modal worksheet

modal + infinitive

  • I can [eat,do] something.

  • I could do something.

  • I could have done something.

  • I shall do something.

  • I should do something.

  • I should have done something.

  • I will do something.

  • I would do something.

  • I would have done something.

  • I may do something.

  • I might do something.

  • I might have done something.


ability to do something in the present (substitute form: to be able to)

  • I can speak English.

  • I can drive a car.

  • My son can jump on his [bed,toys].

  • I can be very patient when discussing our future plans.

  • You can join our team if you display the ability to communicate effectively with international clients.

  • Can you please speak slower?

permission to do something in the present (substitute form: to be allowed to)

  • Can I go to the cinema?

  • Can I open a window? It's stuffy in here.

  • Can I ask you a question?

  • Can we go for a walk after lunch?

  • Can I get access to that database?

  • Can I have a drink, please?


  • Can you wait a moment, please?

  • Can you give me that cup please?

  • Can I skip work tomorrow?

  • Can I leave work early today?


  • I can lend you my car until tomorrow.

  • I can give you [some money, my candy].

  • Can you please share with me your plan?

  • You can take my laptop.

  • I can help you if you like.

  • We can pick up your kids after school, if you like.


  • Can we visit Grandma over the weekend?

  • Can we go to the seaside next weekend?

  • Can we skip our daily meetings until next week?

  • Can we change the [framework,library, subject]?

  • Can we rewrite this component?

  • We can take a taxi to the office. It will be faster than the bus.


  • It can get very hot in Dubai.

  • That can be a dangerous road.

  • There can be a lot of traffic on the roads right now.

  • It can [snow,rain] today.

  • We [could,can] stay home all day tomorrow, if you like.


ability to do something in the past (substitute form: to be able to)

  • I could speak English when I was in elementary school. (past)

  • When I was younger I could drink all night.

  • I could create a simple application when I was in high school.

possibility as a conditional

  • I could go to the party next week if my wife will join me.

  • We could go tomorrow, if you like.

  • If you are ready, we could go now.

  • If I could find more time, I would [walk to Turkey,read a book].

permission to do something in the future (substitute form: to be allowed to)

  • I could go to the cinema with you tomorrow.

  • I could go for a walk in the park with my dog, Pixel, tomorrow.

  • We could use this library for the next project.

polite question *

  • Could I go to the cinema, please?

  • Could you open the window please? It's kind of stuffy in here.

polite request *

  • Could you wait a moment, please?

  • Could you buy some [coffee, beer,chocolate,bread, sugar,milk, champagne, kitty litter, cat sand] for me?

  • Could you pass me the salt, please?

  • Could I leave work early today?

polite offer *

  • I could lend you my car till tomorrow.

polite suggestion *

  • Could we visit Grandma at the weekend?

possibility *

  • It could get very hot in Egypt.

  • It could rain tomorrow so bring your umbrella.



  • You should drive carefully in bad weather.

  • You should pay more attention at school!

  • You should be more confident when you are speaking to the manager.

  • You shouldn't be scared to ask for help.

  • You should persistently [try,work] to improve your soft and hard skills.

  • You should seek feedback on your design decisions.

  • You should read this book.


  • You should help me clean the house from time to time.

  • You should be able to listen to another person attentively.

  • You should switch off the light when you leave the room.

  • I should finish my work today.

  • You should segregate the trash from the recycling.

  • I should go to my son's school to speak with his teacher.

  • I should go to the doctors this weekend.


  • Q: If I'm scheduled to attend a meeting in Japan in the coming weeks or months, should I cancel?

  • Q:Should I cancel our lunch?

  • Q:Should I cancel my holiday?

  • Q:Should I cancel my gym membership?

  • Q:My fight or flight instinct took over, should I cancel?

  • Q:Should I cancel the holiday I have booked in Cancun next month?

  • "So," Mr. Smith asked with a grin, "should I cancel my order?"


wish, request (more polite than will)

  • Would you shut the door, please?

  • Would you allow me to take care of part of the [bill,ticket]?

  • What would you like for [dinner,Christmas]?

  • I wish we would stop fighting over the cat shit.

  • I would rather be a super hero than a boring mortal!

  • What advice would you give to a new hire?

  • Would you prefer that we finish the movie now or later?

  • Would you prepare a cup of tea for me please?

  • Ann: If you had a two week vacation, what would you do?

  • Bob: I would spend time in the mountains.

habits in the past

  • Sometimes he would bring me some flowers.

  • When I was younger, I would go to school with my brothers.

  • When it was warmer, I would go running at least once a week.

* These are no past forms, they refer to the future.


possibility (less possible than may) *

  • It might [snow,rain,be windy] today.

  • I might help my mother clean house this weekend.

  • I might go ice-skating later.

  • My daughter might help me wash the car.

  • She might be able to help you.

  • It might be difficult to complete this task on time.

Ann: What will you do for New Years?

Bob: We will go out to eat. We might have Asian or Ukrainian, I'm not sure.

hesitant offer *

  • [Might, Can, May, Should ] I help you?


wish, request, demand, order (less polite than would)

  • Will you please shut the door?

prediction, assumption

  • I think it will rain on Friday.


  • I will stop smoking.

  • I will go with the kids trampolining tomorrow.

spontaneous decision

  • Can somebody drive me to the station? - I will.



force, necessity

  • I must go to the supermarket today.

  • You must be able to learn quickly in order to be effective as a [doctor,programmer].


  • You must be tired.

advice, recommendation

  • You must see the new film with Brad Pitt.

must not/may not

prohibition (must is a little stronger)

  • You mustn't work on dad's computer.

  • You may not work on dad's computer.

need not

something is not necessary

  • I needn't go to the supermarket, we're going to the restaurant tonight.

ought to

similar to should – ought to sounds a little less subjective




You ought to drive carefully in bad weather.


You ought to switch off the light when you leave the room.



  • It may rain today.

  • I may be actively listening sometimes.

permission to do something in the present (substitute form: to be allowed to)

  • May I go to the cinema?

polite suggestion

  • May I help you?


used instead of will in the 1st person


  • Shall I carry your bag?

  • I should receive the parcel tomorrow.

  • She's odd, she'll sit for hours without moving.

  • Shall we [go,retire] the hotel bar?

  • We shall leave the apartment after the maid has finished cleaning the toilets.