Modals are auxiliaries which do not change with the number or person of the subject. They cannot be used in continuous sentences. They are used to express our moods, manners and attitudes. Some important modals are ‘shall’, ‘will’, ‘should’, “would’, ‘can’, ‘could’, ‘may’, ‘might’.
USES OF MODALS
I. Uses of ‘SHALL’
Shall is used to denote Simple Future Time in the first person (I, We); as
I shall play.
I shall know my result tomorrow.
We shall go to the market.
We shall leave for Chennai in the morning.
Shall is used in the Second and Third persons to express :
You shall do as I say.
You shall not disobey your elders.
He shall not tell a lie.
You shall get a prize.
They shall be rewarded for their work.
He shall be promoted very soon.
Compulsion or necessity; as
You shall be fined for making noise.
You shall not enter the kitchen with dirty feet.
He shall be punished for taking bribe.
Determination or certainty; as
You shall go to the market at once.
They shall follow me.
He shall get good marks, I am sure.
- Command; as
II. Uses of ‘WILL’
Will is used in the second and third persons (You, He, She, They, It) to express Simple Future Time; as
He will arrive here tomorrow.
You will get promotion very soon.
They will learn painting from their teachers.
Will is used in the first person (I, We) to express
polite request or invitation; as
Will you open the window, please?
Will you have some more coffee?
Will you drop this letter today?
At night, I will help you.
I will come with you if you want.
We will go there for your happiness.
I will definitely go with you.
I will assist you in this matter.
We will fight for this cause.
From Delhi, we will go to Shimla.
We will visit the theatre next week.
I will highlight his point in the office.
I will teach you a lesson .
We will punish you severely.
- polite request or invitation; as
III. Uses of SHOULD’
Should is the past form of shall. It is used to express duty or moral obligation in all the three persons; as
We should obey our parents.
People should be gentle and fair.
He should not tell lies.
You should come here on time.
Should is used when giving or seeking advice; as
You should work hard.
You should do regular exercise.
How much should I pay to you?
Should is used to express disapproval; as
You should not waste your time.
You should not detain him for such a long time.
Should is used after lest to express purpose (usually negative); as
Work hard lest you should fail.
Walk slowly lest you should fall.
Should is used to express possibility, supposition and condition; as
I think you should win the championship.
He should be here by now-he left home at ten.
This is a costly saree; it should look beautiful.
IV. Uses of Would’
Would is the past form of will. Would is used to express
I would like to accompany you.
They would like to settle the issue.
He would have his own way.
I would buy this flat at any cost.
polite request; as
Would you shut the window, please?
Would you lend me your bicycle for an hour?
The boy would do as his father had told him to do.
I would try my best to help him.
improbable condition; as
If I got a lottery, I would be very happy.
If a thief came here, he would find only books.
Past habit; as
Every morning, he would go for a long walk.
After eating food, he would, take rest for an hour.
V. Uses of CAN’
Can is a modal auxiliary which we use to say something is possible, that someone has ability or capacity.
Can is used to express ability; as
I can solve this sum.
He can learn Japanese.
Can is used for giving permission; as
You can go to the cinema, if you wish.
You can go home if you have done your work.
Can is used for seeking permission; as
Can I go home now?
Can I use you pencil?
Can is used to express possibility; as
Any team can win this match.
He can reach here any moment.
VI. Uses of COULD’
Could is the past form of can. It is used to express—
Polite request; as
Could I change my seat, please?
Could I meet the Principal; please?
Possiblity in the past; as
If I had money, I could buy a car.
I wondered whether the news could be true.
Capability or ability in the past; as
I could swim when I was young.
He could solve all the sums when he was only ten years old.
VII. Uses of MAY’
May is used to give or take permission; as
May I come in, Sir? Yes, you may come in.
May I go home now? Yes, you may go home now.
May is used to express wish, prayer and blessing; as
May you live long!
May God bless you!
May you have the best of luck!
May is used to express possibility and uncertainty; as
The Principal may arrive here any moment.
It may rain heavily.
The test may be postponed.
May is used to express purpose; as
We eat so that we may live.
I work hard so that I may get good marks.
May is used to express past possiblity; as
He may have gone.
You may have known about his fault.
VIII. Uses of ‘MIGHT’
Might is the past form of May. It is used to express something possible in future; as
The train might be late.
He might have done the mistake.
Might is used to express remote possiblity in the future; as
He might come, if he gets time.
The prices might fall down a little.
Might is used to give suggestion; as
You might consult a physician.
You might go to a lawyer.
Might is used to express doubtful possibility as
It might rain.
He might come.
Might is used to express purpose; as
He worked hard so that he might get good marks.
He died so that his country might survive.
Fill in the blanks with ‘Shall’ or ‘Will’:
- He _____ go to Chennai next month.
- You _____ not enter the kitchen with muddy shoes.
- Rupam _____ see you again.
- You _____ go at once.
- I_____ write a letter to him tomorrow.
- _____ you do me a favour?
- _____ I ring him up?
- If you desire, I_____ come with you.
- Do it or you _____ be punished.
- _____ you have a cup of tea?
- I _____ lend you a book.
- People _____ fight for their cause.
- We _____ be late.
- You _____ be punished for telling lies.
- You _____ be promoted very soon.
Fill in the blanks with ‘Would’ or ‘Should’:
- Work hard lest you _____ fail.
- You _____ send the reply tomorrow.
- _____ you please lend me your bicycle?
- You _____ do as he says.
- _____ you like another cup of tea?
- She said she _____ carry my books.
- He _____ meet me at 9 O’ clock in the morning.
- You _____ wash your clothes.
- They _____ arrive here any time.
- We _____ respect our elders.
- _____ you mind helping me?
- I _____ like to return early.
- Make haste, lest you _____ miss the train.
- If you _____ change your decision, Please let us know.
- I wish you _____ not ask so many questions.