Modals | Modals in English Grammar, Use of Modals with Examples

By Ruchika Gupta

Modals in English Grammar

 

Modals in English Grammar, Use of Modals, Exercise and Examples for Class 8 to 10

Modals – Modals are special verbs that are different from normal verbs. They are never used alone and are always followed by a principal verb. They provide additional information about the principal verb. They are used to express certainty, possibility, willingness, obligation, necessity, and ability.

The List of the Modals with their Positive and Negative forms is given below:

 

Positive Negative
1) Will Will Not/ Won’t
2) Would Would Not/ Wouldn’t
3) Shall Shall Not/ Shan’t
4) Should Should Not/ Shouldn’t
5) May May Not/ Mayn’t
6) Might Might Not/ Mightn’t
7) Can Can Not/ Can’t
8) Could Could Not/ Couldn’t
9) Must Must Not/ Mustn’t
10) Have To Don’t Have To
11) Need Need Not/ Needn’t
12) Ought Ought Not To/ Oughtn’t To
13) Dare Dare Not/ Daren’t
14) Used To Used Not To/ Didn’t Use to

 

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Uses of Modal ‘Will’

1) The first rule for the use of Modal ‘will’ is that it expresses pure future with second and third person as subjects.

2) The second rule for use of Modal ‘will’ is that it shows willingness, intention, promise, determination with the first person as a subject.

3) The third and last use of Modal ‘will’ is that it tells about the characteristic, habit, assumption, invitation or request and insistence.

Examples of Modal ‘Will’ are given below:

1) You will die of a heart attack. (Pure Future)

2) The prime minister will hoist the flag. (Pure Future)

3) I will meet you again. (Promise)

4) I will need your help. (Willingness/ intention)

5) He will achieve his goals. (Determination)

6) A child will usually obey his parents. (Characteristic habit)

7) He will be here at any moment. (Assumption)

8) Will you go with me. (Request)

9) He will not listen to his teacher’s advice. (Insistence)

 

Uses of Modal ‘Would’

The rule for the use of Modal ‘would’ is that it expresses past habits, polite request, wish/ preference or an imaginary condition.

Examples of Modal ‘Would’ are given below:

1) He would wake up early in the morning and go to work. (Past habits)

2) My mother would always make me my favourite dishes. (Past habits)

3) Would you get me a glass of water, please? (Polite request)

4) I would like to see the owner. (Polite request)

5) I wish you would be here. (Wish)

6) I would rather have food at home than outside. (Preference)

7) I would buy a house if I won the lottery. (Preference)

 

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Uses of Modal ‘Shall’

1) The first rule for the use of Modal ‘Shall’ is that it expresses pure future with the first person as the subject.

2) The second rule for the use of Modal ‘Shall’ is that it is used to ask for advice, suggestions, requests, etc. with the first person in the interrogative.

3) The third rule for the use of Modal ‘Shall’ is that it is used to express command, threat, warning, promise, assurance, determination, etc. with the second and third person as the subjects.

Examples of Modal ‘Shall’ are given below:

1) We shall go to school tomorrow. (Pure Future)

2) I shall teach you to dance. (Pure Future)

3) Shall I bring a glass of fresh juice for you? (Request)

4) Shall I close the door? (Advice)

5) Shall we go to the market tomorrow? (Suggestion)

6) You shall get a reward for your achievement. (Promise/ Assurance)

7) You shall go to your room. (Command)

8) They shall win the match. (Determination)

 

Uses of Modal ‘Should’

1) The first rule for the use of Modal ‘Should’ is that it is used to express duty, obligation, advisability or desirability.

2) The second rule for the use of Modal ‘Should’ is that it is used to express logical interference, supposition, assumption, possibility or probability.

3) The third rule for the use of Modal ‘Should’ is that it is used to express a purpose after ‘lest’.

Examples of Modal ‘Should’ are given below:

1) We should go to school every day. (Duty)

2) You should not be late for work. (Obligation/ Desirability)

3) You should exercise more often. (advisability)

4) He should be at the office by now. (Possibility)

5) If he should see me there, he will be happy. (Probable Condition)

6) Leave on time, lest you should miss the train. (should after lest)

 

Uses of Modal ‘May’

The rule for the use of Modal ‘May’ is that it is used to express possibility, permission, wish, faith, hope or a purpose.

Examples of Modal ‘May’ are given below:

1) It may snow in the evening. (Possibility)

2) May I go now, sir? (Permission)

3) May God always be with you. (Wish, faith or hope)

4) He is working hard so that he may get an appraisal. (Purpose)

 

Uses of Modal ‘Might’

The rule for the use of Modal ‘Might’ is that it is used to express less possibility, permission or a guess.

