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ANGLO-PEDIA

Anglo-File 107: MODALS


Part 1: FORMULATION
A Modal verb (could, must etc.) is a verb that fulfils a specific language function, e.g. making a
request, expressing a necessity etc.
Modal verbs take the same form for all persons: I can, He can, Sally can, they can etc.
There is always another verb after the modal verb. This second verb is in the infinitive without
to form. Modal verbs are made into negative sentences or questions directly:
I can speak German.
I cant speak German.
Laura should go on a diet. Laura shouldnt go on a diet.

Can I speak German?


Should Laura go on a diet?

Part 2: USAGE
Can / Could
1. Use CAN / CANNOT (be able to) to EXPRESS ABILITY / LACK OF ABILITY.
(COULD in the past)
- I cant (cannot) swim.
- I can see you at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow. Can you manage that?
- I could run very fast when I was young.
- I couldnt (could not) reach him last night. His mobile phone was switched off.
2. Use COULD to make a REQUEST.
- Could you open the door, please?
- Could you repeat that, please?
- Could I borrow your pen?

Shall / Should
3. Use SHALL I to OFFER TO DO SOMETHING:
- Shall I call the doctor?
- Shall I make some tea?
4. Use SHALL WE to MAKE A SUGGESTION / ASK FOR A SUGGESTION:
- Shall we begin?
- Where shall we meet?
5. Use SHOULD to GIVE ADVICE / EXPRESS YOUR OPINION:
- You should not (shouldnt) work so much.
- I think we should stop now.

May / Might
6. Use MAY I to ASK FOR PERMISSION.
- May I ask you a question?
7. Use MAY or MIGHT to express a degree of PROBABILITY.
- It may rain tonight. (There is a high probability of rain tonight.)
- It might right rain tonight. (There is a low probability of rain tonight.)

Must / Have to
8. Use MUST to express a STRONG NECESSITY and MUST NOT to express a PROHIBITION.
MUST & MUST NOT express personal feelings.
- You must use this tool carefully.
- You must not (mustnt) waste your time.
9. Use HAVE TO express an IMPERSONAL / EXTERNAL OBLIGATION:
- You have to stop at a red light.
- Everyone has to take this test.
10. Use DO NOT HAVE TO (NEED TO) to express a LACK OF OBLIGATION OR NECESSITY.
- She does not (doesnt) have to wear a uniform.
- You do not (dont) need to wear a jacket. It is quite warm outside.

ANGLO-PEDIA

Anglo-File 107: MODALS


EXERCISES
Part 1: (Tracks 1-51)
Use a modal verb to express the idea in the first sentence.
Section 1. Expressing ability / lack of ability
Use can, cant, could or couldnt to express the following.
Example:
Say you are not able to ski.

I cant ski.

1. Say he is not able to dance.

2. Say she wasnt able to find her way.

3. Say they are able to deliver at short notice.

4. Say you were able to reach him on his mobile phone.

5. Say we werent able to reach an agreement.

Section 2. Making a request


Request the following actions using could you + please.
Example:
Sign this form.

Could you sign this form, please?

1. Pass the salt.

2. Repeat the question.

3. Put me through to the Sales Department.

4. Pass on a message to Mike.

5. Speak more slowly.

Section 3. Offering to do something


Offer to do the following using shall I.
Example:
Post this letter.

Shall I post this letter?

1. Call you a taxi.

2. Give you a hand with your luggage.

3. Call you back later.

4. Send you a copy of the contract.

5. Cancel your meeting.

Section 4. Making a suggestion


Make the following suggestions or ask for a suggestion using shall we.
Example:
Ask for a suggestion what to do.

What shall we do?

1. Suggest starting the meeting

2. Suggest going over the items on the agenda.

3. Ask for a suggestion where to meet.

4. Ask for a suggestion who to invite.

5. Suggest having a break.

Section 5. Giving advice / Expressing opinion


Use should or shouldnt to express the following.
Example:
Advise a friend to learn Spanish.

