Modal verbs examples and meaning
Modal verbs add more meaning to the main verb.
I might go to the cinema later. (adds possibility)
There is no need to conjugate the third person of a modal verb.
He might go to the cinema later. (
Most common modal verbs
We use will in the following situations:
I will do the washing later.
I will marry you.
I will help you.
I will buy some milk.
We will use robots more in the future.
Liverpool will be champions this year.
As you can see, will is usually used for future situations.
I would go to Bali if I had the money.
I would have felt better if I hadn’t eaten all that chocolate.
Regular events in the past(used to)
I would play football for hours when I was a child.
I would go to the seaside every summer.
Reported speech future
Jane said she would meet her mother.
He said he would write the report.
A good idea/advice
You should go to the doctor.
You should see that movie.
When something is not right
They should be here by now.
The screw should be here somewhere.
I have done everything so it should work.
The train should arrive in 5 hours.
You must practice speaking English.
You must clean your house.
You have been walking all day. You must be tired.
It is very hot in here. You must be thirsty.
I have to wear glasses to read the newspaper.
I have to go to work every day.
I may go to church this Sunday.
I may be late this evening.
Ask for permission(Polite)
May I use the bathroom?
May I have some milk?
I might go to church this Sunday.
I might be late this evening.
We can eat ice cream after dinner.
We can have a dog next year.
I can speak four languages.
I can play the guitar.
Can I use the bathroom?
Can I go visit Thailand now?
Can I help you with your homework?
Can I do anything to help you?
We could go for a walk after dinner.
We could spend that money on a new dishwasher.
Ability in the past
I could play the piano when I was a child.
You could buy a lot with 1 pound when I was a child.
Could you pass me the water?
Negative modal verbs
Some negative modal verbs do not have a direct opposite meaning.
Opposite of Must. It is necessary that you do not do that.
You mustn’t walk on the grass.
You mustn’t smoke in here.
Don’t have to
You do not need to, but you can if you want.
You don’t have to do your homework. (but you can if you want)
You don’t have to study grammar.(but it helps if you do)
Less common modal verbs
I‘d better go home before it starts raining.
I had better not buy that coat.
Shall I help you with your coat?
Shall I make you a cup of tea?
Shall we go?
You ought to know better!
$50 dollars ought to be enough.
You needn’t do your homework.