PROBLEMS WITH MODALS
Modals are auxiliary verbs. They used with main verbs to give additional meaning to main verbs. The most common modals are listed below, along with some of the additional meanings that they add to main verbs.
|Can||Possibility, ability, permission|
|Could||Possibility, ability in the past|
|Must||Necessity, logical conclusion|
|Shall||Future with emphasis|
|Should||Advice, obligations, prediction|
Modal + verb word
Remember that a modal is used with a verb word. A verb word is the dictionary form of the verb.
Avoid using an infinitive or an –ing form instead of a verb word after a modal.
After you show me the way, I can to go by myself. (I)
After you show me the way, I can go by myself. (C)
Many birds will, in the normal course of their migration, flying more than three thousand miles to reach their winter homes.
Logical conclusions-events in the past
Remember that must is a modal. Must followed by the verb word have and a participle expresses a logical conclusion based on evidence. The conclusion is about an event that happened in the past.
|S||must have||participle||past time|
|My friend||must have||called||last night|
Avoid using should or can instead of must. Avoid using a verb word instead of have and a participle when referring to events in the past.
The streets are wet; it should have rained last night. (I)
The streets are wet; it must have rained last night. (C)
When the weather become colder we know that the air mass must originated in the Arctic rather than over the Gulf of Mexico.
Logical conclusions-events in the present
Remember that must is a modal. Must followed by be and an –ing form or an adjective expresses a logical conclusion based on evidence. The conclusion is about an event that is happening now.
|S||must be||-ing||present tense|
|My friend||must be||calling||now|
|S||must be||adjective||present time|
Avoid using a verb word instead of an –ing form after must be.
He is taking a walk; he must have felt better now. (I)
He is taking a walk; he must be feeling better now. (C)
The American buffalo must be reproduce itself again because it has been removed from the endangered species list.
Logical conclusions-events that repeat
Remember that must is a modal. Must followed by a verb word expresses a logical conclusion based on evidence. The conclusion is about an event that happens repeatedly.
Avoid using an infinitive or an –ing form instead of a verb word after must.
Her English is very good; she must spoken it often. (I)
Her English is very good; she must speak it often. (C)
Since more than 50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, about half of the children in America must …….. in single-parent homes.
A. grow up C. growing up
B. to grow up D. have grow up
Remember that had better is similar to a modal. Although had appears to be a past, had better expresses advice for the future.
|S||had better||verb word|
|You||had better||take||Chemistry 600 this semester|
|S||had better||not||verb word|
|You||had better||not||take||Chemistry 600 this semester|
Avoid using an infinitive or a past form of a verb instead of a verb word. Avoid using don’t instead of not.
|S||would rather||verb word|
|S||would rather||not||verb word|
Remember that the phrase would rather is similar to a modal. Although would rather appears to be a past, it expresses preference in present and future time.
Avoid using an infinitive or an –ing form instead of a verb word.
EXERCISE 32: Each of the following sentences contains a verb formed with a modal. Underline the verbs. Then indicate if the sentences are correct (C) or incorrect (I).
- The salesclerk might lower the price. (C)
- The television movie will finishes in a few minutes. (I)
- Should everyone arrive by 8:00?
- The method for organizing files can be improved.
- The machine may clicks off if it is overused.
- Every morning the plants must be watered.
- The houses with ocean views could sell for considerably more.
- Would anyone liked to see that movie?
- I do not know when it will depart.
- She will work on the project only if she can has a full-time secretary.
Source: Longman TOEFL test