Modal verbs

Modal verbs can be used to express the following:


– That could/might/may be the answer.
– The thief could/might/may have had a knife.
– I can’t have been more than two at the time.

Logical deduction

– That must be Tom at the phone.
– It can’t be Susie’s dress – she never wears pink.
– The applicant must have performed very well at the interview to get the job.


– You must leave the building immediately.
– I‘ve got to finish this report today.
– They had to record everything they did.

Lack of obligation/necessity

– You don’t have to get a visa.
– We didn’t need to pay to go in.
– We needn’t have bothered to book seats.

Modal verbs


– You mustn’t leave your mobile phone switched on during lessons.

Advice (weak obligation)

– You should try to bring as little luggage as possible.
– You ought not to be playing music so late at night.
– They should have/ought to have taken out insurance.


Can I borrow your dictionary?
May I open the window?
– I asked if I could take some time off work.


– They can all speak several languages.
– I was afraid of the water because I couldn’t swim.

Modal verbs publicat: 2018-09-20T15:08:59+02:00, actualizat: 2018-09-20T15:10:00+02:00 by