What are modals? English grammar IELTS exam

What are modals? English grammar IELTS exam

What are modals?

All The Auxiliary verbs except “Be”, “Do” & “Have” are called  “Modals”. Unlike other auxiliary verbs, modals only exist in their helping

forms; they cannot act alone as the main verb in a sentence. The verbs can,

could, may, might, will, would, should, must, and ought to, are called ‘Modal  Auxiliary Verbs’. They are used before the Infinitives of other verbs and add

certain kinds of meaning to the utterances. Need and Dare can sometimes be used

as modal auxiliary verbs and the expression “had better” is used as a modal auxiliary. Modal verbs can be used to say with all these situations.

Possible – may, can

Certainly possible – must,

Possible by force/compulsion/obligation – should, ought to

Willingly possible – shall, will, would

Impossible – can’t,

Probable – might, could

Improbable – couldn’t, mightn’t


Can Ability/ possibility
Inability/ Impossibility
Asking for permission
They can control their own budgets.
We can’t fix it?
Can I write here?
Can you help me?
Could Asking for permission
Future possibility
Ability in the past
Could I borrow your dictionary?
Could you say it again?
We could try to fix it ourselves.
I think we could have another “Gulf War”.
He gave up his old job, so he could work for us.
May Asking for permission
future possibility
May I have another cup of coffee?
India may become a major economic power
Might Present possibility
Future possibility
We’d better phone tomorrow, they
might be eating their dinner now.
They might give us a 10% discount.
MUST Necessity
We must say goodbye now.
They must not disrupt the work.
Asking what to do
 Shall I help you with your luggage?
Shall I do that or will you?
SHOULD Saying what’s right
Recommending action
Uncertain prediction
We should sort out this problem at once.
I think we should check everything again.
Profits should increase next year.
Will Instant decisions
Offer, promise
Certain prediction
1. I can’t see any taxis, so I will walk.
2. I will do that if you like.
3. I will get back to you on Monday
Would Asking for permission
Making arrangements
Invitation preferences
1. Would you pass the salt, please?
2. Would you mind waiting a moment?
3. Would you prefer tea or coffee?
4. I’d like tea, please.

Rewrite the Sentence using modals and identify language functions;- 

  1. Please return my library books.    Will………………    Function…………..
  1. The files are heavy. I’ll carry them for you.    Would………………..  Function……………
  1. Let me switch on the fan, ok?     Do you ……………….    Function ……………….
  1. “Bring the books to my office”    Would…………….  Function…………

Modal verbs

  1. Will you please return my library books?      Request
  1. Would I carry the files for you?    Seeking permission
  1. Do you mind if I switch on the fan?   Request
  1. Would you bring the books to my office?  Request

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