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MODALS

Auxiliary

Use

Present

 Past

 

must

 

 

 

Certainty

You look pale. You must be sick.

He is yawning and rubbing his eyes. He must be sleepy.

You looked pale. You must have been sick.

He was yawning and rubbing his eyes. He must have been sleepy.

Can’t

 

 

Impossibility

 

 

 

Rachida looks young. She can’t be forty.

They have just got married. They can’t have any children.

 

Rachida looked young. She can’t have been forty.

 

I rang the bell several times and no one answered me. They couldn’t have been at home.

May, can, might

 

 

Possibility

Our team can/may/might win the match next Sunday.

You can find the answer if you concentrate more.

 

Our team might have won the game if the referee had blown the whistle for the penalty.

 

You could have found the answer if you had concentrated more.

Must / have to

Obligation

Drivers must stop when the light is red.

I have to put on my coat because it is cold.

They had to stop when the light was red.

I had to put on my coat because it was cold.

Should / ought to

Obligation

You should have a medical check-up every year.

 

Drivers ought to maintain their vehicles.

I should have had a medical check-up last year.

 

He ought to have maintained his car before the accident.

 

EXERCISES:

  1. Use a modal in the present or in the past:

 

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