Example of Modal Might are given below:

1) It might rain today. (Less possibility)

2) Might I go to get the files? (Permission)

3) That might be the new guard. (Guess)

 

Uses of Modal ‘Can’

The rule for the use of Modal ‘Can’ is that it is used to express permission, possibility, ability or capacity.

Examples of Modal ‘Can’ are given below:

1) Can I go to the market? (Permission)

2) Anyone can be the thief. (Possibility)

3) He can stay awake for 2 days. (Ability/ Capacity)

 

Uses of Modal ‘Could’

The rule for the use of Modal ‘Could’ is that it is used to express ability or capacity in the past, polite request or a possibility under certain circumstances.

Examples of Modal ‘Could’ are given below:

1) He could run very fast in his youth. (Ability/ Capacity in the past)

2) Could you wait for him? (Polite request)

3) If we had money, we could have bought a house. (Possibility under certain conditions)

 

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Uses of Modal ‘Must’

The rule for use of Modal ‘Must’ is that it is used to express obligation/ duty, necessity, compulsion, prohibition, emphatic advice, determination, assumption, conclusion/ interference, certainty/ strong probability.

Examples of Modal ‘Must’ are given below:

1) The children must obey their parents. (Duty)

2) We must not steal money from anyone. ( Duty)

3) You must follow the orders of your boss. (Obligation)

4) I must reach work on time. (Necessity)

5) He must do as I say. (Compulsion)

6) You must not smoke in public places. (Prohibition)

7) You must see a dentist at once. (Emphatic advice)

8) We must not go before they come back. (Determination)

9) The students must be in their classes at this time. (Strong Probability)

10) He must be 40 years old. (Assumption)

11) He must have left by now. (Certainty)

 

Uses of Modal ‘Have to’

The rule for the use of Modal ‘Have to’ is that it is used in the sense of must, to give advice or to recommend something.

Examples of Modal ‘Have to’ are given below:

1) I have to reach there by 9:30 pm. (in the sense of Must)

2) You have to start working soon. (Advice)

 

Uses of Modal ‘Need’

The main rule for the use of Modal ‘Need’ is that it chiefly shows the absence of necessity or compulsion in the negative and interrogative sentences.

Examples of the Modal Need are given below:

1) You need not worry about work.

2) Need I talk to her.

 

Uses of Modal ‘Ought’

The rule for the use of Modal ‘Will’ is that it is used to express the subjects obligation or duty and also it is used to give advice.

Examples of Modal ‘Ought’ are given below:

1) I ought to love my parents. (Obligation/ Duty)

2) We ought not to cheat anyone. (Duty)

3) You ought to practise for more than 2 hours a day if you want to clear the exam.

 

Uses of Modal ‘Dare’

The rule for using the Modal ‘Dare’ is that it is used at places where we need to show courage. It is generally used in negative and interrogative way.

Examples of Modal Dare are given below:

1) I dare not fail in my exams. (Negative)

2) How dare you interrupt us? (Interrogative)

 

Uses of Modal ‘Used to’

The rule for the usage of Modal ‘Used to’ is that it is used to express past habits and to express the existence of something in the past.

Examples of the Modal ‘Used to’ are given below:

1) I used to go swimming every morning. (Past Habits)

2) There used to be a door at this place long ago.(Existence of something in the past)

 

Modal Exercises

Fill in the blanks with correct modals.

1) He knew that he _______ (Would/ must) be able to reach office in time.

2) You ______ (dare/ could) not enter my house again.

3) I thought he ______ (should/ would) be at school.

4) Raman _____ (can/ should) speak in two voices.

5) I _____ (can’t/ couldn’t) write what you spoke.

6) You _____ (should/ can) have told me earlier.

7) _____ (Can/ Should) i get something to drink, please? I am very thirsty.

8) _______ (Can/ Should) I use your car, please?

9) You ______ (can/ would) go in now and meet the doctor.

10) I _______ (would/ should) love to teach these children.

11) I ______ (could/ can) eat 5 bananas at a time when i was young.

12) You _____ (must/ will) see the lawyer at once.

13) ______ (May/ Might) god protect you from the pain and agony.

14) My mother ______ (can/ could) watch T.V for hours even now.

15) It _______ (would/ may) be cold in the evening, who knows?

Answers:

1) Would

2) Dare

3) Would

4) Can

5) Couldn’t

6) Should

7) Can

8) Can

9) Can

10) Would

11) Could

12) Must

13) May

14) Can

15) May

 

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