MODAL VERBS 7
we can compare may and can 24
must and may compared 28
to have to 29
to be to 31
must, to have to and to be to compared 32
ought to 34
Shall and should 35
must, should and ought to compared 41
Should + perfect infinitive, ought to + perfect infinitive and was/were
to + perfect infinitive compared
Shouldn’t + Perfect Infinitive, oughtn’t to + Perfect Infinitive and
needn’t + Perfect Infinitive compared 49
Modality is expression of speaker’s attitude to what his utterance
The speaker’s judgment may be of different kinds, that is, the
speaker may express various modal meanings. Modal verbs unlike other
verbs, do not denote actions or states, but only show the attitude of
the speaker towards the action expressed by the infinitive in
combination with which they form compound modal predicates. These modal
verbs may show that the action (or state, of process, or quality) is
viewed by the speaker as possible, obligatory, doubtful, certain,
permissible, advisable, requested, prohibited, ordered etc. Modal verbs
occur only with the infinitive. This or that meaning is to a great
degree determined by communicative type of the sentence and the form of
the infinitive. That is a huge problem for foreign learners of English,
who make a great deal of mistakes in this field. So, the aim of my work
is to show how modal verbs can be used, in what case we need one or
other verb and why.
English modality can be expressed not only by modal verbs. Modality
can be expressed by different linguistic means. In actual speech all
forms expressing modality work together to make the meaning clear. But
in every case there is some leading form that expresses the main
attitude. These forms fall into four categories: phonetic (intonation),
grammatical (mood), lexico-grammatical (modal verbs), lexical (modal
words and phrases). But the most important from them is the third form,
which includes modal verbs. It is important to take into account one
more feature peculiar to modal verbs. They all show that a certain
action is represented as necessary, doubtful, etc. From the point of
view of the speake, there are verbs which ‘help’ other verbs to express
a meaning: it is important to realize that “modal verbs” have no meaning
by themselves/ A modal verb such as would has several varying functions;
it can be used, for example, to help verbs express ideas about the past,
the present and the future. It is therefore wrong to simply believe that
“would is the past of will”: it is many other things.
English modality can be expressed not only by modal verbs. There
are many ways to express it – generally Mood shows the relation between
the action expressed by the predicate verb and reality. The speaker
establishes this relation.
In present-day English the category of mood is made up by a set of
forms opposed to each other in presenting the event described as a real
fact, a problematic action of as something unreal that does not exist.
Actions represented as real facts are expressed by the Indicative
E.g. Architects have done some very good work, too, in designing
new schools. Many of these are prefabricated, which means that as much
of the building work as possible if done not on the building site but in
factories where mass production methods are used.
When the brothers had gone home, Mr. Waterfall announced that they
were a much pleasanter pair of young men than the had been led to
The Indicative mood is characterized by a great number of
tense-aspect-phase forms that may be used in the Active or in the
Passive Voice. It should be stressed that the use of the Indicative Mood
does not always mean that the action expressed by the predicate verb is
true to fact, that it actually takes (or took, or will take) place in
reality. When the speaker uses the Indicative Mood he merely represents
an action as a fact, but he maybe mistaken or even telling a lie.
E.g. “I’ve seen to it,” he said, but everyone knew it was not true.
Commands and requests, which are problematic actions, are expressed
by the Imperative Mood.
The Imperative Mood is the plain stem of the verb (e.g. Come over
here. Listen to him, etc.). It may be used in the affirmative and in the
negative form The negative form is an analytical form built up by means
of the plain stem of the auxiliary verb to do followed by not (don’t)
and the infinitive of the notional verb without to (e.g. Don’t go over
there. Don’t listen to him, etc.). The negative form of the verb to be
is also built up by means of the auxiliary verb to do (e.g. Don’t be
inquisitive. Don’t be a fool, etc.).
