IELTS grammar. Lesson 12: Modal verbs


Verbs can, could, may, might, will, would, must, shall, should, ought to are called modal verbs.

They are different from normal verbs:

1. We do not add 's' to them in yhe third person singular. (She can do it. He might join us today)

2. We make questions with them by using inversion. (He could do there. Could he go there?)

3. Modal verbs are always followed by the infinitive of another verb without 'to'.

Modal verbs can be used to:

a) Talk about something we're sure/unsure of. (It can't be this expensive! It must be very cold outside today)

b) Talk about our abilities or skills. (I can't swim. She can play basketball very well)

c) Give advice or say if something is necessary/unnecessary. (We must eat healthy food. He should stop smoking)

d) Ask for the permission. (May I borrow your pen, please?)

e) Talk about habits or thing we usually do/did. (When we were kids, we would always play football during summer)

Practice. Complete sentences using a correct modal verb:

  1. My mom told me that I visit my friends more often.
  2. I need your workbook. you give it to me for a minute?
  3. You have done it. I've told you several times that it's not a good decision.
  4. Her flight took her 17 hours. She be tired now.
  5. I speak Italian because I learnt it in school?
  6. You take your umbrella with you. It will probably rain today.
  7. Call the ambulance! He die, if he won't be treated by the doctors as soon as possible.
  8. I lost my bag. I have left it in the cafe yesterday. There is no other explanation.
  9. I believe she did this to you!
  10. Drivers stop when the red lights flash.