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How to use modal verbs

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Many people learning English find modal verbs confusing, especially their specific meanings. Here's a basic introduction to some modal verbs with examples.


Can is used in three ways. It is used to show that something is possible:

"You can come to the party if you want."

Can is also used when making a request or when asking for permission:

"Can I leave the office early today?"

Use can to show an ability:

"I can speak English."

should / ought to

Give advice and talk about a duty using should and ought to.

"I think you should be more careful about what you eat."

"I ought to cut the grass while it's sunny."

must / have to

Must and have to are both strong words and have a similar meaning. This is the difference in use:


Must shows an obligation (something that we have no choice about). It usually refers to a personal obligation - something we decide.

"I must remember to call my sister tonight."

have to

Have to is also an obligation, but it is an obligation that comes from someone else, which we must follow.

"I have to return these books to the library. They are due back today."

must not (mustn't)

must not is also used for something that is prohibited (not allowed)

"I mustn't wear jeans to work."

Can you think of any example sentences? Write at least three sentences...Now!

Using 'have' and 'has'


i must speak English

The best way to be fluent in English is speaking. So i must practise it.

I have to ask her to come to the class.

you shouldn't be late.

I must improve my English I

I must improve my English

I ought to have taken the dog out for a walk.

I have to go and watch tv.

I can use this site . I must

I can use this site .

I must send some messages now.

She has to buy a present for her husband's birthday.Does she have to?

He mustn't know what a present is, it is surprise.

Modal verbs story

I want to describe a funny story about pouring rains in Moscow.
I was om my way back home, when I noted that it was going to rain hard. In fact, it rained already, and every second the rain was getting harder.

I could wait near the Metro station - at least I would have a shelter there. Instead, I got the wrong bus - I have to walk about 10 minutes from the nearest stop of that bus to my home. Now it was raining very-very hard. Umbrellas were no good. In the minute you ought to be wet from head to feet - because of rain and wind.

I got out of the bus - it was a bad situation. Now the water on the ground was up to my feet. I should wait at the bus stop - it was probably the last chance to have at least some parts of my shirt dry. But always during the rain you had a strange force that makes you hurry home. I opened my umbrella and walked hurriedly.

There was no use of umbrella. I got wet in first 30 seconds. The water ran angrily along the pavement, so my feet were covered by water very quickly. Now I had a feeling that there is no place that I had to save (or could save) from water.

But something made me start. It was thunder and lightning. So I ran home as fast as I could. It was one of the most exciting impressions of that summer some years ago...

Modal verbs review.

1) I can speak two languages fluently.
2) Can (Could) I ask you a personal question?
3) I can have a lesson a day at the EC English site. Smile
4) I should remember three cases when "can" is used.
5) I ought to review this lesson after a while.
6) I must do my work carefully.
7) I have to come at work at 9 o'clock/
8) I mustn't play games at work.
9) I don't have to wear formal clothes to work. Smile I really don't have to.

Thank you, Chris. Have a nice day.

nice lesson :)

Can i ask for a help?

I can't speak English well.

I ought to improve my English.

I must practce my Englsh to make my own progress.

I have to visit this website everyday.

thanks alot this lesson refresh my information.Smile

Have... can..

Can I use your phone, please?
I must call my mother to tell here that I'm late.

You have to call her? c'mon,, is not that late!

i can paly football. can i

i can paly football.
can i take your books,please.
you can come with us if you want.

you should be more careful about your wieght.
i ought to clean my room to day.

i must take my medicine to night.

i must not leave my car open.


Can you give me your phone number.
You can stay home today.

I think you should leave know.
I ought to wash the dishes before mom comes home from work.

I must go to school today.
I have to pick up my brother from kindergarten.Its already 4 o'clock.

I mustn't eat after 6PM.

Modal Verbs.

1. You can Skype with me if you want.
2. Can I smoke here.
3. I can skate rollers .
4. I should walk more.
5. They ought to prepare their homework.
6. I must listen to English speech more often to understand what I am said.
7. I have to pay for my credit once a month.
8. Women mustn't attend Russian church without long skirt and shawl.

three sentences

I can start at 5 o'clock.
I think you ought to go to the doctor.
The children must be home in time.

three sentences

I can start at 5 o'clock.
I think you ought to go to the doctor.
The children must be home in time.