Mission possible: Must, Might, Could

adrenaline junkieWe use the modal verbs: Must, Might and Could when we want to express a possibility. So, imagine that Pepé de Ronda is an adrenaline junkie who is very keen on rock climbing and we want to know where he is.

So we ask: Where is Pepé de Ronda?

  1. He MUST be rock climbing ( I am 100% sure)
  2. He MIGHT be white water rafting. ( I am 75% sure)
  3. He COULD be in the pub with Janette. ( 50% It’s a possible option)

Grammar Tip!  Please remember, if you use a modal verb, you have to use the bare infinitive in the following verbMODAL VERB+ BARE INFINITIVE (B.INF:without TO ) MUST BE, MIGHT BE, COULD BE

Modal Verbs – 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?


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.’

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

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

Easter Getaway: Janette, what´s in your suitcase?

language of speculationEaster is a time when many people take time off work. This year I . I have ants in my pants because I am taking a mini getaway to chill out, recharge my batteries and spend time with my family. So, can you guess what I am going to do by the contents of my suitcase?

  1. Trainers
  2. High heels
  3. Cocktail dress
  4. Bikini
  5. Flip flops
  6. Plasters
  7. iPod Nano
  8. Straightners
  9. Nail varnish
  10. Aspirin

It is necessary: Must or Have To

We use Must or Have to, to say that it is necessary to do something. Often it doesn’t grammatically matter which you use. However, in some situations they mean different things.  Must is used when we are giving our personal feelings and Have To is used for impersonal things, for example a rule or a situation. Examples:

  1. I must get up early tomorrow. (There are a lot of things I want to do)  PERSONAL
  2. I have to get up early tomorrow.  (I’m going on holiday and my flight leaves very early) IMPERSONAL SITUATION
  3. I must wear a suit.  I want to look good. PERSONAL
  4. I have to wear a suit.  It’s the company’s policy. IMPERSONAL RULE


  1. You mustn’t park here.  It is against the law.
  2. You don’t have to park here.  You can if you want to, but you could park somewhere else.

Practice this grammar by clicking here.

I’m afraid I have a problem?

Guy Fawkes, what are you up to?

Yes, it’s true the British etiquette is: Apologize first, and then do nasty things.

“I’m afraid we are going to have to torture you and then set you on fire”

Listen to this 1 minute video on the story of Guy Fawkes.  The English is very slow and  clear.  And, it uses the fantastic expression, ‘to be cheesed off’, which ‘in a nutshell’ means to be fed up of something or someone. Click here

What do you think of this etiquette?  What’s the Spanish way?