If we wish to make a command or request more expressive,
we use the emphatic form. It’s also an analytical form built up with the
help of the plain stem of the auxiliary verb to do which is placed
before the notional verb, including to be (e.g. Do come over here. Do
listen to him. Do be quiet, etc.).
A command or request is generally addressed to the second person
singular or plural. There is usually no need to mention the subject of
the action before the verb in the Imperative mood. But occasionally the
verb may be preceded by you in familiar style (e.g. You don’t worry.).
A command or request may be addressed to the first person plural.
It is also formed with the help of the plain stem of the verb, to let
followed by the pronoun us (the contracted form is let’s) and the
infinitive of the notional verb. This form is actually an invitation to
a joint action (e.g. Let’s have a cup of tea. Let’s do it together,
Actions represented as unreal are in present-day English express by
a variety of forms.
Among them there is a mood form – the conditional Mood.
The fact that there are a number of forms engaged in expressing
unreal actions could be explained historically.
In the older periods English used to be a synthetic language and
had special forms that served to express unreal actions – the so-called
Subjunctive mood. It was built up synthetically by means of inflections.
As a result of loss of inflections, the difference between the forms of
the Indicative Mood and the Subjunctive Mood has in most cases
disappeared. The place of the old Subjunctive Mood was in a number of
cases taken up by analytical forms and modal phrases, i.e. combinations
of modal verbs with the infinitive. It is this historical process that
accounts for the great variety of different forms expressing unreality
in modern English.
As some of the forms expressing problematic or unreal actions are
modal phrases, it is necessary before describing the different forms of
unreality to treat modal verbs first.
The speaker’s attitude towards the action if the sentence may be
expressed in different ways:
1) By one of the mood forms that serve to show whether the action is
represented as a real fact of as problematic, or unreal, this form of
expression is found in every sentence because it is indispensable to
2) By modal verbs which represent an action as necessary or unnecessary,
possible or impossible, certain of doubtful and the like. But modal
verbs need not be used in every sentence and are, therefore, to be
regarded as an additional means of expressing the speaker’s attitude
towards the action in the sentence.
3) By attitudinal adverbs such as certainly, perhaps, probably, luckily,
unfortunately, etc. They express different degrees of certainty on the
part of the speaker of the desirability of the action from his point of
We find the following modal verbs in English: can, may, must,
ought, shall, should, will, need and dare. Besides, to have and to be in
some of their uses are also classed among modal verbs. A modal verb in
combination with the infinitive forms a modal compound predicate.
Modal verbs are defective verbs since they lack many forms
characteristic of regular verbs: they have no –s in the third person
singular in the present tense and no verbal, so they have no analytical
forms; some of them lack the form of the past tense.
Modal verbs have the following peculiarities:
1) they are followed by the infinitive without the particle to (with the
exception of ought, to have and to be);
2) their interrogative and negative forms are built up without the
Most of the verbs have more than one meaning. Each of their
meanings is characterized by a specific usage.
1) Some of the meanings may be found in all kinds of sentences; others
occur only in affirmative of interrogative or negative sentences;
2) Different meanings may be associated with different forms of the
infinitive – simple and perfect (both in the active and passive forms),
continuous and perfect continuous;
3) If the modal verbs have more than one form (can – could, may – might,
will – would, also the verbs to have and to be), their different
meanings are not necessarily found in all those forms.
The use of modal verbs is in most cases independent of the
structure of the sentence: the use of this of that modal verb is
determined by the attitude of the speaker towards the facts contained in
the sentence. In this case we may speak of the free or independent use
of modal verbs.
E. g. He admires you. He thinks you’re a little beauty. Perhaps I
oughtn’t to have told you that.
He may be in the hall now, waiting for me.
But sometimes the use of certain modal verbs depends on the
structure of the sentence, mainly on the type of the subordinate clause,
and occasionally also on the lexical character of the predicate verb in
the principal clause. This may be called the structurally dependent use
of modal verbs.
E. g. It is obviously necessary that an investigation should be
Christine feared she might not be met at all.
