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Perfect Modals.

Compilation by Corina Goitia 2017

Perfect Modals
Perfect modals express the thoughts about events in the past. They are useful to
express your present feelings about a past decision (or other action)

Modal Use
Must Have+ Verb Past 100% Certainty
Participle Logical conclusion about an event in the past.
Would Have + Verb Past This modal verb can be used in different situations:
Participle Part of the third conditional.
If + Subject + Past Perfect, Subject + Would have V.P.P.
It talks about the past. It's used to describe a
situation that didn't happen, and to imagine the
result of this situation.
To talk about something you wanted to do but
didn't. This is very similar to the third
conditional, but we don't need an 'if clause'. It
follows this structure: I would have A, but I B
Use would have to imagine a result (if
something had been different in the past).
Note: Would have expresses more certainty
about the result (80%) .
Could Have + Verb Past This modal has different uses:
Participle The first one is: The possibility to do
something in the past, but in the end was not
done. (You didnt do it)
The second one: When we want to make a
guess about something that happened in the
past. In this case, we don't know if what
we're saying is true or not true. We're just
talking about our opinion of what maybe
happened. 50% possibility.
Couldnt Have + Verb Past When we have this modal verb in negative, the action
Participle didnt happen: youre a 100% sure about it. It
expresses:
A certainty that something did not happen.
Something wasn't possible in the past, even if
you had wanted to do it.
Should have + Verb Past Advice which was not followed in the past.
Participle Expresses regrets
Something that would have been a good idea, but that
you didn't do it
Shouldnt have + Verb Past Criticism that was given after an event in which you
Participle didnt follow an advice.

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Perfect Modals. Compilation by Corina Goitia 2017

Expresses regrets
Something wasn't a good idea, but you did it anyway

Exercises
Complete de following sentences with the correct modal
verb.

Could have Couldnt have Should have Shouldnt have Would have Must have

1. I ___________________________________ (buy) bread but I didnt know we


needed it. (past possibility)
2. If I had gone to the sales Im sure I ________________ (buy) something.
3. We ___________________________________ (invite) so many people to our
party! Im worried that we wont have enough room for everyone. (past negative
advice / regret)
4. Clare was really upset you didnt go to her birthday part. You ___________ (go).
5. No ones answering the phone. They _______________ (go) out.
6. I ___________________________________ (start) saving money years ago! (past
advice / regret)
7. The lights are out. They ____________ (go) to sleep.
8. You _____________ (shout) to Samantha. Shell never forgive you.
9. I ______________ (love) to do some acting when I was younger.
10. We ___________________________________ (join) you at the restaurant, but
we couldnt get a babysitter. (past willingness)
11. The weather ___________________________________ (be) any worse! (past
negative possibility)
12. She told me she ____________ (e-mail) you if you had given her your e-mail address.
13. She ____________ (change) her mind. Im not sure.
14. Shes really shy. You ___________ (tell) her you liked her before!
15. You ___________ (come) to the pub last night. We had a wonderful time.
16. I ___________________________________ (arrive) on time, even if Id left
earlier. There were dreadful traffic jams all the way. (past negative possibility)
17. They ___________________________________ (win) the football match, but
John hurt his ankle. (past possibility)
18. Amanda ___________________________________ (finish) the work, but she felt
ill and had to go home. (past willingness)
19. Lucy ___________________________________ (left) earlier. She missed her
flight. (past advice / regret)
20. We ___________________________________ (finish) the game, even if wed
wanted to. It was raining very hard and we had to stop. (past negative possibility)
21. I ___________________________________ (eat) so much chocolate! I feel sick!
(past negative advice / regret)

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Perfect Modals. Compilation by Corina Goitia 2017

22. Luke ___________________________________ (pass) the exam if hed studied a


bit more. (past possibility)
23. John ___________________________________ (call) Amy, but he didnt have her
number. (past willingness)
24. You ___________________________________ (be) rude to him. Hes going to be
really angry now. (past negative advice / regret)
25. She ___________________________________ (come) to the restaurant if shed
left work earlier. (past possibility)
26. You ___________________________________ (take) this job. I can see youre
not enjoying it. (past negative advice / regret)
27. The race was really difficult. She ___________________________________ (win)
because shes not fit enough. (past negative possibility)
28. Our neighbours ___________________________________ (cut) down the tree in
their garden. It was a really beautiful tree. (past negative advice / regret)
29. The children ___________________________________ (do) their homework last
night. Then they wouldnt be panicking on the way to school. (past advice / regret)
30. Im really cold! I ___________________________________ (bring) my coat. (past
advice / regret)
31. I ___________________________________ (come) to see you! I didnt know you
were ill. (past willingness)
32. Andrew ___________________________________ (go) to Cambridge University,
but he decided to travel instead. (past possibility)
33. They ___________________________________ (be) kinder to me. They were
absolutely lovely. (past negative possibility)
34. You ___________________________________ (buy) some milk at the shops. We
dont have any milk. (past advice / regret)
35. They ___________________________________ (come) to have breakfast with us,
but they went to bed too late the night before. (past willingness)

B. Change the following sentences using the perfect modals.

Ex: A: I saw a ghost last night.

B: You (not see) a ghost; there arent any ghosts. You (dream) it.

You couldnt have seen a ghost; there arent any ghosts. You must have dreamt it.

1. It is possible that a child broke the window.

2. A: Ive had a toothache for two days. B: You (go) to the dentist when it started.

3. A: As I was standing in the hall your dog bit me. B: It (not be) my dog; he was with me all
day. It (be) my brothers dog.

4. A: I wonder why he didnt answer? B: Possibly he didnt understand the question.

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Perfect Modals. Compilation by Corina Goitia 2017

5. I gave him a tip, which was not necessary.

6. A: The plane is late; I wonder what has happened? B: Possibly it was delayed by fog.

7. A: I waited from 8.00 to 8.30 under the clock and he says he waited from 8.00 to 8.30
under the clock, and we didnt see each other! B: You (wait) under different clocks! There are
two in the station, you know.

8. We (start) yesterday (this was the plan); but the flight was cancelled because of the fog,
so were still here, as you see.

9. A: I left my car here under the NO Parking sign; and now its gone. It (be) stolen! B: Not
necessarily. The police (drive) it away.

10. A: Weve run out of petrol! B: Im not surprised. I noticed that the tank was nearly empty
wshen we left home. A: You (tell) me! WE (get) petrol at the last village. Now weve got a 10-
mile walk!

11. A: Look at this beautiful painting! Only a very great artist (paint) such a picture! B:
Nonsense! A child of five (paint) it with his eyes shut.

12. A: You dont think it (be started) deliberately? B: Well, I suppose it (be). (It is possible.)
But who would do a thing like that?

13. There is only one set of footprints, so the kidnapper (carry) his prisoner out. He not (do) it
in daylight or he (be) seen. He (wait) till dark.