Modals [Modal Auxiliary]



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Today, I will be discussing all the important modal Verb. I ensure you will get a complete idea to use Modals appropriately in different situations and conditions. . After reading this page you will find the secret to composing a better piece of writing in English. It will also help you to solve competitive exams questions.

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A verb used to express the mood[mode] or attitude of a speaker is called Modal Auxiliary.


  1. You must obey your parents.
  2. They should go to school daily.
  3. I can do this.

Use of Modals: The use of various modals are given below-

Use of May and Might

We use May in Present Tense and Might in Past Tense.

May and Might are used to express-

  • Possibility-


  1. He may go to his village tomorrow.
  2. The teacher said to us that he might see our homework.
  3. It may rain today.
  4. The farmer said that the crops might be destroyed by the heavy rain.
  • Permission-


  1. May I come in.
  2. The boy asked the teacher if he might go out.
  3. May I use your mobile?
  4. The children asked the father if they might play cricket then.
  • Wish or Prayer-


  1. May you live a happy life.
  2. May  God help you.
  • Purpose-


  1. Ravi works hard so that he might get good marks.
  2. He woke up early in the morning so he might go for a walk.
  3. The teacher called his parents so that he might tell them about their son.
  4. I take the medicine so that I may get well soon.

Use of Can and Could

We use Can in the Present Tense and Could in the Past Tense.

Can and Could are used to express-

  • Ability-


  1. Alan can play cricket very well.
  2. I can read Hindi as well as Urdu.
  3. He could lift this heavy box.
  4. The students could perform the play.
  • Polite Request-


  1. Could you please bring me a glass of water ?
  2. Could you please give me your book?

Here we use Could in the Present Tense.

  • Permission or Order-


  1. The students can go now.
  2. He can read my book.
  • Prohibition-


  1. No one can enter the room.
  2. You can not pluck flowers from my garden.
  • Offer- 


  1. Can we help you?
  2. Can I get coffee for you?
  • Possibility- 


  1.  He could be the son of Mr.Sharma.
  2. He could be twenty years old.

Could + Have- This form is used for the Past Ability while indicating the action did not take place.


  1. The police could have caught the thief.
  2. They could have taken out a loan from the bank.
  3. You could have caught the train if you had hurried.

Use of Should

Should is used to express-

  • Duty or Obligation-


  1. All the candidates should be present in the hall.
  2. You should help your younger brother.
  3. He should keep his promise.
  • Future in the Past-


  1. We told them that we should play the match.
  2. I told my parents that I should complete that work the next day.
  3. Did I not tell you that I should go to Lucknow?
  • Purpose-


  1. Walk carefully lest you should fall.
  • Should + Have- This form is used to express the Obligation in the Past. It may imply the non-performance of the action.


  1. You should have helped your friends.
  2. He should have bought the ticket.
  3. They should have informed us.

Use of Shall.

Shall is used-

  • In the first person to indicate the simple future.


  1. We shall read Grammar today.
  2. I shall go to Lucknow next month.
  • In the second and third person to denote promise, command, and threat.


  1. He shall help you. [Promise]
  2. You shall not be late. [Command]
  3. Naughty students shall be punished. [Threat]

Use of Must

Must is used to express –

  • Necessity or Obligation-


  1. People must obey the traffic rules.
  2. They must follow their leaders.
  • Order of the Speaker [Prohibition]-


  1. Children must not play in his garden.
  2. You must not leave him alone.
  • Determination- 


  1. I must help the needy people.
  2. We must save them.
  • Deduction or Inference-


  1. He has a luxury car.He must be very rich.
  2. He reads a lot.He must be learned.
  • Strong Possibility [ In Place of May]-


  1. It is nine.The teacher must be in the class.
  2. He goes to the library at this time.He must be there now.

Use of Ought to

Ought to is used to express-

  • Duty or Moral Obligation:- It is normally used for ‘Should and Must’ when there is a strong sense of Moral Duty,Advise or Indication.


  1. You ought to obey your parents.
  2. You ought to run daily to lose weight.
  3. You ought to prepare before the exam.
  • Ought to + Have:- This construction is used in relation to past action of duty that was not fulfilled or an action that was neglected in the past.


  1. He ought to have taken care of his son.
  2. He ought to have attended the class daily.
  3. They ought to have respected their teachers.

Use of Used to

Used to and Would are used to express-

  • To denote habitual action or the past routine of the Subject.


  1. They used to live in Lucknow.
  2. My brother used to go to the village every Sunday.
  3. A poor beggar used to live here.
  • To denote discontinued action.