When the use of modal verbs is structurally dependent, their
meaning is sometimes weakened; in fact, it may be quite vague. This may
be accounted for by the fact that these verbs become rather part of the
structure than bearers of individual meaning.
It is important to take into account one more feature peculiar to
modal verbs. They all show that a certain action is represented as
necessary, possible, desirable, doubtful, etc. from the point of view of
the speaker. Consequently, modal verbs are generally used in
conversation. In past-time contexts they may be found only in reported
speech or thought, Thus You should have done it before, or He might be
wrong, or It must be true cannot be possibly found in narration unless
they are used after He thought that … He said that … He knew that …,
The only exceptions are the past tense forms could, would, had, was
and might which may be used only in conversation but also in narration.
E. g. Walker was illiterate and could not sign his name.
When I looked at her I saw tears in her eyes. So I had to tell her
We can’t but mention that modal verbs are of common usage in
literature – both American and English. In this work several examples
taken from the works of famous American and English writers of the
18-19th centuries, such as I. Asimov, O. Henry, S. Maugham, F. Scott
Fitzgerald, A. Christie, O. Wilde, M. Spark and others, can vividly
show you their usage and importance in speech. We guess it’ll be
necessary to provide you with some examples on their usage from
different newspapers and analyze them thoroughly.
The modal verb can has the following forms: can – the present tense
(e.g. He can speak English) and could – the past tense. The form could
is used in two ways: a) in past-time contexts as a form of the
Indicative Mood (e.g. He could speak English when he was a child), b) in
present-time contexts to express unreality, or as a milder and more
polite form of can, or as a form implying more uncertainty than can
(e.g. He could speak English if necessary. Could I help you? Could it be
true?). Compare with the Russian мог бы: Он мог бы сделать это, если бы
у него было время (unreality). Не мог бы я Вам помочь? (politeness).
Неужели он мог бы так сказать? (uncertainty).
Can has the following meanings:
1) ability, capability,
E.g. I can imagine how angry he is.
We can represent a figure of a three-dimensional solid.
This meaning may also be expressed by to be able . The phrase can be
used in all tense-forms if necessary.
In the meaning of ability and capability can occurs in all kinds of
E.g. Right and left we can go, backward and forward freely enough,
and men always have done so. You can move about in all directions of
Space, but you cannot move about in Time.
In this case can is followed by the simple infinitive and reference
is made to the present. But depending on the context it may also refer
to the future.
E.g. He can go up against gravitation in a balloon, and why should
he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his
drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other
However, if the time reference is not clear from the context or if
it is necessary to stress that the action refers to the future,
shall/will be able is used.
E.g. He will be able to write to us from Portugal. I shall be able
to earn by own living soon.
The form could may be used in past-time contexts and in this case it
is followed by a simple infinitive. It is a form of the Indicative Mood
E.g. A man could not cover himself with dust by rolling in a
paradox, could he? But then where could it be? After what had happened I
couldn’t trust him.
The form could may also be used in present-time context in
combination with the simple infinitive to express unreality with
reference to the present or future.
E.g. I told myself that I could never stop, and with a gust of
petulance I resolved to stop forthwith. (не смог бы прекратить).
You could articulate more distinctly with that cigarette our of
your mouth. (мог бы говорить более отчетливо).
As the form could may be used in two ways it is usually undertoosd
as expressing unreality with reference to the present or future unless
there are indications of past time in the sentence or in the context.
Thus the sentence She could paint landscapes will be understood as Она
могла бы писать пейзажи.
If there is no indication of past time in the context but the
speaker wishes to refer the action to the past, was/were able is used of
could to avoid ambiguity.
E.g. She was able to explain the mystery.
In combination with the perfect infinitive could indicates that the
action was not carried out in the past.
E.g. She could have explained the mystery. (Она могла бы объяснить
эту тайну; но не объяснила).
2) possibility due to circumstances.
E.g. You can see the forest through the other window.
