs

Welcome to a new lesson about modal verbs! Modal verbs are special types of verbs that help us express possibility, ability, necessity, or permission in a sentence. They are different from regular verbs because they do not change form like other verbs. Instead, they are always followed by the base form of a verb. Let’s explore modal verbs more deeply!

What are Modal Verbs?
Modal verbs are words such as can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, must, and ought to. They are used to show different meanings like ability, possibility, obligation, or advice in a sentence. For example:

  • Ability: She can swim very well.
  • Possibility: It might rain tomorrow.
  • Obligation: Students must wear uniforms to school.
  • Advice: You should eat your vegetables.

Common Modal Verbs
Here are some common modal verbs and their meanings:

  • Can: shows ability or permission (“I can ride a bike.”)
  • Could: shows past ability or polite requests (“Could you please pass the salt?”)
  • May: shows possibility or permission (“You may go to the party.”)
  • Might: shows a small possibility (“It might snow tonight.”)
  • Must: shows necessity or strong recommendation (“You must finish your homework.”)
  • Should: shows advice or a suggestion (“You should study for the test.”)
  • Will: shows future certainty (“The sun will rise tomorrow.”)
  • Would: shows polite requests or hypothetical situations (“Would you like some cake?”)
  • Shall: shows suggestions or a promise (“Shall we go for a walk?”)
  • Ought to: shows advice or duty (“You ought to apologize.”)

Using Modal Verbs
Modal verbs are often used with the base form of the verb that follows them. They do not change based on the subject of the sentence. For example:

  • She can swim. (Not “She cans swim.”)
  • He should study. (Not “He should studies.”)

Great job learning about modal verbs! Keep practicing, and soon you’ll be a modal verb expert!

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