Common Modal Verbs
Can, Could, (be) Able to, Had Better, Have to, Have got to, May, Might, Must, Ought to, Shall, Should, Will, Would,
I could play tennis at the club.
I could be playing tennis at the club right now.
I could have played tennis at the club yesterday.
Modal Perfect Continuous
I could have been playing tennis at the club instead of working in the office.
Passive Modal Simple
The room should be cleaned once a day.
Passive Modal Continuous
The room should be being cleaned now.
Passive Modal Perfect
The room should have been cleaned yesterday.
Passive Modal Perfect Continuous
The room should have been being cleaned but nobody was there.
Complete the following sentences using one of the following modal verbs:
would, could, should, will
1) We ————– be very grateful if you could reply by return.
2) Payment—————– be made within 28 days of receipt of this invoice.
3) —————– you confirm that payment has already been made?
4) We ————– arrange for payment by bank transfer as soon as we receive the goods.
5) Mr Hadaka ———— be arriving on Flight BA461 on Monday 25th.
6) All telephone orders ————— be confirmed in writing.
7) ———— you let us have a copy of your latest price list?
8) We ————— appreciate an early reply.
In British culture we often do not want to ‘state the facts’, instead we prefer to be less blunt by being less direct. Modals can be useful for this.
Use the words in brackets to change the sentences below to soften them.
1) Your order is going to be late. (may, slightly delayed)
2) We want you to reply immediately. (would, grateful)
3) Our prices will go up from 1st January. (we, may, slight increase)
4) The delivery will be late because of problems in the finishing shop. (you,
may, experiencing, few)
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