We can use either the Present Perfect of the Present Perfect
Continuous in this sentence.
In this meaning can is found in all kinds of sentences. It is
followed by the simple infinitive and it refers the action to the
present of future.
E.g. You can obtain a dog from the Dog’s Home.
Can we use the indefinite article with this noun?
We can’t use the indefinite article with this noun.
In past-time contexts the form could is used. It is followed by the
simple infinitive in this case.
E.g. You could see the forest through the other window before the
new block of houses was erected.
The form could in combination with the simple infinitive may also
express unreality with reference to the present of future.
E.g. You could see the houses from here if it were not so dark.
In combination with the perfect infinitive, could indicate that the
action was not carried out in the past.
E.g. You could have seen the house from there if it had not been so
E.g. You can take my umbrella.
Can in this meaning is found in affirmative sentences,
interrogative sentences in which a request is expressed, and in negative
sentences where it expresses prohibition.
E.g. You can use my car. Can I use your car? You can’t use my car today.
In this meaning can is combined with the simple infinitive.
The form could with reference to the present is found only in
interrogative sentences in which it expresses a more polite request.
E.g. Could I use your car?
The form could is found in reported speech (i.e. in accordance with
the rules of the sequence of tenses).
E.g. He said that I could use his car.
He asked me if he could use my car.
4) uncertainty, doubt
E.g. Can it be true?
In this meaning can is found only in interrogative sentences (in
general questions). Besides, sentences of this kind are often
emotionally colored and so their application is rather restricted.
Depending on the time reference, can in this meaning is used in
combination with different forms of the infinitive.
Thus, if reference is made to the present, the simple infinitive is
found with static verbs.
E.g. Can he really be ill?
Can it be so late?
With dynamic verbs, the continuous infinitive is used.
E.g. Can she be telling lies?
Can he be making the investigation all alone?
Can in combination with the perfect infinitive refers the action to
E.g. Can he have said it? Can she have told a lie?
The combination of can with the perfect infinitive may also indicate an
action begun in the past and continued into the moment of speaking. This
is usually found with static verbs.
E.g. Can she really have been at home all this time?
However, if can is followed by a dynamic verb the Perfect
Continuous infinitive is used.
E.g. Can she have been waiting for us so long?
Could with reference to the present is also used in this way,
implying more uncertainty.
E.g. Could it be true?
Could she be telling lies?
Could he have said if?
Could she have been waiting for us so long?
In Russian both variants, with can and could, are rendered in the
same way: Неужели это правда? Неужели он лжет? And so on.
E.g. It can’t be true. (Это не может быть правдой. Вряд ли это
In this meaning can is found only in negative sentences, which are
often emotionally colored. Depending on the time reference, this can is
also used with different forms of the infinitive/
E.g. He can’t be really ill.
She can’t be telling lies.
He can’t have said it.
She can’t have been at home all this time.
She can’t have been waiting for us so long.
Could is also used in this way making the statement less
E.g. It couldn’t be true.
She couldn’t be telling lies.
He couldn’t have said it.
She couldn’t have been at home all this time.
She couldn’t have been waiting for us so long.
Can and could followed by different forms of the infinitive, are
found in special questions where they are used for emotional coloring
(to express puzzlement, impatience, etc.).
E.g. What can (could) he mean?
What can (could) he be doing?
What can (could) he have done?
Where can (could) he have gone to?
It can be rendered in Russian as: Что, собственно, он имеет в виду?
As is seen from the above examples, the form could referring to
present is sometimes clearly opposed to can in that it expresses
unreality whereas can expresses reality. This may be observed in the
ability – He can speak English. He could speak English if
possibility due to circumstances – You can get the book from the
library. You could get the book from the library if necessary. E.g. “You
can have a million books on our television screen, and even more. There
is nothing to throw away.” (I. Asimov)
“How could a man be a teacher? “ (I. Asimov)
In the other meanings, however, this difference between the two
forms is obliterated. Could is used either as a milder or mote polite
form of can as a form implying more uncertainty than can:
permission – Can I use your pen? Could I use your pen? (more
uncertainty, doubt, improbability – Can it be true? Could it be
true (less certain). It can’t be true. It couldn’t be true (less
We can also find some examples of modal verbs usage in some newspapers ,
magazines or in literature.
