Modal expressions are not modal verbs. But they can imply the same concept as modal verbs do. These expressions are used to indicate a special mood. Read more.
What Are Modal Expressions?
Modal expressions are not expressions that are made of modals. They are used to indicate probability, possibility, commands, etc. In this article, we will learn the expressions. First, you have become acquainted with the expressions through a short list.
- be about
- be bound
- be due
- be likely
- wish/if only
- as if/as though
'be about' is used to:
- to express events that happen in immediate future
- arranged actions
- to express we are ready to do something
- to express we are planning to do something
Using 'Be About' in a Sentence
In the expression 'be about,' the verb 'be' shows that we need (am, is are) in present form. The important point to consider is that 'be about' is followed by a 'to infinitive.' Check these examples out:
Thor and hulk
Using 'Be About' in Past Tense
When it comes to the past tense, the structure of the expression stays the same as the structure in the present tense unless you are supposed to use the past tense of the verb 'be' (was, were). Take a look at the examples:
The expressions with bound are used to indicate levels possibilities. Expressions with bound are used to express:
It is five p.m. in Turkey now, I'll
- high possibility
Using Bound to Express Certainty
This structure is considered old-fashioned and it is no longer used in modern English. The expression 'be bound' can follow the modal verb 'will' to indicate we are sure that something we have just said is true. Check these examples out:
The weather is cold. I
She is kind. I
Using Bound to Express High Possibility
The expression 'be bound,' can be followed by a 'to-infinitive' to express there is a high possibility for you to do something. Here are the examples:
Using 'Bound' to Express Obligation
The expression 'be bound' can be followed by (by + objective pronoun/noun/noun phrase + to-infinitive) to indicate that you actually have not much choice. In this case, you have to do the action whether you like it or not, because it is usually supported by rules and laws. These examples might help you understand the concept:
Using 'Be bound' in the Past Tense
The existence of the verb be in this structure makes it easy to make it past. The only thing to do is to use the past tense of the verb be (was, were). Learn them through the examples:
Nate and Ian
The expressions made by due are different in their structure. So let us explain them one by one:
The expression 'be due' is used to express an event that is planned or expected to happen at a certain time. Here are the examples:
Be Due for
The expression 'be due for' is used when one is expecting to get or receive something because they deserve it. Check these examples out for more clarification:
Using 'Due' in a Sentence
The expression 'be due' is used either before (to-infinitive) or (for + noun/noun phrase). Here is an example that can be useful:
Using 'Due' in the Past Tense
In expressions with 'due,' there is a 'to be' verb that can change the tense of the sentence. So using the 'to be' verb in the past tense changes the tense of the sentence to the past tense. Check these examples out:
The expression 'to be likely' is used to express events that are probably going to happen in the future. In the examples, you can understand the usage of this expression better:
Using 'Be likely' in a Sentence
The expression 'be likely' can be followed by a (to-infinitive) to express something is probable to happen. This expression can also be followed by a (that-clause) with the same meaning. Check out the examples:
It is important to know that the expression 'to be likely' cannot be followed by a that-clause unless the subject of the sentence is the pronoun 'it.' In other words, this is a fixed expression. For example:
There are two different ways to make a negative sentence with be likely. We can either add the term 'not' to the 'to be' verb or use 'unlikely' instead of 'likely.'* Take a look at the examples:
Using 'Be Likely' in the Past Tense
The verb 'to be' is used in the past tense form to make it possible to use 'be likely' in the past tense. For example:
The homeless dogs
The verb 'be' can be used in a special structure and it is considered an expression. In this case, it is used to express:
- official arrangements
- official orders
- that should be done things
- prohibition (only in the negative)
Take a look at these examples:
Using 'Be' as an Expression in Sentences
The verb be is used before a 'to-infinitive' to express different intentions. Remember to use this structure for prohibiting, you need to use it in the negative form which is to add the term 'not' to the 'to be' verb. Here are the examples:
Using 'Be' in the Past Tense
Using the past tense of the verb 'be' followed by a to-infinitive or to-perfect infinitive makes a sentence in the past tense. Check these examples:
The important point to keep in mind is that using a perfect infinitive after 'be to' refers to an event that did not happen or was canceled. Compare these two examples:
She planned to do it and did it finally.
