Speak About:



Past to Present


Abilities - Responsibilities

Asking Questions

Choosing the Right Phrase

Combining Verbs

Explaining Ideas

Describing Your World

Complex Ideas

Relating Ideas, People, Objects

Speaking about Objects

Wondering about Situations

Ability, Admission and Advice

Basic Modals

Modals verbs modify principal verbs to express various degrees of modality such as necessity, permission, etc. . The most common modals are:


Can I borrow your car?

Somehow the price should be above par.

Modal verbs remain in base form for all subjects.

Positive Form:

Subject + Modal + Verb + objects

Can I borrow your car?

Somehow the price should be above par.

Negative Form:

Subject + Modal + Not + Verb + objects

She can't help out with our merger with the savings bank.

You should never put up as collateral something you do not want to lose.

Question Form:

Modal + Subject + Verb + objects

Can we barter goods and services?

Considering the value at market price, should we direct our clients to sell?

Can for Ability and Permission

'Can' is used to speak about abilities as well as asking for or giving permission.

Giving Advice with Should

Use 'Should' to ask for or give advice or suggestions.

Ought to, Had Better

'Ought to' and 'had better' express the same idea as 'should'. Although not as common as 'should' both these forms can be used in place of 'should'.


John ought to take a look at the income statement.

He had better remember to check his income statement.

NOTE: 'had better' is a more urgent form.