Modal Verb Types

Modal verbs are similar to auxiliary verbs and are used in the positive, question and negative forms. Pure modal verbs are used in place of auxiliary verbs such as ‘do’, ‘did’ or ‘have’. Here are a few examples:

Can you play volleyball?
He shouldn’t go outside today.
I must leave soon to catch the train.
May I come with you?

However, there are many forms that are used in a similar manner to the modals and should be learned together with the basic modal verbs. These include:

have to / need to / had better / be able to / ought to

Here are explanations of each modal verb and the forms that are similar in usage. Explanations are divided into how the modals and other forms are used. Each modal verb and form includes multiple examples to provide context.


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