What are modal verbs?
Modals (also called modal verbs, modal auxiliary verbs, modal auxiliaries) are special verbs that behave irregularly in English. They are different from normal verbs like “work, play, visit…” They give additional information about the function of the main verb that follows it. They have a great variety of communicative functions.
This grammar section explains English Grammar in a clear and simple way. There are example sentences to show how the language is used.
Modals Exercise For Class 8 CBSE With Answers PDF
Here are some characteristics of modal verbs:
- They never change their form. You can’t add “s”, “ed”, “ing”…
- They are always followed by an infinitive without “to” (e.i. the bare infinitive.)
- They are used to indicate modality allow speakers to express certainty, possibility, willingness, obligation, necessity, ability.
List of modal verbs Here is a list of modal verbs:
|can, could, may, might, will, would, shall, should, must|
The verbs or expressions dare, ought to, had better, and need not behave like modal auxiliaries to a large extent and may be added to the above list.
Use of modal verbs:
Modal verbs are used to express functions such as:
- Lack of necessity
Examples of modal verbs
Here is a list of modals with examples:
|must||Strong obligation||You must stop when the traffic lights turn red.|
|logical conclusion/ Certainty||He must be very tired. He’s been working all day long.|
|must not||Prohibition||You must not smoke in the hospital.|
|can||Ability||I can swim.|
|Permission||Can I use your phone please?|
|Possibility||Smoking can cause cancer.|
|could||ability in the past||When I was younger I could run fast.|
|polite permission||Excuse me, could I just say something?|
|Possibility||It could rain tomorrow.|
|may||Permission||May I use you phone please?|
|possibility, the probability||it may rain tomorrow!|
|might||polite permission||Might I suggest an idea?|
|possibility, probability||I might go on holiday to Australia next year.|
|need not||lack of necessity/ absence of obligation||I need not buy tomatoes. There are plenty of tomatoes in the fridge.|
|should/ought to||50% obligation||I should/ought to see a doctor. I have a terrible headache.|
|Advice||You should/ought to revise your lessons|
|Logical conclusion||He should/ought to be very tired. He’s been working all day long.|
|had better||Advice||You’d better revise your lessons.|
Modal verbs are followed by an infinitive without “to”, also called the bare infinitive.
Uses of Shall:
- Shall I get a pizza for dinner tonight?
That bag looks heavy. Shall I carry it for you?
Will Rapid Decision
- I’m thirsty. I think I will buy a drink.
- That looks heavy. I will help you with it.
Instruction (asking for or giving)
- What shall I do with your mail when it arrives
- You shall be the first person to know.
Confirmation (statement of act)
- I shall meet you there at 7.
- Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.
- If you don’t stop, I will tell your mother.
Refusal won’t = will not
- She won’t listen to anything I say.
In all of the examples above, shall can be replaced by another modal verb.
Suggestion/Instructions — Should Offers — CanlCould Promises/Confirmation — Will
Uses of Should:
Advice or Suggestion
- Your hair is too long. You should get a haircut.
The situation likely in the present
- Mary should be at home now. Give her a call.
Likely in the future (Prediction)
- They should win tonight, they’re a better team.
Should + Have + Past participle
Meaning: The subject did not fulfill their obligation in the past or did not act responsibly.
- You should have given your boss the report yesterday when he asked for it.
Should + be + verb -ing
Meaning: The subject is not fulfilling their obligation now or is not acting sensibly.
- You should be wearing your seatbelt,
- We should be studying for the test right now.
Should vs. Ought To
Should can be replaced by ought to without change in meaning.
- You ought to study more. =
- You should study more.
Note: ought to sounds more formal than should and is used less frequently.
We use Shouldn’t to advise not to do something, usually because it is bad or wrong.
- You shouldn’t throw your litter onto the street.
- He shouldn’t play with those wires if he doesn’t know what he is doing.
- You shouldn’t work so much.
Mind Map for Modals
Can and could
- Can is used to express ability, request, permission or possibility.
- The negative of can is cannot or the contraction can’t.
Example Function I can ride a bicycle Here can expresses ability. Can you pass me the butter? Here can expresses requests. Can I use your pencil? Here can expresses permission. It is more polite to use ‘may’ instead of an Very bright light can hurt your eyes. Here can expresses possibility. I cannot/can’t make tea. Here cannot/can’t express negative ability or the absence of ability. You can’t leave early. Here can’t expresses a lack of permission.
