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How to Use Modal Auxiliaries

Here you will learn How to Use Modal Auxiliaries like:

Could, Would, May, Might, Should, Ought to

  • Modal auxiliaries, also called modal verbs or simply Modals, are words that express the mood of a verb. They are used with a main verb to form a sentence or a question. Modals are not conjugated because they have no tense. They must be used with the main verb in its base form.

1. Would and Could for polite requests

When we want to ask someone to do something, we can use Could or Would to ask politely. it’s common to use the word Please to add politness to our request.

  • Polite requests

Could you please open the door?
Would you please open the door?

Could you pass me the pencil, please?
Would you pass me the pencil, please?

2. Would + Like for offers and invitations

  • Offer something to eat or drink

Would you like some cookies?
Would you like a glass of lemonade?

  • Offer to do something for somebody

Would you like me to lend you some money?
Would you like me to help you do your homework?

  • Invitations to do something

Would you like to go to the movie?
Would you like to go daancing tonight?

3. May and Might

The modals May and Might indicate the possibility or probability of a future action.

This may / might be a good idea
It may / might rain tonight
I may / might go to the party tonight.

The modal auxiliar May is also used to give or ask for permission.

You may begin your test now
May I come in?
May I borrow your cellphone?

4. Should and Ought to for give advice

When we want to give advice or a recomendation to someone we can use the modals Should or Ought to

You should / ought to study on Platzi harder.
You should / ought to drive slower.

When we want to ask for advice we can only use should. We don’t use Ought to for questions and negative.

Should I use this t-shirt today?
Should I play a chess tournament?

This was just a little show about some modals that you can use from now. It’s your turn to practice all you’ve learned here.

Remember: The best way to improve your skills is practicing.

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