Modal Verbs – What are you saying?

WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

What are you saying? Seriously, I don’t understand you. Is it a question, a request, a suggestion, an obligation, an invitation, some advice, a complaint……..?????!!!!! Oh no, I have a headache! Help me, help me: where are the aspirin?

I DON’T UNDERSTAND MODAL VERBS

The English language is often very difficult to understand and sometimes seems to be completely illogical. Well don’t worry, as the British Government said after World War 2: ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’

THE BASICS
What are Modal Verbs?
Modal Verbs are auxiliary verbs that modify another verb in order to change the meaning of the expression: (i.e. what is being said)
Examples of Modal Verbs include:

  • Can, Could, Must, May, Might, Should, Shouldn’t, Ought To, Would

When do you use them?
To express the following language functions:

  1. Requests, Permission, Offers and Invitations
  2. Advice and Recommendations, Suggestions and Prohibition
  3. Obligations, Duties, Necessities and Ability
  4. The likelihood: Certainty, Possibility
  5. A complaint

General Rules:

  1. They do not have infinitives
  2. They don’t take s, ing or ed suffixes
  3. They are followed by the bare infinitive. The infinitive without To, for example: walk, eat, drink. Not: To walk, To eat, To drink
  4. They come before the subject in questions

EXAMPLES OF LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS
Look, learn and use:

  1. Requests, Permission, Offers and Invitations. Click here:modals_LF_orpi
  2.  Advice and Recommendations, Suggestions and Prohibition.Click here:modals_LF_arsp
  3. Obligations, Duties, Necessities and Ability. Click here:modals_LF_odna
  4. The likelihood: Certainty, Possibility. Click here:modals_LF_cpl

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