E.g. It could be true but it is advisable to find out first what has
really happened there. (Может быть, это и правда, но лучше сначала
выяснить, что же действительно там произошло.)
“Honey, you couldn’t support a wife,” she answered cheerfully. “Anyway,
I know you too well to fall in love with you.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
In this case the verb could is used here in the meaning of doubt,
uncertainty and improbability.
The modal verb may has the following forms: may – the Present tense
(e.g. it may be true) and might – the Past tense. The form might is
used in two ways: a) in past-time contexts, mainly in reported speech in
accordance with the rules of the sequence of tenses (e.g. He told me
that it might be true) and b) in present-time contexts as a milder and
more polite form of may, or as a form implying more uncertainty than may
(e.g. Might I come and see you? It might be true), or to express
unreality (e.g. He might have fallen ill if he hadn’t taken the pills).
May has the following meanings:
1) supposition implying uncertainty
E.g. He may be busy getting ready for his trip.
In Russian this meaning is generally rendered by means of the modal
adverbs возможно and может быть.
In English this meaning may also be rendered by means of the
attitudinal adverbs perhaps and maybe.
In the meaning of supposition implying uncertainty the verb may
occurs in affirmative and negative sentences.
E.g. He may be at home.
He may not be at home (Возможно, что его нет дома).
Two factors may temporarily have increased their caution. (W.
In this meaning may can be followed by different forms of the
infinitive depending on the time reference expressed.
May in combination with the simple infinitive usually refers the
action to the future.
E.g. He may come soon.
The action may also refer to the present but only with stative
E.g. He may be ill.
He may not know about it.
May in combination with the Continuous infinitive of dynamic verbs
refers the action to the present.
E.g. It’s too late to phone him now. He may be sleeping.
I never see him about now. For all I know, he may be writing a
May in combination with the Perfect infinitive refers the action to
E.g. He may have fallen ill.
“What’s happened to the dog?” I asked. “It isn’t here. His master
may have taken it with him.”
The combination of may with the Perfect infinitive may also
indicate an action begun in the past and continued into the moment of
speaking. This is usually found with stative verbs.
E.g. He may have been at home from about two hours.
However, if may is followed by a dynamic verb, the Perfect
Continuous infinitive is used.
E.g. He may have been waiting for us for an hour.
In the meaning of supposition implying uncertainty, the form might
is also found. It differs from the form may in that it emphasizes the
idea of uncertainty. It may be followed by the simple, Continuous or
E.g. He might come soon. He might be ill.
He might be doing his lesson now. He might have spoken to her
3) possibility due to circumstances
E.g. You may order a taxi by telephone.
A useful rough-and-ready rule is that rime adverbs may come at
either end of the sentence, but not in the middle.
May in this meaning occurs only in affirmative sentences and is
followed only by the simple infinitive.
The form might is used in past-time contexts in accordance with the
rules of the sequence of the tenses.
E.g. He said the might order a taxi by telephone.
Might followed by the Perfect Infinitive indicates that the action
was not carried out owning to certain circumstances (expressed in the
sentence or implied).
E.g. He might have fallen ill if he hadn’t taken the medicine.
Luckily he wasn’t driving the car. He might have been hurt.
You are so careless. You might have broken the cup. (Ты чуть было
не разбил чашку).
It seemed to him that the most interesting thing in life was what
might lie just around the corner. (O. Henry)
E.g. The director is alone now. So you may see him now.
If you have got a car and can drive, you may spend part of your
holiday moving from place to place. (C. Eckersley)
May in this meaning is found in affirmative sentences, in
interrogative sentences which usually express a request, and in negative
sentences where it denotes prohibition. But in negative sentences it is
not common as prohibition is generally expressed by other modal verbs
(see can and must).
