Learn English Grammar : Modals

    Learn English grammar modals  Généralités 

    Modal auxiliary verbs are used to moderate the main verb, that is to enhance or restrict the verb to a certain context.
    The most common modal auxiliaries in English are:
    can
    could
    may
    should
    might
    will
    must
    would
    English grammar modals -
    Notice the usage of modals in the following sentences:
    I pay my taxes.
     
    General declaration of fact. Paying taxes is something I normally do.
    I can pay my taxes.
     
    Expresses ability. I have the means (funds) to pay.
    I might pay my taxes.
     
    Expresses possibility, but not certainty. Maybe I will pay; maybe I won't.
    I will pay my taxes.
     
    Expresses future intent. I resolve to do it at some later time.
    I should pay my taxes.
     
    Expresses mild obligation. It is required, and I expect to comply.
    I could pay my taxes.
     
    Expresses possibility. If I have nothing else to do with the money, I might pay taxes.
    I would pay my taxes.
     
    (In this case), expresses reservation. If I had the money (but I don't). . .
    I must pay my taxes.
     
    Expresses strong obligation. I am required and have to comply.
    ModalNatureContraireExemples
    be able to
    possibilité
    cannotou be unable to
    was able to prevent the theft but I was unable to arrest the thief.
    can
    possibilité, capacité
    cannot
    Birds can fly; monkeys cannot.
    permission
    cannotou may not
    Can I watch TV? No, you can't.
    could
    possibilité, capactié
    could not
    Could there be a virus in this file? No, there couldn't; I ran the anti-virus.
    possibilité (passé)
    could not
    Could dodo birds fly? No, they couldn't.
    permission
    cannotou may not
    Could I open the window? No, you may not.
    had better
    conseil
    had better not
    You had better get moving, if you don't want to be late. You had better not be late.
    have to, have got to
    obligation (origine externe)
    must not
    have to pay my taxes before the end of March. Origine externe: les lois de l'état.
    must
    nécessité, forte probabilité
    cannot
    A is bigger than B which is bigger than C, so A must be bigger than C. C cannot be bigger than A.
    obligation (origine interne)
    must not
    Teacher to pupil: "You must come to school on time; you must not be late". Origine interne: le professeur qui parle décide.
    may
    possibilité
    cannot
    It may rain. It can't possibly be 8 PM, I'm only half ready.
    permission, requête
    cannot
    May I speak to Mrs X, please? No, youcan't, she's not in.
    might
    possibilité (faible)
    cannot
    might come to your party if I can get off work on time.
    permission
    may not
    Might I borrow your laptop?
    ought to
    devoir, conseil
    ought not to
    You ought to apologize to your sister for having hurt her feelings.
    déduction logique
    cannot, could not
    That ought to be enough petrol to last us until we get to Lyons.
    should
    conseil
    should not
    You should spend more time on your homework.
    déduction logique
    cannot, could not
     

    English grammar modals

     Learn English Grammar : Modals

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