All kinds of modal auxiliary verbs (part 2)

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All kinds of modal auxiliary verbs (part 2)

Bài gửi by Admin on Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:26 am

Chúng ta cùng tiếp tục bài học về các độngt từ tình thái và cách dùng của nó nhé.
5. Would

As the past of will, for example in indirect speech

"The next meeting will be in a month's time" becomes

He said the next meeting would be in a month's time.

Polite requests and offers (a 'softer' form of will)

Would you like another cup of tea?

Would you give me a ring after lunch?

I'd like the roast duck, please.

In conditionals, to indicate 'distance from reality': imagined, unreal, impossible situations

If I ruled the world, every day would be the first day of Spring.

It would have been better if you'd word processed your assignment.

After 'wish', to show regret or irritation over someone (or something's) refusal or insistence on doing something (present or future)

I wish you wouldn't keep interrupting me.

I wish it would snow.

Talking about past habits (similiar meaning to used to)

When I was small, we would always visit relatives on Christmas Day.

Future in the past

The assassination would become one of the key events of the century.

6. Can & Could

Talking about ability

Can you speak Mandarin? (present)

She could play the piano when she was five. (past)

Making requests

Can you give me a ring at about 10?
Could you speak up a bit please? (slightly more formal, polite or 'softer')

Asking permission

Can I ask you a question?
Could I ask you a personal question? (more formal, polite or indirect)

Reported speech

Could is used as the past of can.

He asked me if I could pick him up after work.

General possibility

You can drive when you're 17. (present)
Women couldn't vote until just after the First World War.

Choice and opportunities

If you want some help with your writing, you can come to classes, or you can get some 1:1 help.
We could go to Stratford tomorrow, but the forecast's not brilliant. (less definite)

Future probability

Could (NOT can) is sometimes used in the same way as might or may, often indicating something less definite.

When I leave university I might travel around a bit, I might do an MA or I suppose I could even get a job.

Present possibility

I think you could be right you know. (NOT can)
That can't be the right answer, it just doesn't make sense.

Past possibility

If I'd known the lecture had been cancelled, I could have stayed in bed longer.

7. Must

Necessity and obligation

Must is often used to indicate 'personal' obligation; what you think you yourself or other people/things must do. If the obligation comes from outside (eg a rule or law), then have to is often (but not always) preferred:

I really must get some exercise.
People must try to be more tolerant of each other.
You musn't look - promise?
If you own a car, you have to pay an annual road tax.

Strong advice and invitations

I think you really must make more of an effort.
You must go and see the film - it's brilliant.
You must come and see me next time you're in town.

Saying you think something is certain

This must be the place - there's a white car parked outside.
You must be mad.
What a suntan! You must have had great weather.

The negative is expresses by can't:

You're going to sell your guitar! You can't be serious!
She didn't wave - she can't have seen me.

8. Should

Giving advice

I think you should go for the Alfa rather than the Audi.
You shouldn't be drinking if you're on antibiotics.
You shouldn't have ordered that chocolate dessert - you're not going to finish it.

Obligation: weak form of must

The university should provide more sports facilities.
The equipment should be inspected regularly.


The letter should get to you tomorrow - I posted it first class.

Things which didn't or may/may not have happened

I should have renewed my TV licence last month, but I forgot.
You shouldn't have spent so much time on that first question.

9. Ought to

Ought to usually has the same meaning as should, particularly in affirmative statements in the present:

You should/ought to get your hair cut.

Should is much more common (and easier to say!), so if you're not sure, use should.

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