E.g. You may smoke in here. May I smoke in here? You may not smoke
In this meaning may is combined only with the simple infinitive. In
interrogative sentences the form might is also found when we wish to
express a more polite request.
E.g. May I join you?
In reported speech the form might is used.
E.g. He told me that I might smoke in the room He asked me if he
might join us.
5) disapproval or reproach
E.g. You might carry the parcel for me. You might have helped me.
Here we find only the form might used in affirmative sentences and
followed by the simple of Perfect infinitive. In the latter case it
expressed reproach for the nonperformance of an action.
The form might which expresses unreality is not always parallel to
may. Might expresses unreality only in combination with the Perfect
E.g. You might have let me know about it beforehand.
There was a car accident in front of our house. Luckily Tommy was
at school. He might have been killed.
In most cases might is used as a milder and more polite form than
may of as a form implying a greater degree of uncertainty:
permission – May I call to my mother now? Might I call to my mother
now? (very polite)
Might I take the liberty of pointing out that you have made a small
mistake? (J. Joyce)
supposition – He may come a little later. He might come a little
later (less certain).
The Chancellor’s measures might help towards an agreement on an incomes
policy. (Moscow News).
The two forms are not opposed in the meaning of possibility due to
circumstances where only may is used, nor in the meaning of disapproval
of reproach where might alone is found.
E.g. You may find the book at the library.
You might have considered your parents’ feelings.
May as well (might as well, might just as well) + infinitive is a
very mild and an emphatic way of expressing an intention. It is also
used to suggest of recommend an action.
E.g. I may as well take the child with me. (Я, пожалуй, возьму
ребенка с собой. Пожалуй, будет лучше, если я возьму ребенка с собой).
You may as well give him the letter. I might as well stay at home
“I’ll go at six.” “That’s far too late; you might just as well not go
at all.” (Можно было бы и не ходить туда совсем).
It might have been worse means “Things are not so bad after all.”
In Russian it is rendered as: Могло бы быть и хуже or в конце концов
дела обстоят не так уж и плохо).
He might have been a … means ‘He might have been taken for a …’
‘He looked as a …’
E.g. Roy Wilson, the new doctor, was twenty-eight, large, heavy,
mature and blond. He might have been a Scandinavian sailor.
If I may say so … has become a stereotyped phrase in which the
meaning of permission is considerably weakened.
E.g. If I may say so, I think you have treated him very badly.
In addition to the above cases illustrating the independent use of
may, this modal verb occurs in subordinate object clauses after
expressions of fear as well as in adverbial clauses of purpose and
Here are some more examples from the works of the English and American
E.g. Try as she might, her poor head just wouldn’t let her think what it
was she should rightly remember.(O. Wilde)
You certainly won’t. You may freeze your nose, but you won’t be shivery
cold. It’s hard and dry, you know. (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
We can compare May and Can
The use of can and may is parallel only in two meanings:
possibility due to circumstances and permission. In these meanings,
however, they are not always interchangeable for a number of various
1) Thus in the meaning of possibility due to circumstances the use of
may is restricted only to affirmative sentences, whereas can is found in
all kinds of sentences.
Can – He can find this book at the library. Can he find this book
at the library? He cannot find this book at the library.
May – He may find this book at the library.
Their time reference is also different. May refers only to the
present or future: the form might is used in past-time contexts only in
reported speech. Can (could) may refer to the present, pastor future.
May – He may find the book at the library. I said that he might
find the book at the library.
Can – He can find the book at the library. He could find the book
at the library yesterday. He can find the book at the library tomorrow.
Both could and might combined with the Perfect infinitive indicate
that the action was not carried out in the past.
E.g. He might have found the book at the library.
He could have found the book at the library.
It follows from the above that the sphere of application of can in
this meaning is wider than that of may.
