Modal Verbs in English, How to Use Modals

Modal Verbs in English, How to Use Modals

Modal Verbs in English, How to Use Modals


CAN Ability, doubt, astonishment, permission, Polite request
MAY Permission, if not prohibition, supposition with doubt
MUST Obligation, firm necessity, logical conclusion, probability
SHALL intention, supposition
WILL Wish, desire, will, confidence, in the future
OUGHT TO Moral duty, insistent advice, strict recommendation
NEED (un)necessity
BE TO Obligation arising out of arrangement or agreement
HAVE TO Unwillingness, forced circumtances
WOULD Wish (with “to like”), polite request, a habit of the past
SHOULD Necessity, advice, blame, recommendation, reproach, regret
USED TO Repeated action in the past




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