What are Modal Verbs?
Modal verbs are auxiliary (helping) verbs and don’t need an additional auxiliary verb in negatives or questions.
Modal verbs are different from other verbs.
- Modal verbs don’t change their form (spelling).
- Modal verbs don’t use an “S” for third person singular.
- Modal verbs have no infinitive or participle (either past or present).
- Modal verbs make questions by inversion (“He can go” becomes “Can he go?”).
- Modal verbs are followed by the infinitive of another verb without “to.”
Modal verbs are used to express ideas such as possibility, intention, obligation, and necessity.
Modal Verbs Include:
- Can: to express ability; to request permission.
- Could: to express ability.
- May: to express possibility; to request permission.
- Might: to express possibility.
- Must: to express obligation or advice; to express strong belief
- Will: to talk about habits or things we usually do.
- Would: to talk about habits or things we did in the past; to request or offer; in “if” sentences.
- Shall: to talk about habits or things we usually do; often viewed as being more formal than will.
- Should: to express obligation or advice.
- Ought to: to express obligation or advice.