Modal Verbs

0
560
Modal Verbs
Modal Verbs

CHAPTER 10.  MODAL VERBS

There are nine modal verbs in English: can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, and would. Two of these, will and would, have already been discussed in detail.

1. Formation of the modal conjugations

All of the modal verbs are used as auxiliaries, and all of them form conjugations in the same way. Thus, the other modal auxiliaries form conjugations in the same way as will and would. For instance, the conjugation of the modal auxiliary could with the verb to work is formed as follows:

Conjugations of the modal auxiliary Could with the verb To Work
 

Simple Continuous
  I could work   I could be working
  you could work   you could be working
  he could work   he could be working
  she could work   she could be working
  it could work   it could be working
  we could work   we could be working
  they could work   they could be working
Perfect Perfect Continuous
  I could have worked   I could have been working
  you could have worked   you could have been working
  he could have worked   he could have been working
  she could have worked   she could have been working
  it could have worked   it could have been working
  we could have worked   we could have been working
  they could have worked   they could have been working

The formation of conjugations using the modal auxiliaries can be summarized as follows:

Conjugation Auxiliary Verb Form
  Simple   modal auxiliary   bare infinitive
  Continuous   modal auxiliary + be   present participle
  Perfect   modal auxiliary + have   past participle
  Perfect Continuous   modal auxiliary + have been   present participle

Verbs in the Simple conjugation with a modal auxiliary generally refer to present or future time; whereas verbs in the Perfect conjugation with a modal auxiliary generally refer to past time.

Verbs in the Continuous conjugation with a modal auxiliary generally refer to continuous, ongoing actions in present or future time; whereas verbs in the Perfect Continuous conjugation with a modal auxiliary generally refer to continuous, ongoing actions in past time.

The word order for questions and negative statements in the conjugations with the modal auxiliaries is similar to that in other English conjugations.

a. Questions
To form a question, the first auxiliary is placed before the subject. For example:

Affirmative Statement Question
  She can work.   Can she work?
  He would be working.   Would he be working?
  They should have worked.   Should they have worked?
  I could have been working.   Could I have been working?

See Exercise 1.

b. Negative statements
To form a negative statement, the word not is placed after the first auxiliary. It should be noted that the auxiliary can, followed by not, is written as a single word. For example:

Affirmative Statement Negative Statement
  She can work.   She cannot work.
  He would be working.   He would not be working.
  They should have worked.   They should not have worked.
  I could have been working.   I could not have been working.

See Exercise 2.

In spoken English, the following contractions may be used:

Without Contractions With Contractions
  cannot   can’t
  could not   couldn’t
  might not   mightn’t
  must not   mustn’t
  shall not   shan’t
  should not   shouldn’t
  will not   won’t
  would not   wouldn’t

However, it should be noted that the contractions mightn’t and shan’t are rarely used in modern American English.

c. Negative questions
To form a negative question, the first auxiliary is placed before the subject, and the word not is placed after the subject. However, when contractions are used, the contracted form of not follows immediately after the auxiliary. For example:

Without Contractions With Contractions
  Can she not work?   Can’t she work?
  Would he not be working?   Wouldn’t he be working?
  Should they not have worked?   Shouldn’t they have worked?
  Could I not have been working?   Couldn’t I have been working?

See Exercise 3.

d. Tag questions
Tag questions are formed using the first auxiliary. In the following examples, the negative tag questions are underlined.

Affirmative Statement Affirmative Statement with Tag Question
  She can work.   She can work, can’t she?
  He would be working.   He would be working, wouldn’t he?
  They should have worked.   They should have worked, shouldn’t they?
  I could have been working.   I could have been working, couldn’t I?
If you find any mistake in the questions or need an explanation for the correct answer, please let us know by leaving a comment below. We will immediately correct the mistake or try to explain the answer as much as possible.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here