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Listed below are examples and uses of modal verbs of probability. Modal verbs of probability are used to express an opinion of the speaker based on information that the speaker has. Example: He must be at work; it's 10 o'clock. In this case, the speaker is 100 % sure that the person is at work based on the speaker's knowledge that the person in question usually works at during the day. Examples They must be in Spain by now. She must have done well on the test. She might come this evening. David may invite Use 'might' or 'may' to express an Jesica to the opinion that you think has a good match. possibility of being true. Jack might have gone to France. Jane could be at Use 'could' to express a possibility which work. is one of many. This form is not as strong as 'might' or 'may'. It is just one of a Peter could have number of possibilities. arrived late. You can't be serious! Use 'can't' to express an opinion that you are 100% sure is NOT true. Usage Use 'must' plus the verb when you are 100% (or almost 100%) sure that something is the case.
They can't have Notice that the past form remains 'can't worked until have done' late. Structure In the present: Subject + Modal + Base Form + Objects must be I might be You He, She at work. We could be They can't be In the past: Subject + Modal + Perfect Form + Objects I must have left early. You He, She might have left We They
2. but I'm not sure. They _________________ (live) in New York.could have left can't have left Modal Verbs of Probability Exercises Use must. but I’m not sure. might live 6. 6. 5. John _______________________ (be) at work. EXERCISE 1 1. might. 4. EXERCISE 2 Rewrite these sentences using must or can’t. 4. must have arrived 4. She_________________ (think) that it is a good idea. can’t think 3. may. 3. 4. could or can't plus the correct form of the verb. I must look silly in this coat. She must be at home. Jane _______________________ (leave) the party with John last night. He doesn't have enough money. could be 8. I'm absolutely sure! They _________________ (arrive) yesterday. 5. 5. I’m certain you’re crazy. They’re always buying new cars – I’m certain they make a lot of money. Fiore is a great conductor. 1. must have been 7. I’m sure she’s at home. 2. 3. You must be crazy. 6. Classes begin at 8. I saw their ticket. That can’t be Janet. must be 2. 7. may/might have left KEY TO EXERCISE 2 1. I bet I look silly in this coat. They must make a lot of money. KEY TO EXERCISE 1 1. Are you joking! David _________________ (go) to Paris last week. can’t have gone 5. It's crazy! 3. I know that isn’t Janet – she’s in the USA. or perhaps he’s at the gym – or even the pub! 8. 6. . The concert _________________(be) wonderful last night. 2. Where is David? He _________________ (be) at school. I’m sure she thinks I’m stupid. She must think I’m stupid.