The causative

Causative verbs, as the name suggests, are used when we want to talk about somebody causing something to take place but not actually performing the action. In sentences including causative verbs, the subject does not perform the action. Compare the causative to active and passive sentences: Example Meaning Type of sentence I had my car … Read more

Expressing ability – future and past

  Positive Modal Past Future 1a can could cannot use can use rule 2a 2a to be able to was/were able to will be able to 3a to know how to knew how to will know how to   Negative Modal Past Future 1b cannot could not cannot use can use rule 2b 2b to … Read more

Expressing ability

Usage Modal Verb Example Have the ability to do something (positive) can / to be able to Many people can speak more than one language. Many mothers are able to manage a family and a full time job. Have the knowledge which gives the ability to do something (positive) know how to Most children know … Read more

Certainty and deduction – future and past

  Positive Modal Past Future 1a will will/would have will be 2a must must have – 3a should should have should be 4a ought to ought to have ought to be 5a might might have might be 6a could could have could be 7a may may have may be   Negative Modal Past Future 1b … Read more

Certainty and deduction

Examples of modals expressing certainty and deduction Usage Modal Verb Example Certainty (positive) Will Crime will increase unless stricter penalties are introduced. Highly likely (positive) Must It must be terrible for people who have to spend time in prison for crimes they did not commit. Likely (positive) Should/ ought to Stricter penalties should/ought to reduce … Read more

Obligation and freedom to act – future and past

Positive Modal Past Future 1a Must Cannot use must Use rule 2a Cannot use must Use rule 2a 2a Have to had to will have to 3a Need to Needed to will need to 4a Should Should have should 5a Ought to Ought to have ought to 6a be allowed to were allowed to will … Read more

Obligation and freedom to act

Usage Modal Verb Example No choice – you have to do this Must / have to As citizens we must obey the laws of the country in which we live. No choice – you cannot do this Must not /not be allowed to / cannot Citizens must not break the laws of the society in … Read more