This note explains about the verb modals .
You may take these books home.
They must attend tomorrow's meeting.
You should regularly go for a morning walk.
May I use your pencil, please?
In these sentences, the parts of the verb are in bold letters which are called modal. They are so called because they help to express the mood or attitude of the speaker. A verb used to express the mood or attitude of a speaker is called a modal.
May, can and could are used to suggest permission. Can is informal. May is polite. Could is more polite than may.The proper modalverb to be used depends upon persons involved and the situation.e.g.
May I go to the library, Madam?
Can I use your book, Ram?
Sir, could you grant me two days' leave?
The idea of ability is expressed by can. In this sense, can means: be able to, be capable of, know how to. Ability in the past is expressed by could can and could also suggest opportunity.e.g.
Upendra can keep wickets.
Upendra could keep wickets.
Upendra was able to keep wickets.
May suggest a good possibility:
Don't worry. Your purse may be in your bag.
Might suggest a weak possibility and could a still weaker possibility. Could also expresses a very weak possibility in the future. e.g.
I am glad she could come yesterday. ( ability in the past )
She could come tomorrow. (a very weak possibility in the future)
Should is used to express suggestion or advice :
Should we start packing the luggage? (suggestion)
You should try to reduce your weight. (advice)
Ought to is a little stronger than should. It suggests that something is the right thing to do. It also conveys a sense of duty.
You ought to take care of your old parents. (moral duty)
Will and shall are used to suggest promise. Normally we use shall with only first personsubjects and will with other persons. e.g.
We will attend your brother's marriage. ( It is our promise )
You shall get a new bat on your birthday. ( It is my promise )
Will and shall in their normal usage suggest intention or willingness:
I shall ring you up in the evening. ( intention )
They will gladly cooperate. ( willingness )
Would you buy me some woollens, please? ( polite request )
Could you switch on the fan? ( polite request, uncertain )
Can I have some tea? (informal request)
Won't you have something to eat? (Have something to eat)
I am getting late. I must take a taxi. (necessity)
In the army, you have to clean your shoes yourself. (compulsion)
I have got to finish this work by evening.(necessity/compulsion)
Must suggests the desire of the speaker. Have to suggestexternal compulsion:
You must pay the dues on time.
In the army, you have to clean your shoes yourself.
Needn't suggests that there is no necessity or compulsion:
He needn'tgo to the doctor.
You needn't get up so early.
Cars must not be parked in front of the gate. (It is prohibited to park cars in front of the gate.)
You ought not to make fun of an old man. (As a duty, you should not make fun of an old man.)
May is normally used to express a wish:
May you live long!
May God bless you with a son.
I daren't climb that tall tree.
The child dared not complain
Dare you challenge him to fight? No, I daren't.
In the above sentences, dare has been used as a modal verb and it means not to be afraid to do something.
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