Modal Auxiliaries

The Modal Auxiliaries are can, may, shall, will, must, ought to, used to, need, and dare. They do not have-s’ forms or -ed participles. Can, may, shall, will, have special past forms (could, might, should, would), but the remainder (such as must) do not.

The Modal Auxiliaries are Defective verbs. The term Defective verbs are used for those verbs which are defective in form.

Defective verbs can not be used in all moods and tenses. They can be used only in the simple present and the simple past tense.

Modal Auxiliaries

Use of Modal Auxiliaries


MODALSFUNCTIONSEXAMPLES
Willasking
possibility
suggestion
Will you go to school?
It will rain today.
You will not keep late hours at night before the exam.
WouldrequestingWould you give me a pen?
Shallasking
possibility
Shall I do the work?
I hope I shall complete the project within a week.
Shouldsuggest
seeking advice
You should walk a mile in the morning.
Should we go for a walk?
Canability
possibility
The boy can speak English fluently.
We can hold a condolence meeting for his death this Sunday.
Couldability
requesting
He could do the sum.
Could you help me to solve the problem?
Maypossibility
permission
offering
He may come here today.
May I come in?
May I get you a cup of tea?
Mightpossibility
suggestion
His statement might be true.
You might just as well go.
Mustobligation
certainty
strong probability
prohibition
You must obey your teacher.
Man must die one day.
You must be tired after a long journey.
We must not waste our time.
Darehave the courage
challenge
negative force
interrogation
He dare not say so. (not dares’)
I dare you to prove that you’ve said so.
He dare not follow you.
Who dares to enter the room?
Needprohibition
interrogation
You need not (needn’t) come here.
Need he go there?
Used tohabitual action in the pastMy father used to teach me English.
Ought toobligation
strong likelihood
You ought to work hard.
The lawyer ought to be able to help you.

Modal Auxiliaries Exercise



Q. 1. Fill in the gaps with the modal auxiliaries listed below:

  1. You…………to feel for those who are in distress.
  2. …………….you mind moving along?
  3. Pupils……………..obey their teachers.
  4. You………………….not leave the room before I come back.
  5. ……………….you tell me the way to the post office?
  6. I………………..complete the work before sunset.
  7. ………………..come in, sir?
  8. I………………….like to meet your father.
  9. You…………………be right in the matter.
  10. You…………….not worry over the trifles.
  11. One……………….work hard to succeed in life.
  12. There…………………to be more buses during the rush hours.
  13. Coffee………………..be drunk while it’s hot.
  14. She told me that she………………..help me.


Q. 2. Fill in the blanks with appropriate modal auxiliaries for the expressions in brackets.

  • It……………(is possible that it will) rain.
  • You……………(are permitted to go to Patna with your friends.
  • He………………(is permitted to go home.
  • My father……………(is likely to) arrive here tonight.
  • You………………(are obliged to) obey the laws of the country.
  • She……………..(is determined to) marry John.
  • Man……………..(it is inevitable that man will) die.
  • She…………….(strongly wishes to) see me.
  • The boys…………………(were forbidden to) play in the garden.


Q. 3. Rewrite the following sentences using the negative forms of the modals. Write the contracted form of the negative forms.

  • You should smoke.
  • I can do what I like.
  • We can help you.
  • One must run in the sun.
  • She could sing at the function.
  • They may be wrong.
  • Can you lend me this book for a week?
  • You must be late for the 9.30 train.
  • You ought to listen to the advice of your friends.
  • They could shine in life.

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Types of Figures of Speech

Figures of Speech

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Causative Verbs

Causative Verbs

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