You should learn Spanish.

1. Say you do not think it is a good idea to park here.

2. Advise a friend to take up a sport.

3. Advise someone not to buy this car.

4. Say you think it is a good idea to lock the door.

5. Advise your friend to look for another job.

Section 6. Asking for permission


Ask for permission to do the following using may I.
Example:
Use your phone.

May I use your phone?

1. Have some water.

2. Interrupt you.

3. Speak to Sally.

4. Introduce my colleague.

5. Have your telephone number.

Section 7. Expressing probability


Express the following probabilities using may or might.
Example:
I will probably see John later (high probability).

I may see John later.

1. It will probably rain tomorrow (high probability).

2. She will probably not call (low probability).

3. Prices will probably rise (high probability).

4. There will probably be a strike (low probability).

5. They will probably not see us (high probability).

Section 8. Expressing necessity & prohibition


Express these strong necessities or prohibitions using must or mustnt.
Example:
Its necessary that we clean the kitchen.

We must clean the kitchen.

1. Its necessary that I go to the dentist.

2. Its necessary that you go to bed early.

3. Its necessary that we apologise to him.

4. Its necessary that you do not tell anyone.

5. Its necessary that they do not see this letter.

Section 9. Expressing obligation


Express these obligations using have to.
Example:
Its an obligation for him to finish his work.

He has to finish his work.

1. Its an obligation for them to wear a uniform.

2. Its an obligation for him to travel for his job.

3. Its an obligation for everyone to fill in a timesheet.

4. Its an obligation for us to be at work before 9 a.m.

5. Its an obligation for me to pick up the children.

Section 10. Expressing lack of necessity or obligation


Express lack of necessity or obligation to do the following actions using dont have to
(need to)
Example:
Its not necessary for him to wake up early.

He doesnt need to wake up early.

1. It is not necessary for us to wash up.

2. It is not an obligation for her to work overtime.

3. It is not necessary for him to take any medicine.

4. It is not an obligation for us to fill in this form.

5. It is not an obligation for me to have an invitation.

Anglo-File 107: MODALS / Answer Key


Part 1
Section 1. Expressing ability / lack of ability
1. He cant dance.
2. She couldnt find her way.
3. They can deliver at short notice.
4. I was able to reach him on his mobile phone.
5. We couldnt reach an agreement.
Section 2. Making a request
1. Could you pass the salt, please?
2. Could you repeat the question, please?
3. Could you put me through to the sales department, please?
4. Could you pass on a message to Mike, please?
5. Could you speak more slowly, please?
Section 3. Offering to do something
1. Shall I call you a taxi?
2. Shall I give you a hand with your luggage?
3. Shall I call you back later?
4. Shall I send you a copy of the contract?
5. Shall I cancel your meeting?
Section 4. Making a suggestion
1. Shall we start the game?
2. Shall we go over the items on the agenda?
3. Where shall we meet?
4. Who shall we invite?
5. Shall we have a break?
Section 5. Giving advice / Expressing opinion
1. I shouldnt park here.
2. You should take up a sport.
3. You shouldnt buy this car.
4. I should lock the door.

5. You should look for another job.


Section 6. Asking for permission
1. May I have some water?
2. May I interrupt you?
3. May I speak to Sally?
4. May I introduce my colleague?
5. May I have your telephone number?
Section 7. Expressing probability
1. It may rain tomorrow.
2. She might no t call.
3. Prices may rise.
4. There might be a strike.
5. They may not see us.
Section 8. Expressing necessity & prohibition
1. I must go to the dentist.
2. You must go to bed early.
3. We must apologise to him.
4. You mustnt tell anyone.
5. They mustnt see this letter.
Section 9. Expressing obligation
1. They have to wear a uniform.
2. He has to travel for his job.
3. Everyone has to fill in a timesheet.
4. We have to be at work before 9 a.m.
5. I have to pick up the children.
Section 10. Expressing lack of necessity or obligation
1. We dont need to wash up.
2. She doesnt have to work overtime.
3. He doesnt need to take any medicine.
4. We dont have to fill in this form.
5. I dont need to have an invitation.

