In our day-to-day lives, we come across many situations and we need a variety of words to describe them. Since the main verb cannot describe certain aspects modals are used. This is the first of five High English grammar quizzes looking at modal verbs and it focusses in particular on modals that express attitudes.
Modal verbs, or simply modals, are helping verbs that support the function of a main verb. In a sentence, the modals cannot stand by themselves and always appear with a main verb. There are only a few modals that are used as helping verbs so it will be easy for you to familiarise yourself with them. Here is a list of the modals you will come across:
Expressing attitudes and describing functions are among the main uses of modals and each one has its own job defined by the rules of grammar. 'Can' is the modal used to describe ability or seek permission, as in the sentences ‘I can play the violin’ and ‘can I come with you?’
'May' is the modal used to seek permission or express possibility, as in the sentences ‘may I have a small piece of cake please?’ and ‘Mumbai Indians may win the IPL tournament.’
'Would' is the modal employed to request as in the sentence ‘would you please pass the sugar?’
'Must' is the modal used to advise as well as to describe a necessity, as in the sentences ‘you must consult a doctor for your fever’ and ‘you must get your driving licence renewed.’
'Shall' is the modal used to offer help or assistance, and to express something in the future, as in the sentences ‘shall I help you to cross the road?’ and 'I shall go to Australia for my holidays this year.'
'Will' is also used to express something in the future, as in the sentence ' I predict that England will win the World Cup next time around.'
In a sentence with modals, the main verb in its bare infinitive form follows a modal as seen in the sentences ‘she may come to the movie’ or ‘she must come to the movie.’ In addition, modals do not change in the third person. For instance, we write ‘they could strike’ and not ‘they coulds strike.’ Modals perform their role of helping the main verb communicate more. Take the grammar quiz that follows and see how many questions on modals expressing attitudes you can get right first time.