Could has several functions:
- It functions as the past tense of can to express ability.
- It is used in place of can to express willingness in a formal situation.
- It replaces can and gives the phrase a more conditional tone.
- It suggests that something is a possibility.
The negative of could is could not or the contraction couldn’t.
|He could run a kilometer in 4 minutes when he was in college.||Here could express past ability|
|Could you help me finish the report?||Here could expresses requests more politely than ‘can’.|
|You could be an architect if you wanted to.||Here could expresses conditional ability.|
|We could help you if we had the time.||Here could expresses possibility.|
|She couldn’t lend me her pen because she was using it.||Here couldn’t express a lack of permission in the past.|
|We couldn’t leave as the programmed has started.||Here couldn’t expresses a negative possibility in the past.|
Could is used to express possibility, past ability, make suggestions and polite requests. Could is also used in conditional sentences as the conditional form of can.
Extreme rain could cause the river to flood the city. (Possibility)
Manjeet could skate skillfully when he was only three years old. (past ability)
We could see a film to go to a restaurant for a ‘meal. (suggestion)
Could I use your computer to check my email? (polite request)
We could go on the trip if I did not have to work this weekend. (condition)
We can use could to express present, past and future.
Most modal verbs behave quite irregularly in the past and the future. study the chart to learn how could is used in different contexts.
|Modal use||Positive form||Negative form|
|Possibility||1. Jaya could be the one who stole the money, (present)
2. Jaya could have been the one who stole the money, (past)
3. Jaya could go to jail for the crime, (future)
|1. Maya couldn’t be the one who stole the money, (present)
2. Maya couldn’t have been the one who stole the money, (past)
3. Maya couldn’t possibly go to jail for the crime, (future)
|Conditional of can||1. If I had more time, I could travel around the world, (present)
2. If I had a lot money, I could have traveled around the world, (past)
|1. Even if I had more time, I couldn’t travel around the world, (present)
2. Even if I had a lot of money, I couldn’t have traveled around the world, (past)
|Suggestion||1. No present form.
2. You could have spent Your vacation in Hawai. (past)}
3. You could spent your vacation in Hawai. (future)
|No negative forms|
|Past ability||I could run a kilometer is less than 6 minutes when I was young.
Note: could cannot be used in positive sentences to describe a one – time ability. (yesterday, I could lift the couch by myself incorrect)
|I couldn’t run a kilometer is less than 6 minutes when I was young.
Note: could can be used in negative sentences to describe a one – time ability, (yesterday, I couldn’t lift the couch by myself. – correct)
|Polite request||Could I have something to drink? Could I borrow your stapler?
Note: requests usually refer to the near future.
|Couldn’t he come with us?
Couldn’t you help me for just a little while?
Would is most commonly used to create conditional verb form. It also serves as the past form of the auxiliary verb will.
If he were an actor, he would be in adventure movies. (conditional)
I knew that she would be very successful in her career. (past of will)
When they first met, they would always have picnics on the beach. (requested action in the past).
Using would in present, past and future.
|Modal use||Positive form||Negative form|
|Conditional||1. If I were the prime minister, I would provide free education (present)
2. If I had been the prime minister, I would have provided free education. (Past)
3. If I were elected prime minister next year, I would provide free education, (future)
|1. If I were the prime minister, I would not raise taxes, (present)
2. If I had been the prime minister, I would not have raised taxes, (past)
3. If I were the prime minister, I would not sign the bill to raise taxes, (future)
|Past of will||1. I said I would help you.
2. He told me he would be here before 8 a.m.
|1. I said I wouldn’t help you.
2. He told me would not be here before 8 a.m.
|Repeated actions in the past||1. When I was in school, I would always go to a science camp.
2. When we were young, we would often have a night picnic at the beach.
|1. When I was a child, I wouldn’t go into the pool by myself.
2. When he was in his teens, he wouldn’t let anyone enter his room.
May and Might
May is used to express possibility.
- It may rain today.
- I may become a doctor.
The negative of may is may not. It is used to express negative possibility.
- We may not got to the concert.
- It may not rain tonight, after all.