Here, she could not give the lecture.
'Wish' and 'If Only'
We can use the phrases 'wish' and 'if only' as an expression to express:
- future desire for yourself or others
- an impossible desire
Using 'Wish' to Express Future Desire
You usually use the fixed expression 'wish somebody,' to express a future desire that you have for someone else. The verb wish can also be followed by a 'to-infinitive' to express a desire that somebody has for himself or herself. For example:
You can use wish and if only with modal verbs 'would' and 'could' to express what you believe is impossible in the present or past tense.
Using 'Wish' and 'If Only' to Express an Impossible Desire
'Wish' and 'if only' are followed with a past tense to express an impossible or unlikely desire in the present. Check the examples out:
Using 'Wish' and 'If Only' to Express Regret
'Wish' and 'if only' are followed by a past perfect tense to express a past regret. It means that you wish a situation could have changed but it cannot.
Using 'Wish' and 'If Only' to Express Annoyance
'Wish' is followed by the negative form of the verb 'would' to express we are annoyed about something that someone does or does not.
'As if' and 'as Though'
We use 'as though' or 'as if' to give an example of one particular concept but we know that it is not the exact explanation. For example:
It was a round object
His heart was cold and hard
'As if' and 'as though' are used to:
- emphasize that something is not true or important
- make comparisons
- describe situations that may not be true but they are likely
- express that you do not believe something is possible (only as if)
Look at the examples:
She didn't answer my calls
"Are you married?" "
Using 'as If' and 'as Though' In a Sentence
'As though' and 'as if' are followed by a non-finite clause or prepositional phrase. 'as though' and 'as if' can be used before independent clauses as well.
Another point to keep in mind, is that you can use 'as if' alone as a fixed expression to show surprise in informal style.
She moved her wrist
'To punch' makes a non-finite clause in this example.
"Did he fire him?" "
Would Rather and Would Sooner
'Would rather' and 'would sooner' are used when you prefer one thing to another. Would sooner and would rather mean the same however using would rather is more common.
Using Would Rather and Would Sooner in a Sentence
There are two constructions when it comes to 'would sooner' and 'would rather.'
When the subjects in both clauses are the same, they are followed by a bare infinitive. When the subjects in the clauses are different the second clause following 'would rather' and 'would sooner' is in past tense however the meaning remains in the present tense.
Remember when the subject is different it has to be placed as the subject of the clause.
Remember, you are not allowed to use to-infinitive or verb+ing after 'would sooner' and 'would rather.' Check out these examples:
more on it.")
In sentences with the same subjects, the term 'not' is added to 'would rather' or 'would sooner' followed by the bare infinitive. In sentences with different subjects, the term 'not' is added to the verb of the second clause. Here are the examples:
Using Would Rather and Would Sooner in the Past Tense
You can use 'have + past participle' (present perfect) after 'would rather' and 'would sooner' to talk about things that you preferred to be done in the past tense when the subjects are the same. But whenever the subjects are different, you have to use 'had + past participle' (past perfect) to talk about the past. For example:
Modal verbs are used to express concepts such as possibility, ability, permission, assumption, etc. You need to know that modal expressions are not made of modal verbs, instead, they are used to express the same concepts as modal verbs do. Here are the most important expressions on the list:
- be about
- be likely
- be bound
- be due
- wish/if only
- as if/as though
- What Are Modal Expressions?
- Be About
- Using 'Be About' in a Sentence
- Using 'Be About' in Past Tense
- Using 'Be bound' in the Past Tense
- Using 'Due' in a Sentence
- Using 'Due' in the Past Tense
- Using 'Be likely' in a Sentence
- Negative Forms
- Using 'Be Likely' in the Past Tense
- Using 'Be' as an Expression in Sentences
- Using 'Be' in the Past Tense
- 'As if' and 'as Though'
- Using 'as If' and 'as Though' In a Sentence
- Would Rather and Would Sooner
- Using Would Rather and Would Sooner in a Sentence
- Using Would Rather and Would Sooner in the Past Tense