Posted by: Idioma Extra | August 3, 2011

Thursday Tidbit – Do you know your modals?

Do you know your modals?

Modals are an important part of English grammar. They allow you to express many different meanings in many different contexts. For example:

You swim.

You can swim. (ability)

You should swim. (recommendation)

You would swim. (hypothetical)

You must swim. (obligation)

You may swim. (possibility)

You might swim. (possibility)

Modal verbs never change in the third person. Also, the main verb following the modal verb is always in the base form and never changes for third person, talking about the past, etc.

Check Yourself

Complete the following sentence with the correct modal depending on the context of the sentence. Then write the correct context next to the sentence in the space provided.

Example: She _________ go to the doctor immediately. It is very important.

               She _must__ go to the doctor immediately. It is very important. _obligation__

1. If I go to the beach, I _________ surf a little, but I’m not sure. ________________

2. You are in pretty good shape, but you _____________ try to exercise regularly. That’s my  opinion at least. ________________

3. If I won the lottery, I _____________ buy a huge house. ___________________

4. I don’t need glasses. I ___________ see perfectly. ________________

5. The presentation is at 5pm today. I _______________ finish preparing it before then. _____________

6. I _______________ take a vacation at the end of the year if I have enough money. ______________

7. She ______________ lose weight if she exercised more. ___________________

8. A cheetah ______________ run very fast. __________________

9. I feel a little dizzy. I _____________ rest for a little while. __________________

10. Long hair is not permitted in the military. You _____________ cut your hair. _____________

Answers to last week’s Check Yourself

1. The police officer __almost___ arrested the thief, but he got away.

2. __Most__ people think there is an afterlife.

3. I __mostly_ run in the park on weekends.

4. We have to go! It is __almost__ 10am!

5. The shirt is ___mostly_ made of cotton.

6. The repairman said he is _almost__ finished. Just a couple more things remain.

7. __Most___ countries in the world have a McDonalds.

8. Today I exercised for ___almost__ an hour! But not quite.

9. We __mostly_ do our homework at night.

10. They ___almost__ passed the course, but they had too many absences.


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