What Are 'Modals'?
'Modals' (also called modal verbs or modal auxiliary verbs) are special verbs that follow the main verb and modify its meaning and function in a sentence. Modals serve a wide variety of communicative functions, such as expressing probability, ability, obligation, willingness, and habits, as well as giving advice and permission.
Modal Verbs in English
The following is a list of modal verbs in English:
It's important to note that modal verbs do not have a tense division like regular verbs. This means that some modal verbs can be used in both past and present forms.
General Rules of Modal Verbs
Modal verbs only have one form, which is the base form of the verb, and they do not change to indicate tense, aspect, or agreement with the subject. This means that modal verbs are not affected by the rules of adding -s, -ing, or -ed, which are used for conjugating main verbs in English. Pay attention to the examples:
swim in this pool.')
ride at dawn.')
Can They Stand Alone?
Modal verbs do not function as the main verb of a sentence, and they require another verb to complete the meaning of a sentence. The rule for using modal verbs is to add the base form of the main verb after the modal verb to create a complete verb phrase. For example:
Without the main verb the sentence doesn't make sense: 'I might to my house, if doesn't rain'.
To create the negative form of a modal verb, you can simply add 'not' after the modal verb.
If I were you I
Sometimes contracting negative modal verbs leads to a change in the overall appearance of the verb. For example:
Here in this example, 'won't' is the contracted form of 'will not'.
The modal verb 'can', has two negative forms, one is can not and the other is cannot which is used as a single term in formal writings. However, the only correct contracted form is can't.
Researchers must do more to ensure that human cells
However, the use of shan't, which is the contracted form of 'shall not is not common in informal and daily spoken English.
When forming a question using a modal verb, the modal verb is placed at the beginning of the sentence.
In wh- questions, an interrogative word such as 'what', 'where', 'when', 'why', 'who', or 'how' is placed at the beginning of the sentence followed by the modal verb and the subject. Pay attention to the examples:
Forming Tag Questions
Modal verbs can also appear in tag questions. Tag questions using modal verbs are formed without the main verb being expressed, such as "Can he?" or "Would they?"
In general, if the main sentence is affirmative, the modal in the tag question must be negative, and if the main sentence is negative, the tag question must be affirmative. Take a look at the examples:
He can speak Italian,
Not 'He can speak Italian,
They wouldn't follow us,
You cannot be more patient,
I shouldn't call him,
Punctuation in Tag Questions
There must be a comma before tag questions.
You won't ever leave me, will you?
Jake should start practicing for the big match, shouldn't he?
Are Modal Verbs Different from Auxiliary Verbs?
Modals are a special kind of auxiliary verbs. That is why they are also called modal auxiliary verbs.
|can indicate tense/voice
|can be conjugated
|can be inverted/negative
|can be used more than once
'Will' and 'have' are auxiliary verbs. So it is possible to have more than one auxiliary verb in a sentence.
When a sentence contains both auxiliary verbs and modal verbs, the modal is used for negation and interrogation. Look:
Modal verbs precede the main verb to give more information about the function of a verb. These verbs are used to express probability, possibility, ability, obligation, advice, permission, prohibition, lack of necessity, habits by using the following words as modal verbs: