Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Unit 4 English - Modal and phrasal modals

Modals and phrasal modals

Could is used to say that someone was able to do something in general at any time:

She could read music by the time she was three.

Was/were able to is used to indicate someone managed to do something once:

He was able to finish the race in under an hour.

May and can  are often used to give permission.  There is no past form of may for giving permission.

You may use your dictionaries to complete this exercise.
You may / You're allowed to park here after 7 pm

Must is used to express an obligation or sense of urgency.  Have to is more commonly used to express necessity, especially when spekain in the past tense.

It's not safe here.  Everyone must leave the building immediately.
At the lecture last night, I had to show my identification card to enter the building.

Should have is used to show regret about the past:
I should've gone to Hawaii when I had the chance.

Additional Resources

Great Powerpoint Presentation on Modals and phrasal modals


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