“Modal auxiliary verbs” are used to express manners, politeness, ability, possibility, permission or obligation. A modal is always used in conjunction with at least one other verb. A modal verb never stands alone in perfect English! The Modal verbs are: “Can, could, will, would, shall, should, may, might, must and ought”. There are more modal verbs used less commonly in todays English. “Have to, want to, need to” are also considered modal verbs. They are used in the same fashion. Below are a few examples. Ask your teacher to explain more!
Modal Auxiliary Verb Examples
Q: Can we go now? A: Yes, we can or No, we cannot!
Q: Could you give me a ride tomorrow? A: Yes, I can or No, I cannot!
Q: Will you come to the party now? A: Yes, I will or No, I will not!
Q: Would you come to my party tomorrow? A: Yes, I will or No, I will not!
Q: Shall we go now? A: Yes, let’s go! or No, let’s wait a few minutes!
Q: Should we go to the beach tomorrow? A: Yes, let’s do it!
Q: May I get your coat? A: Yes, that would be very nice!
Q: We might go to the beach tomorrow! A: I would love that!
Q: We ought to see the doctor this afternoon! A Okay, I agree!
Q: Must we go to the doctor now? Yes, we must go now!
Want to, Need to, Have to, Examples
Q: Do you want to see a movie tonight? A: Yes, I would like to! (Offer)
Compare to “Would you like to see a movie tonight?”
Q: Do you need to work tomorrow? A: No, I am taking the day off! (Obligation)
Compare to “Must you work tomorrow?”
Q: Do you have to meet with your boss this afternoon? A: Unfortunately, yes!
Compare to “Must you meet him today?”. (Strong obligation or commitment)