May is also used to express permission or request. It is more polite than can.
- May I have a glass of water?
- May I barrow your eraser?
Might is used to express possibility. It differs from “may” in that the possibility it expresses is usually smaller.
The negative of might is might not.
- She might become an actress when she grows up, but I doubt it.
- He might not get the job, though he was the most qualified candidate.
Might is used as the past form of may of permission.
- He asked if he might borrow your bicycle.
- They asked if that might come late for the morning.
Might is also used to make very polite requests.
- Might I ask you a questions?
- Might I interrupt you for a moment?
Uses of Must: Obligation
- You must wear a seatbelt when you drive.
Deduction (certain something is true)
- Look at all that snow. It must be cold outside.
- Plants must have light and water to grow.
- We must get together for dinner soon.
Mustn’t = Prohibition
- You mustn’t use your phone while driving.
Must vs. Have to
Must expresses obligation imposed by the speaker while Have to expresses external obligations.
Teacher: You must complete this essay by Friday.
Student: We have to complete this essay by Friday.
It is more common to use Have to instead of Must in questions.
- Does he have to do the test?
We use Had to instead of Must in the past tense.
- I had to pay my speeding ticket yesterday.
See our chart about Mustn’t vs. Don’t have to
Modals Exercises Solved Examples for Class 8 CBSE
Fill in the blanks using must, mustn’t, don’t have to, should, shouldn’t, might, can, can’t!
(i) Rose and Ted _____________ be good players. They have won hundreds of cups!
(ii) You _____________ pay to use the library. It’s free.
(iii) I’m not sure where my wife is at the moment. She _____________ be at her dance class.
(iv) Jerry _____________ be working today. He never works on Sundays.
(v) You _____________ be 18 to see that film.
(vi) You _____________ hear this story. It’s very funny.
(vii) Dad _____________ go and see a doctor. His cough is getting worse all the time.
(viii) You don’t have to shout. I _____________ hear you very well.
(ix) It _____________ be him. I saw him a week ago, and he didn’t look like that.
(x) You look pretty tired. I think you _____________ go to bed early tonight.
(xi) Let me look. I. _____________ be able to help you.
(xii) “Children, you _____________ cross the street if the lights are red!”
(xiii) You _____________ sit so near the TV. It’s bad for your eyes.
(xiv) I’m sorry but I _____________ give you a lift because my car is broken.
(XV) I _____________ stop and talk to you now. I have to get to the library.
(ii) don’t have to
Match 1 – 10 to a – j.
|1.||It is a very good film.||a.||You needn’t get up early.|
|2.||He is not sure now.||b.||You don’t have to get up early|
|3.||She is so different.||c.||We can’t miss it.|
|4.||It is the last train.||d.||We mustn’t miss it|
|5.||It’s Sunday today.||e.||You can be her sister.|
|6.||This is not free of charge.||f.||You can’t be her sister|
|7.||I’ll prepare breakfast myself.||g.||I have to buy a ticket.|
|8.||The coach leaves tonight and it takes twelve hours to get here.||h.||I must buy a ticket.|
|9.||Your address is the same.||i.||He may come tomorrow.|
|10.||We have plenty of time.||j.||He must come tomorrow|
Modals Exercises Practice Examples for Class 8 CBSE
Fill in the blanks using Must, can’t, may, might, could, should, shouldn’t and the Past Form of them!
(i) Sally looks worried. She __________ a problem with something. (Have)
(ii) Bob __________ at school because I haven’t seen him all day. (Be)
(iii) I. __________ you the money. Why didn’t you ask me. (Lend)
(iv) Mr Travis hasn’t come to work yet. He has never been late for work. He __________ the bus. (Miss)
(v) She knew everything about on plans She __________ to our conversation. (Listen)
(vi) A: will you come to my birthday party tomorrow afternoon?
B: I’m sorry but I __________ because I have to look after my sister. (Come)
(vii) Timmy is a very good boy. He isn’t naughty, so he __________ that window. Somebody else __________ it (Break 2x)
(viii) The street is wet this morning. I’m not sure but it __________ last night (Rain)
(ix) She __________ like an angel I when she was a child (Sing)
(x) A: I talked to your science teacher yesterday
B: You __________ to her because she wasn’t at school yesterday. (Talk)