The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

Modal Verbs that Indicate Possibility Options
Daemon
Posted: Friday, February 21, 2020 12:00:00 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/7/2009
Posts: 30,835
Neurons: 91,683
Location: Inside Farlex computers
Modal Verbs that Indicate Possibility

Because modal auxiliary verbs can be quite similar in how they are used, it is sometimes unclear when it's more appropriate to use one instead of another. For instance, we use "may," and "might" to express a possibility. Which of these verbs tends to express less certainty or a lower likelihood? More...
KSPavan
Posted: Friday, February 21, 2020 12:22:33 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/28/2015
Posts: 10,684
Neurons: 4,087,272
Location: Kolkata, Bengal, India
Daily Grammar Lesson
?
Modal Verbs that Indicate Possibility
Because modal auxiliary verbs can be quite similar in how they are used, it is sometimes unclear when it's more appropriate to use one instead of another. For instance, we use "may," and "might" to express a possibility.
Adyl Mouhei
Posted: Friday, February 21, 2020 5:37:43 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/1/2017
Posts: 4,445
Neurons: 848,308
Location: Casablanca, Grand Casablanca, Morocco
Modal Verbs of Possibility



Several modal verbs show possibility, including might, may, could, and must. This modal verbs for possibility lesson shows you how to use them all correctly in English. You can find links to the exercises at the bottom of the page.

Modal Verbs for Possibility Structure
Modal Verb + Base Verb
May/Might/Could/Must + Base Verb

Examples:

I may eat dinner at 7:00 pm.
She might work late tonight.
They must be tired.
May
May shows possibility in the present or the future.

Present: Where are my keys? They may be in the car.
Future: I may go to the party tonight.
May is formal and is often found in writing, like this example:

Side effects of this medication may include upset stomach and fever.




Might
Possibility in the present or future.

Where are my keys? They might be in the car.
I might go to the party tonight.
Might is less formal than may, and is more common in conversation



Could
Something is possible in the present or future.

Present: Where are my keys? They could be in the car.
Future: We could go to the party tonight.

Could shows options, or possibility.



Must
Certainty, or the belief of certainty, from the speaker.

Certain:

Everyone is wearing a jacket. It must be cold.
Belief of certainty:

He was running for 2 hours. He must be tired. (Although it seems obvious, it is not a fact that the runner is tired.)


Have to
Certainty, or the belief of certainty, from the speaker.

Certain:

Everyone is wearing a jacket. It has to be cold.
Belief of certainty:

He was running for 2 hours. He has to be tired. (Although it seems obvious, it is not a fact that the runner is tired.)
Have to is much less formal than must, and is common in conversation.

Past Possibility
May, might, and could are all used to show possibility in the past.

Modal Verb + Have + Past Participle

He might have brought the cake.
She may have gone home early.
They could have worked late.
Must can be used in the same way to show certainty in the past.

He must have won the game.
Might Not vs. Could Not
Although might and could express possibility in a similar way, the negative forms of might and could are different.

Might not shows that something probably is not true.

These books might not be the teachers.
Might not shows that something probably will not happen in the future.

I might not go to the party tonight.
Could not shows that something is impossible.

This could not be the only book available.
She could not know who my friend is. They have never met.



www.learnenglish-online.com › grammar › modals › possibility
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.