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MODALS

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.

Modals Additional Meanings
Can Possibility, ability, permission
Could Possibility, ability in the past
May Probability, permission
Might Probability
Must Necessity, logical conclusion
Shall Future with emphasis
Should Advice, obligations, prediction
Will Future
Would Condition

 

Modal + verb word

Remember that a modal is used with a verb word. A verb word is the dictionary form of the verb.

S Modal Verb word O
They might visit us

 

Avoid using an infinitive or an –ing form instead of a verb word after a modal.

Examples:

—  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)

Exercise:

—  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.

Examples:

—  The streets are wet; it should have rained last night. (I)

—  The streets are wet; it must have rained last night. (C)

Exercise:

—  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
He must be upset now

 

Avoid using a verb word instead of an –ing form after must be.

Examples:

—  He is taking a walk; he must have felt better now. (I)

—  He is taking a walk; he must be feeling better now. (C)

Exercise:

—  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.

S must verb word repeated
My friend must call often

 

Avoid using an infinitive or an –ing form instead of a verb word after must.

Examples:

—  Her English is very good; she must spoken it often. (I)

—  Her English is very good; she must speak it often. (C)

Exercise:

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

Advisability-had better

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.

Preference-would rather

S would rather verb word
I would rather drive

 

S would rather not verb word
I would rather not drive

 

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).

  1. The salesclerk might lower the price. (C)
  2. The television movie will finishes in a few minutes. (I)
  3. Should everyone arrive by 8:00?
  4. The method for organizing files can be improved.
  5. The machine may clicks off if it is overused.
  6. Every morning the plants must be watered.
  7. The houses with ocean views could sell for considerably more.
  8. Would anyone liked to see that movie?
  9. I do not know when it will depart.
  10. She will work on the project only if she can has a full-time secretary.

Source: Longman TOEFL test

EXERCISE ONLINE: PROBLEMS WITH PARALLEL STRUCTURE

Make these sentences into the correct structure!

Sample:

Both historically and geography, Ontario is the heartland of Canada. >> correct structure: Both historically and geographically, Ontario is the heartland of Canada.

  1. Jane is young, enthusiastic, and she is talent.
  2. We learned to read the passages carefully and underlining the main ideas.
  3. The duties of the new secretary are to answer the telephone, to type letters, and book keeping.
  4. The patient’s symptoms were fever, dizziness, and his head hurt.
  5. Professor Williams enjoys teaching and to write.
  6. She is not only famous in the Unites States, but also abroad.
  7. The exam tested both listening and to read.
  8. He is not only intelligent but also he is creative.
  9. Flying is not only faster but also it is safer than travelling by car.
  10. John is registered for both Electrical Engineering 500 and to study Mathematics 390.

SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS

Subordinating Conjunctions

The majority of conjunctions are “subordinating conjunctions”. Common subordinating conjunctions are:

  • after, although, as, because, before, how, if, once, since, than, that, though, till, until, when, where, whether, while

A subordinating conjunction joins a subordinate (dependent) clause to a main (independent) clause:

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Look at this example:

main or
independent clause
subordinate or
dependent clause
Ram went swimming although it was raining.
subordinating
conjunction
 

 

A subordinate or dependent clause “depends” on a main or independent clause. It cannot exist alone. Imagine that somebody says to you: “Hello! Although it was raining.” What do you understand? Nothing! But a main or independent clause can exist alone. You will understand very well if somebody says to you: “Hello! Ram went swimming.”

A subordinating conjunction always comes at the beginning of a subordinate clause. It “introduces” a subordinate clause. However, a subordinate clause can sometimes come after and sometimes before a main clause. Thus, two structures are possible:

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Ram went swimming although it was raining.

 

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