ANGLO-PEDIA

Anglo-File 107: MODALS


EXERCISES
Part 2: (Tracks 51-91)
Choose the most appropriate modal to express the following ideas.
Example:
Suggest reconsidering the proposal.

We should reconsider the proposal.

1. Say he was able to join her for dinner.

2. Offer to call me back.

3. Request that I confirm my order in writing.

4. Say it is necessary not to lose the match.

5. Ask for a suggestion when to launch


the new product.

6. Ask for permission to borrow a pen.

7. Say that your colleague will probably be late.


(high probability)

8. Say its necessary for you to phone your office.

9. Say it is not an obligation for them to give us


a discount.

10. Advise someone to reconsider the offer.

11. Offer to drop someone off at the station.

12. Say you are able to deliver the goods by Monday.

13. Suggest summing up the conclusions so far.

14. Request that I put you through to the


Purchasing Manager.

15. Ask for permission to visit the sports facilities.

16. Ask if it is a good idea for you to learn Japanese.

17. Say that you will probably change your mind.


(low probability)

18. Say it is not necessary for you to work


this weekend.

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19. Say that you do not think it is a good idea to


hire him.

20. Say that your flight will probably get cancelled.


(low probability)

21. Ask if it is a good idea for you to get a loan.

22. Ask for a suggestion how many people to invite.

23. Say it is not necessary for her to wear glasses.

24. Offer to get someone an aspirin.

25. Request that I find out where the hotel is.

26. Say that John will probably join us later.


(low probability)

27. Say you do not think it is a good idea for Bob to


work so hard.

28. Ask for permission to make a suggestion.

29. Say it is necessary that we find a solution.

30. Ask for advice what to wear to the party.

31. Say they are not able to come on Thursday.

32. Say it is necessary that he does not give up.

33. Request that I clarify this point.

34. Say it is not necessary for us to rush.

35. Ask for your friends advice what to do.

36. Say you were not able to send any e-mails.

37. Say it is an obligation to complete this form.

38. Say it is not necessary to make an appointment.

39. Ask for a suggestion where to have lunch.

40. Say she will probably not know the answer.

Anglo-Link Language Community, 2008

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Anglo-File 107: MODALS / Answer Key


Part 2
1. He could join her for dinner.
2. Shall I call you back?
3. Could you confirm your order in writing, please?
4. We mustnt lose the match.
5. When shall we launch the new product?
6. May I borrow your pen?
7. My colleague may be late.
8. I must phone my office.
9. We dont have to give them a discount.
10. You should reconsider the offer.
11. Shall I drop you off at the station?
12. I can deliver the goods by Monday.
13. Shall we sum up the conclusions so far?
14. Could you put me through to the Purchasing Manager?
15. May I visit the sports facilities?
16. Should I learn Japanese?
17. I might change my mind.
18. I dont have to work this weekend.
19. We shouldnt hire him.
20. Our flight might get cancelled.
21. Should I get a loan?
22. How many people shall we invite?
23. She doesnt need to wear glasses.
24. Shall I get you an aspirin?
25. Could you find out where the hotel is?
26. John might join us later.
27. Bob shouldnt work so hard.
28. May I make a suggestion?
29. We must find a solution.
30. What shall I wear to the party?

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31. They cant come on Thursday.


32. He mustnt give up.
33. Could you clarify this point?
34. We dont need to rush.
35. What should I do?
36. I couldnt send any e-mails.
37. You have to complete this form.
38. You dont need to make an appointment.
39. Where shall we have lunch?
40. She may not know the answer.

2008, Anglo-Link Language Community

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