A-Z: General definitions: Verbs - modal auxiliary


This type of verb helps to convey subtle meanings of obligation (‘should’, ‘must’, ‘ought’), certainty or prediction (‘shall’, ‘will’), possibility or ability (‘might’, may’, ‘can’, ‘could’, ‘would’), and permission (‘may’). Depending on the context, these words can convey other ideas as well, e.g. ‘I would like a cup of tea’ which is more wishful than ‘She would be able to win if she trained more’.

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