By Teacher Scarlet

What are modal verbs?

  • Modal verbs are auxiliary/helping verbs that indicate modality. They are used to express the following:
  • Ability
  • Possibility
  • Permission
  • Obligation

Analyze the classification of the modal verbs used on each significant movie scene
Movie compilation by:

There are a lot of verbs in English that could be considered modal verbs depending on how they are used in a sentence and what classifies them as modal verbs.   

What classifies Modal Verbs?

  1. All modal verbs don’t have inflection. They only have one form and tense: the base form and the present simple. Meaning to say, we must use the modal verb as is without changing its form or tense.

For Example:

      “She can speak five languages.” NOT “She cans speak five languages”

  • All modal verbs are followed directly by the infinitive of another verb but without “to.

For Example:

      “They might join us later” NOT “They might to join us later”

  • All modal verbs do not need additional auxiliary when in question form or negative form. In addition, in negative form “not” is always used after the modal verb.

For Example:

“ Must I help her?” NOT “Do I must help her?” or

 “Can I go outside?”NOT “Do I can go outside?” or

“She should not drink alcohol.” NOT “She doesn’t should drink alcohol.”

Try this pop quiz and check out the appropriate model verb for each situation.

To further understand it, here are the commonly used modal verbs and how to use them: Can, could, will, would, shall, should, might, must, and ought to

Sentence Examples:

  • She can dance gracefully .(expresses ability)
  • I might not attend the meeting later. (expresses possibility)
  • He must review the lessons if he doesn’t want to fail the exam tomorrow. (expresses necessity)
Can-Mary can paint beautiful pictures. She can’t dance.
-We can arrive early if we leave at 4 am in the morning.
-Can I go out with my friends?
-Okay, you can borrow my bag tonight.
-Can you help me carry my bags?
-to express ability  
– to express inability/ impossibility
– to express the possibility of something   
-asking for permission  
 -giving permission  
-make a request
Could-I could bring some more bread with me tomorrow
-When I was a child, I could run fast.
-You couldn’t do it, could you?
-express possibility    
-express ability in the past  
-express doubt
Will-I will check out the online listings
-I will have the pesto pasta, please.
-Refers to future events
–  to express a decision made while speaking.
Would-I would go to the nearest cafe to start the day right
-Would you get me some wine
-Habits in the past
Shall-Shall we go bowling for the weekend?
-I shall overcome this slump.
Future tense auxiliary:
with ”I’ and ‘we’:
ShouldYou should buy fresh produce for dinner.Necessity and advice  
Might-She might go to London this summer to finish her degree. Slight possibility
” past form of “may: in reported speech
Must-I must go home for the holidays
-You must report the incident to the police   
-Strong belief and obligation 
Ought to -You ought to vote this coming election.-Moral Duty and obligation 

Entertain yourself by watching this clip of songs that have used modal verbs. Hopefully, you’ll get to understand the context within the lyrics.

youtube compilation by: An Akk