Modal Verbs Summary

Modal verbs or auxiliary verbs  are used to express the need for something or possibility of something happening.

Below are some formulas to help you construct sentences using them.


Making Requests

Would + subject + lend + (me,him,her, them)

Can +subject + borrow + ( me, him , her , it) + object


Modals of advisability

Subject + ought to verb infinitive  + to + object
You ought to come early.

Subject + ought to + be + verb + ing (to) object

Subject + ought to + not + be + verb + ing ( to) object

He oughtn’t (to) leave your keys in the car.

Subject + should + verb infinitive
You should sleep early.

Subject + should + not + verb + infinitive
You shouldn’t eat junk food.

Subject + had better + verb infinitive
I had better work harder .

Subject + had better + not + verb infinitive
You’d better take care of it.

Requesting Actions

Would/ could / will / can + subject + (please) verb infinitive + me/ him/ her+ please
Would you please help her?


Requesting and Giving permission

May/could/can + subject+ verb infinitive
May we sit here?
Could I use your pencil?

Expressing Ability

Subject + can + verb infinitive
Can Ali get a credit card?

Subject + can+ not + verb infinitive
Can’t you come earlier?

Can + subject + verb infinitive …?


Past ability

Subject + could + verb infinitive

I could speak English ten years ago.

Be able to

Subject +be + able to + verb infinitive + object
We are able to work.

Subject + be + not + able to + verb infinitive + object
He isn’t able to find a job.

Be + subject + able to + verb infinitive + object

Am I able to beat him?

”Able to” for Future

Use will / won’t for future

Will + subject + be able to + verb infinitive + object

Will I be able to speak English perfectly?


Subject + should/ ought to + verb infinitive

The train should arrive by 10.
It shouldn’t take long.


Expressing Preferences

Subject + would like + infinitive
I’d like to visit Makkah.

Subject + wouldn’t like + infinitive

Would like + infinitive ?
Would you like to go with me?

Would like + (pro) noun + infinitive ?
Would you like me to help you?

Subject + would rather + infinitive

Subject + would rather + not + infinitive

I’d rather not visit Austria.

Would + subject + rather + infinitive …?

Would you rather eat Kabsa?

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