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Modal Verbs

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Modal verbs are often difficult to learn because they can be used in a variety of situations. They are used with other verbs to express ability, obligation, possibility, and permission.

Let's take a look at some uses.


Can is used with ability ("I can speak English") and possibility ("I can come too").

Could do

Use could do when it is possible for someone to do something.

Should do

Use should to give advice or make recommendations. We also use it for obligations.

Might do

Use might to make suggestions, requests and express possibility.

Must do

Use must when we have an obligation to do something; it's absolutely necessary and usually something we agree with.

Have to

Similar to must, have to shows a strong obligation. It is used when we have no choice in the situation. e.g. "My boss told me I have to work on Saturday".


Would can be used in conditional sentences: "If I had more free time, I would travel." We also use would like we use used to to talk about past events: "Every winter she would go skiing."

Choose the correct modal verbs to complete these sentences:

  • 1 - To drink beer in a British pub, you ___ be 18 years old.

  • 2 - If you are bored when driving, you ___ listen to some music.

  • 3 - She's very musical. She ___ play 4 instruements.

  • 4 - I ___ often go to the theatre when I lived in London.

  • 5 - You ___ wear a seatbelt when driving. It's the law.

  • 6 - My parents said I ___ to be home at 9pm.

  • 7 - You ___ eat too much fast-food, it's not good for you.

  • 8 - There are dark clouds overhead. It ___ rain tomorrow.

  • 9 - If I were you, I ___ say sorry.

  • 10 - I think she ___ be late.