English Modals

There are many modal verbs in English. These modals cannot be the only verb in a sentence because they are always used to help some other verb. That is why modals are called “helping verbs” or “auxiliary verbs.”

Here are some common modal verbs:  can, can’t, cannot, could, couldn’t, might not, must, ought to, should, should not, will, won’t, would, and wouldn’t. There are many more!

Modal verbs are often used to express an opinion or feeling about something or someone. Some examples:

  • She must study English today. The modal verb “must” is used with the primary verb “study” to express an opinion.
  • Carlos — you shouldn’t drive so fast! The modal “shouldn’t” is used with the verb “drive” to encourage Carlos to change the way he drives.
  • We ought to go to the park. Say this to your friends if you want to go to the park!

Modal verbs never change form like ordinary English verbs such as live, play, work, etc.  Ordinary English verbs have the following 5 forms:

  1. present tense form
  2. past tense form
  3. infinitive form (to live, to play, to work)
  4. present participle form (living, playing, working)
  5. past participle form (lived, played, worked)

Remember that modal verbs never change form like ordinary English verbs. For more information about modals as well as helpful exercises, go to www.perfect-english-grammar.com/modal-verbs.html.

I created a simple test on the English modals here at fotopala.com/english-modals-test. The two possible answers for each question on the test are “That’s good English” and “Wrong!” In addition to testing you on modals, you must also find grammar mistakes, spelling errors and missing words. Feel free to share this link with all your friends, and I hope that this test helps you improve your English.