Tag Archives: language functions

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

Making and dealing with complaints

complaining dvd
Customer Service

 Role One: You are a customer.

Last week you bought a DVD player on sale. When you tried to set it up at home, you discovered that it did not work. Today you take it back to the shop and explain the situation to the manager.

Invent the details of the situation and decide what course of action you will take (you would like to get a refund). Try to come to an agreement.

Role Two: You are the manager of an electrical equipment store.

A customer has come in to complain about a product that does not work. Your shop has a no-refund policy for things bought during the sales.

Listen to the customer, explain your shop’s sales policy and offer alternative solutions. Try to come to an agreement.

To complain

complainTo complain is when you express dissatisfaction or annoyance about something. Indeed, it is often said that British people complain about everything and Spanish people talk about complaining about everything.  What do you reckon?