In the previous quizzes we have seen how verbs are classified and used in sentences. We have also seen how some verbs are supported by auxiliary verbs and linking verbs. As you have learnt in your English classes there are many verbs that help main verbs and these are known as helping verbs.
Helping verbs, as their name suggests, help improve the sentence by communicating much more than the main verb alone. Modal verbs are helping verbs that normally precede the main verb and provide additional information about the function of the main verb. CAN, COULD, MAY, MIGHT, WILL, WOULD, MUST, SHALL, SHOULD and OUGHT TO are all modal verbs. In the quiz that follows we concentrate on MAY and MIGHT, which are used to talk about actions that are possible, but not certain, either in the present or in the future.
It may be noted that while both MAY and MIGHT have the same meaning, MIGHT is used when the possibility of something occurring is less. MAY is also used to express possibility, and also to give or request permission. As well as being used to express possibility, MIGHT can also be used in conditional sentences and in sentences offering suggestions.
Just as we saw earlier the modal verbs can be used in sentences with different tense forms. A few examples would help to clarify:
‘You MIGHT have tried going to the cricket match.’ This is a sentence in the past form and the modal verb is offering a suggestion. In the future form the same sentence would read:
‘You MIGHT try going to the cricket match.’
‘The boy MAY get hurt if you don’t hold him.’ This is a sentence in the future form and expresses a possibility. For the present form ‘MAY be hurt’ could be used and for the past form ‘MAY have been hurt’ could be used. Play this quiz and see if you can master the use of these words.