TOEIC Grammar Basics - What is a modal?

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,093 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited August 2016 in Grammar

What is a modal?

A modal is a special type of verb. Modals are used to express obligation, possibility, and are used in polite forms of questions. Look at the modals in the sentences below:

He should accept his new position.
We must produce more in order to meet our orders.
Paul can't come to today's meeting.
You had better finish your report on time.
Would you like another coffee?

The words shouldmustcan't, and had better are all modals. Modals are only found in the present and past tense, and are not conjugated. They cannot be combined, either, for example, will can does not exist, you must use will be able to


presentpast
shallshould
willwould
cancould
maymight
And also:

must, had better and ought to.

For more information about can and could, click here.

Identify the modals in the following sentences. 

Sarah might take a week off in January.
They could be interested - why don't you ask them?
I know I ought to take my lunch breaks. I just can't find the time.
You should improve your computer skills, and you might get a promotion.

Click below for the correct answers:

Sarah might take a week off in January.
They could be interested - why don't you ask them?
I know I ought to take my lunch breaks. I just can't find the time.
You should improve your computer skills, and you might get a promotion.


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