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Date: ________________

English Grammar Modal Verbs



We us can to
(a). show ability He can play tennis well.
(b). give permission Yes, you can use the telephone.
(c). request Can I ask you to do me a favour?
We use could to
(a). mention a past ability I could play the piano well when I was young.
(b). request politely Could I borrow your pen, please?
We use may to
(a). suggest politely You may call me if you need more information.
(b). make a polite request May I leave a little earlier today?
We use might to show that you are not very certain about something.
He might not be coming for the party.
We use will to
(a). request politely Will you pass me the salt, please?
(b). show future action He will visit us tomorrow.
We use would
(a). as the past tense of will They said that it would not be fair to them.
(b). to request politely Would you return the book for me, please?
We use shall to request politely.
Shall we proceed with the meeting?
We use should to
(a). show that something ought to be done She should do it according to the instructions.
(b). show that something is likely to happen The train should arrive in ten minutes time
We use must to show strong obligation.
All workers must report to work punctually.

Fill in the blanks with suitable modal verbs.

1. You __________________ have told me the homework was due today. But I have not completed it

yet. I __________________ hand it up tomorrow.

John is badly injured. You __________________


__________________ not move him until the doctor is here.

That suitcase looks very heavy. You __________________ not be carrying such heavy objects as


you have backache. __________________ I carry it for you?

You __________________ think that there are easier ways to getting good results. But I think you


__________________ study hard for your exams.

You __________________ do it. Go for your therapy sessions regularly and you


__________________ be able to walk again soon.

Father has given you RM50. You __________________ have enough money now. You


__________________ not be asking for more.

He said he __________________ not be visiting his grandmother in Malaysia. He


__________________ be joining his friends for a tour in Taiwan instead.

I __________________ be staying in Rome for two weeks.
We __________________ ask John to buy a gift for Mary. He __________________ know what
she likes.






10. He __________________ swim very well. He __________________ have put in many hours of
training in the pool.
In the cloze passage below, fill in the blanks with suitable modal verbs.
As the shark swam slowly past the cage, Peter thought, I wonder if it __________________
break the bars. It looks fierce and looks like it __________________ try to break them. I
__________________ remain calm. I __________________ be all right since I am in the cage.
The shark circled the cage.
Quick! The camera! Peters thoughts ran fast. This __________________definitely be my
best shot. He fumbled frantically with the camera. Just my luck! It should get jammed now of all
times! All right, I __________________ be calm and I must concentrate. I __________________ just be
able to shift this upthere! If only I had brought my motor-drive, I __________________ have shot it
as it went past Wait, here it comes again! Im sure I __________________ get it this time Got it! I
__________________ have used more flash, though.