#GrammarSeries – Learn more about modal auxiliary verbs

Medieval (2)

Hey Sparkle Writers and Grammar enthisiats. How has your grammar game been since our last grammar post? 

Well let’s get to today’s topic. What’s a modal auxiliary verb? Ever heard of it before or does it sound like big grammar to you? 

A modal auxiliary verb that is used to express: ability, possibility, permission or obligation. Modal phrases (or semi-modals) are used to express the same things as modals, but are a combination of auxiliary verbs and the preposition to. The modals and semi-modals in English are:

  1. Can/could/be able to
  2. May/might
  3. Shall/should
  4. Must/have to
  5. Will/would

You must have seen them before. Now let’s tell you what each modal is used for.

Modal Meaning Example
can to express ability He can speak a little Frnch.
can to request permission Can I open the window?
may to express possibility I may be home late.
may to request permission May I drive your car, please?
must to express obligation I must go now.
must to express strong belief She must be over 40 years old.
should to give advice You should change your shoes.
would to request or offer Would you like a bowl of icecream?
would in if-sentences

If you’ve been struggling to understand modal auxiliary verbs we hope this has helped. 

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