Modal Verb
 
 
 
 
Modal Verb

In this lesson you will learn the definition of a modal verb, study examples of modal verbs, and take a test.
Modal Verb Definition
  • A modal verb is:
  • an auxiliary verb
  • used to express intention, necessity, obligation, offer, permission, possibility, prohibition, question, request, suggestion
  • cannot function as a main verb in a sentence
Modal Verb Examples
  • can
  • She can finish doing the dishes. (possibility)
  • Can we take more of these? (permission)
  • Can you wash my car? (request)
  • could
  • Could I borrow your car? (permission)
  • I think we could get a woman president. (possibility)
  • Could you eat your food in the dining room? (request)
  • You could try finding another job. (suggestion)
  • may
  • May I see the menu please? (permission)
  • It may rain tomorrow. (possibility)
  • might
  • They might give us free tickets. (possibility)
  • must
  • We must go home now. (necessity, obligation)
  • They must not be win the game this weekend. (prohibition)
  • ought to
  • We must go home now. (necessity, obligation)
  • We ought to move to another city. (suggestion)
  • shall
  • Shall we close the account for you? (offer)
  • Shall we go out to lunch now? (suggestion)
  • Shall we go out to lunch or out to dinner? (question)
  • should
  • We should really talk about this. (suggestion)
  • Profits should increase next year. (prediction)
  • will
  • You will do your homework tonight. (necessity)
  • Will you go to the party this weekend? (question)
  • would
  • Would you like me to hold that for you? (offer)
  • You would really like this sushi. (suggestion)
Modal Verbs Test

For each question in the test below, choose the correct sentence.
1.  Choose the correct sentence.

     a.  We would take the car to the mechanic.
     b.  We must take the car to the mechanic.
2.  Choose the correct sentence.

     a.  Joan could have come back. I received email from her today.
     b.  Joan must have come back. I received email from her today.
3.  Choose the correct sentence.

     a.  Joan should have helped her colleague.
     b.  Joan used to have helped her colleague.
4.  Choose the correct sentence.

     a.  When he was a boy, he could play football really well.
     b.  When he was a boy, he can play football really well.
5.  Choose the correct sentence.

     a.  You might do your homework and come to class to get a good grade.
     b.  You must do your homework and come to class to get a good grade.
6.  Choose the correct sentence.

     a.  Joan should have gone out already because she didn’t answer her phone.
     b.  Joan must have gone out already because she didn’t answer her phone.
7.  Choose the correct sentence.

     a.  You should see the exhibit at the museum.
     b.  You had to see the exhibit at the museum.
8.  Choose the correct sentence.

     a.  She can play the piano very well.
     b.  She could plays the piano very well.
9.  Choose the correct sentence.

     a.  Should you please give me directions to the post office?
     b.  Could you please give me directions to the post office?
10.  Choose the correct sentence.

     a.  Might you please close the door?
     b.  Can you please close the door?
More Tests
 
Additional Information
Could Have, Would Have, and Should Have
(Beginner - Listening, reading)

A video lesson to help with your understanding of modal verbs.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Click here to visit the lesson page.
Could Have, Would Have, and Should Have
(Beginner - Listening)

An audio lesson to help with your understanding of modal verbs. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.
Grammar Tips
Can You Catch These Native Speaker Mistakes?
(Beginner - Listening)

An audio lesson to help with your understanding of common mistakes. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.
Commonly Confused Words: Part One
(Beginner - Listening, reading)

A video lesson to help with your understanding of commonly confused words.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Click here to visit the lesson page.
Commonly Confused Words: Part One
(Beginner - Listening)

An audio lesson to help with your understanding of commonly confused words. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.
Commonly Confused Words: Part Two
(Beginner - Listening, reading)

A video lesson to help with your understanding of commonly confused words.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Click here to visit the lesson page.
Commonly Confused Words: Part Two
(Beginner - Listening)

An audio lesson to help with your understanding of commonly confused words. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.
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