  1. He used to play hockey when he was in school.
  2. I used to come by car when I was living in another city.
  3. He used to work in my office before marriage.
  • Used to is also used as an Adjective [Be Used To].It is equal to ‘Accustomed to’.


  1. My mother is used to getting up early in the morning.
  2. I was used to driving through crowded places.

Use of Would

Would is used-

  • To denote a wish


  1. I would like to go read an English novel.
  2. They would like to have coffee.
  3. The girls would like to eat pizza.
  • To denote frequent actions in the past.


  1. They would visit their friends every week.
  2. My brother would help me in the difficulties.
  3. The beggar would often come here.
  • To express determination.


  1. The student said that he would do his homework daily.
  2. The thief said that he would never do so.
  3. My friends said that they would help me.
  • To denote uncertainty or condition.


  1. I would have given you my book if you had asked me.
  2. They would have come here if you had invited them.
  3. The swan would have died if he had not saved it.
  • For polite expressions.


  1. Would like to have coffee with me?
  2. Would he come here to deliver a speech?
  3. Would you give me your book?

Use of Will

Will is used-

  • To show willingness,Promises and determination.


  1. I will come here tomorrow.
  2. We will help you.
  • To denote the assumption or probability.


  1. This will be the book he needs.
  2. He will be the man wanted by UP police.
  3. This will be the pen he is searching for.
  • In the second and third persons to indicate characteristic or customary actions.


  1. He will go to school tomorrow.
  2. You will come to the party.
  3. She will cook the food for the guests.

Use of Need and Need Not

  • Need can be treated as an Auxiliary or as an Ordinary Verb.As an auxiliary verb,it is used mainly in the Negative and Interrogative forms with direct Infinitive.It has no Past Tense.


  1. The boy needs to work properly.
  2. The man needs to feed his family.
  3. Need I write to my father?
  4. Need they go there?
  • Need not:- It is used for an action which is not necessary.


  1. He need not come to the party.
  2. My brother need not go to foreign.
  • Need Not + Have:- This form is used for an action which was not necessary but was performed in the Past.


  1. They need not have called the police in such a matter.
  2. The student need not participate in this competition.

Use of Dare

Dare can be treated as an Auxiliary or as an ordinary verb. As an Auxiliary verb, it is used mainly in the Negative and the Interrogative forms with Direct Infinitive.

  • Interrogative Sentence-


  1. How dare you to touch me?
  2. How dare they tease the animals?
  • Challenge-


  1. Does he dare say that she is telling a lie?
  2. Dare he speak so loudly in the class?
  • Venture and Courage in Negative Sentences- 


  1. He dare not disobey his father.
  2. She dare not talk rudely to her parents.


  • Fill in the blanks with the correct modals to complete these sentences.
  1. It ……. dark now. 
  2. He asked his father if he ……. use his car?
  3. My brother ……. play football very well.
  4. They …… not play well in the yesterday match.
  5. She ……. help her sister.
  6. They …… be working in the office at this time.
  7. Every Indian …….. serve India.
  8. My brother……… come from Lucknow by car.
  9. I ……. to work hard.
  10. Children ……. not play in the sun.
  • Choose the correct Modals to complete the following sentences.
  1. I expect the rain …… stop soon. [May/might]
  2. ….. I go out? asked the student. [May/Can]
  3. ….. you live long ! [Must/May]
  4. The doctor advised me that I ……. Take the medicine daily. [Shall/Should]
  5. His father…… warn him that smoking would ruin him. [Must/Should]
  6. We enjoyed the party,you…… there. [Should be/Should Have been]
  7. Make haste lest you……. miss the train. [Should/may]
  8. If you want to top the class,you …… work hard. [Should/Ought]
  9. You…… obey your parents. [Ought to/Must]
  10. My son told me that he………….. speak English. [Could/Can]
  11. My friend did not help me though he ………….. helped me. [Could/Could Have]
  12. He ………….. go to college by bus daily. [Would/Should]
  13. My friend ………….. visit me every Sunday when I was ill. [Used to/Was used to]
  14. You ………….. to Lucknow in lockdown. [Need not to go/Need not go]
  15. ………….. do this work while the teacher had forbidden me. [Do I need go/Need I have gone.]
  16. He dares ………….. his enemy. [Abuse/To abuse]
  17. I dare not ………….. this work again. [To do/Do]
  18. My friend ………….. play hockey,football and cricket. [Can/Should.]
  19. Plants ………….. have sunlight in order to make food. [Must/Should]
  20. Parents ………….. take care of their children. [Should/Ought to]

Content Writer– Mohammad Anas.….. Edited by– Shadab Akhtar.

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