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Modal verbs can, may, must - grammar rules We use the modal verbs can, may, must in the English language for various meanings - ability, possiblity, probability, permission, attitude, opinion, speculation, etc. CAN 1. It is used to express the ability to do something. I can swim very well. Can he can speak English fluently? - No, he can't. We cannot sing at all! 2. It expresses the possibility to do something. We can go to the seaside at last. Our holidays start next week. 3. We use it to say that something is probable. It can be John. He has blond hair and he is wearing glasses. 4. It expresses the permission to do something. Why not? You can marry her. She is a nice girl. MAY 1. It is used for permissions. You may borrow my car. I won't need it. May I smoke here? - No, you can't, I'm sorry. 2. It is used to express probability or prediction. They may call tomorrow. I hope so. The main difference between may and can is in style. May is more formal than can. Can is typical of spoken English. 3. The opposite of may is must not or may not. May I smoke here? - You mustn't smoke here. (strong prohibition) - You may not smoke here. (more polite, very formal) - You can't smoke here. (informal spoken English)
because it expresses the speaker's opinion or will. Must not has a different meaning. you needn't. Mum. He mustn't enter this room. I must clean my teeth. We make the passive voice with a modal verb + be + past participle: This can be done. It means a strong recommendation.MUST 1. the modal verbs may and must. It is used for strong obligations. I've already done it. these modal verbs are not used in different tenses.No. We mustn't come late today. The laws must be respected. It is used to express prohibition that involves the speaker's will. It is dangerous. I want to be healthy. It is personal. You must go there. 3. It's the best film I've ever seen. And do it right now! 2. They must be at school by now. You must see it. The opposite of must is need not. however. only have the present form. Or the teacher will be very angry. We use it to show the certainty of the speaker. The past tense of can is could. . 4. Note Normally. must I wash up? . It's already 9 o'clock. All the other tenses must be formed in a different way.
excepto be able to. have to y ought to. Nunca llevan infinitivo con to detrás. Can you take me to Victoria Station He is able to find any street in London. You could take a taxi It may be quicker to travel by train. No necesitan -do o -does para formar la negativa ni la interrogativa. need to. That story can´t be true.. . Look at the snow. You must be back at 10 o´clock. May I come in? It might be quicker to travel by train. You don´t have to call a taxi. It must be cold outside. You have to be back at 10 o´clock You need to study a lot. participio ni tiempos compuestos.Teacher HERNANDO OLAYA MODAL VERBS Los Verbos Modales MODAL CAN BE ABLE TO CAN´T COULD MAY MIGHT MUST HAVE TO NEED TO NEEDN´T MUSTN´T DON´T HAVE TO SHOULD OUGHT TO EXAMPLES He can find any street in London. Could you take me to Victoria Station?. I could play tennis when I was younger. You needn´t have a university degree. You should drive more carefully You ought to drive more carefully Ability Suggestion Request Ability Certainty that something is impossible Ability Request Suggestion Possibility Formal request Possibility Obligation Certainty that something is true Obligation Obligation Lack of obligation Prohibition Lack of obligation Opinion / Advice Opinion / Advice USES CARACTERÍSTICAS DE ESTOS VERBOS: No llevan -s en la tercera persona del singular del presente simple. No tienen infinitivo. You can take a taxi. You mustn´t drive without a license.
