Modals A modal is a type of auxiliary (helping) verb that is used to express: ability, possibility, permission or obligation. Modal phrases (or semi-modals) are used to express the same things as modals, but are a combination of auxiliary verbs and the preposition to.
Modals - Can/could/be able to May/might Shall/should Must/have to Will/would
Can, Could, Be Able To Can, could and be able to are used to express a variety of ideas in English: Ability/Lack of Ability Presentand Future: can/can't + base form of the verb Tom can write poetry very well. I can help you with that next week. Lisa can't speak French am / is /are/will be + able to+base form of the verb am not/ isn't/ aren't/ won't be + able to base form of the verb Mike is able to solve complicated math equations The support team will be able to help you in about ten minutes. I won't be able to visit you next summer. .
Past: could / couldn't + base form of the verb When I was a child I could climb trees. was/were able to + base form of the verb wasn't/ weren't + able to base form of the verb hasn't/haven't + been able to + base form of the verb . I wasn't able to visit her in the hospital. . He hasn't been able to get in touch with the client yet.
Note: Can and could do not take an infinitive (to verb) and do not take the future auxiliary will Incorrect: can to help you this afternoon. . Correct: I can help you this afternoon. Correct: I will (l'lI) be able to help you this afternoon.
Possibility / Impossibility can / can't + base form of the verb You can catch that train at 10:43 He can't see you right now. He's in surgery. could + base form of the verb I could fly via Amsterdam if I leave the day before
Ask Permission Give Permission .Can Subject + base form of the verb (informal) .Can you lend me ten dollars? .Can+ base form of the verb (informal) . You can borrow my car. Could subject base form of the verb (polite) Could I have your number? Could I talk to your supervisor please? Make a suggestion - To make a suggestion use: .Could base form of the verb (informal) You could take the tour of the castle tomorrow.