dar y pedir permiso de manera informal. Ought to apenas se usa en negativa e interrogativa. a) Los dos verbos expresan necesidad y obligación. f ) Para indicar prohibición. You can´t smoke here. Cuando queremos suavizar la frase utilizamos have to. c) Para hacer peticiones. (Tiene que trabajar mañana) b) Must sirve para expresar una conclusión lógica. así que para el resto de los tiempos se usa have to. b) Para hacer peticiones o pedir un favor de manera más formal que con can. (¿Podrás hacerlo antes de las 6?) COULD a) Se usa para expresar habilidad y capacidad en el pasado. además de estos. MUSTN´T / DON´T HAVE TO a) Mustn´t indica prohibición. CAN / BE ABLE TO CAN se auxilia de be able to en los tiempos de que carece. otros dos usos: e) Para expresar deducción. igual que needn´t. “poder”. En negativa tiene. sin ser seguro. (Podríamos ir el viernes por la tarde). b) May también se utiliza para pedir y dar permiso de una forma más educada que con can. (No puedes fumar aquí). (No tienes por qué lavar los platos / no es necesario). (Podemos hacer eso luego). SHOULD / OUGHT TO a) Se pueden utilizar indistintamente para dar consejos y hacer recomendaciones. MUST / HAVE TO Must sólo tiene presente. MAY / MIGHT a) Ambos verbos expresan la posibilidad de que algo ocurra en el presente o en el futuro. NEED TO / NEEDN´T a) Need to expresa obligación o necesidad. y tiene muchos usos: a) Para expresar habilidad o capacidad: “saber”. pero con must la necesidad es más fuerte. d) Para indicar posibilidad: We can do that later. You don´t have to wash the dishes. pero dando a entender que es más remota que si usamos can. c) Para hacer sugerencias. Will you be able to do it before six o´clock?. d) Para indicar posibilidad. b) Needn´t indica ausencia de obligación o necesidad. .. (Debes tomar una decisión lo antes posible) She has to work tomorrow. aunque should es mucho más frecuente. can también expresa posibilidad pero denota que las circunstancias reales lo permiten. Como hemos visto antes. You must take a decision as soon as possible. pero en los tiempos que le faltan a este verbo modal.NOTA: Los verbos have to y need to también se consideran “verbos semimodales” porque no cumplen todas las características propias de los verbos modales. b) Con acciones que empiezan en el pasado pero todavía tienen continuidad en el presente. BE ABLE TO también indica habilidad y posibilidad como can. b) Don´t have to tiene un valor totalmente distinto pues significa ausencia de necesidad. We could go on Friday afternoon.
(can) 6-You ________ wash up today. But after we moved back to Canada. Nancy: I just did a load of dishes last night and they're still in the dish washer. (must) 3-I am afraid I _______ help you now. must 1-This car ____________ be expensive. 9. 4. I don't know. He _______ like it. Dave: ________ you hold your breath for more than a minute? Nathan: No. The book is optional. (must) 7-You must try hard. Ted's flight from Amsterdam took more than 11 hours. When you have a small child in the house. If you want to get a better feeling for how the city is laid out. I _______just say a few things in the language. He _________prefer to stay in tonight and get some rest. Such objects _______be swallowed. (may) 8-She ________ go out on Monday. 7. You ________ research the route a little more before you attempt the ascent. 6. That's the only other place it _______be. We have plenty of time. (can) 9-Excuse me! _________you speak French? 10-There's a lot of work to do in the house. 3. Hiking the trail to the peak ______be dangerous if you are not well prepared for dramatic weather changes. you ________ walk downtown and explore the waterfront. Now. It ______be in there.Teacher HERNANDO OLAYA Modal verbs exercises modal auxiliary verbs can. You _______help me! can could have to must might should 1. . Jenny's engagement ring is enormous! It ______have cost a fortune. Please make sure to water my plants while I am gone. But we ________read it if we don't want to. It's five years old. I can't. (may) 5-I ________ play the piano. 8. (can) 2-You _________hurry. You ________ give it up. I had very little exposure to the language and forgot almost everything I knew as a child. causing serious injury or even death. He ________be exhausted after such a long flight. 2. (can) 4-Well. you _______leave small objects lying around. they _____die. My professor said we ______ read it if we needed extra credit. 10. 5. Leo: Where is the spatula? It _______be in this drawer but it's not here. I ______speak Arabic fluently when I was a child and we lived in Egypt. If they don't get enough water. may.
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