2) When may and can express permission the difference between them is
rather that of style than of meaning – may is more formal than can which
is characteristic of colloquial English.
E.g. May (might) I speak to you for a moment, professor?
Can (could) I have a cup of tea, mother?
May in negative sentences expressing prohibition is uncommon.
The modal verb must has only one form it is used in present-time
contexts with reference to the present of future and in combination with
the Perfect infinitive it refers to the past. In past-time contexts this
form is used only in reported speech, i.g. the rules of the sequence of
tenses are not observed with must.
Must has the following meanings:
1) obligation (from the speaker’s point of view)
E.g. Any real body must have extension in four directions: it must
have Length, Breadth, Thickness, and – Duration.
In different contexts must may acquire additional shades of
meaning, such as duty or necessity.
In this meaning must is found in affirmative and interrogative
sentences and followed only by the simple infinitive.
E.g. He must not leave his room for a while. (Он не должен (ему
нельзя) выходить из комнаты некоторое время).
This meaning is expressed in negative sentences and must is also
followed by the simple infinitive.
3) emphatic advice
E.g. You must come and see us when you’re in London.
You must stop worrying about your son.
You mustn’t give another thought to what he said.
You mustn’t miss the film. It is very interesting.
You must have your hair cut.
It is much too long. You mustn’t cry.
“Andy” – she spoke in a quick, low voice – “of course you must
never tell anybody what I told you about Canby yesterday.” (F. Scott
This meaning is found in affirmative and negative sentences and is
closely connected with the two above mentioned meanings.
4) supposition implying strong probability
E.g. Watson, we must look upon you as a man of letters.
It must be late as the streets are deserted.
Must in this meaning is found only in affirmative sentences. In
Russian this meaning is generally rendered by means of the attitudinal
adverbs вероятно, должно быть.
In English this meaning may also be expressed by means of the
attitudinal adverb probably.
In this meaning must may be followed by different forms of the
infinitive. If reference is made to the present, the Continuous
infinitive is used with dynamic verbs.
E.g. The book is not on the shelf. Jane must be reading it. Let’s
have something to eat. You must be starving.
If must is followed by the simple infinitive of dynamic verbs, it
E.g. Jane must read the book. You must stay here.
However, with stative verbs the simple infinitive is used to express
E.g. He must be over fifty.
He must know all about it as he has read a lot on the subject.
“He must be a Southerner, judging by those trousers,” suggested Harry
mischievously. (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Must in combination with the Perfect Infinitive refers the action
to the past.
E.g. You must have examined the house very carefully, to find a
single pellet of paper.
It must have been his first taste of peace for years.(A. Marshall)
The combination of must with the Perfect Continuous infinitive
indicates an action begun in the past and continued into the moment of
E.g. It must have been raining all the night. There are big puddles
in the garden.
However, if must is followed by a stative verb, the Perfect
infinitive is used.
E.g. He must have been here since breakfast. He must have known it
When must expresses supposition implying strong probability, its
use is restricted in two ways:
a) It is not used with reference to the future. In this case we find
attitudinal adverbs in the sentence.
E.g. She must really love you to distraction. He must evidently
know all about it
b) It is not used in the interrogative or negative forms. It is found
only in the affirmative form.
Must needs denotes obligation.
E.g. He must needs go there. (Он непременно должен пойти туда.)
“I think you must ask somebody else to your party instead of
Henry, Jim” (B. J. Chute)
“Yes, but I must wash before dinner,” Jimmy said and added, “You’re
lucky. Dirt doesn’t show on you.” (B.J. Chute)
I must be going and I must be off both mean – it is time for me to
go (in Russian – мне пора уходить).
I must tell you that … and I must say … are stereotyped phrases in
which the meaning of obligation is considerably weakened in must.
In the sentences: You must come and see me some time You must come
and have a dinner with me. You must come to our party. You must come and
stay with us for the weekend and the like, the meaning of obligation in
must is also weakened. Must has become part of such sentences which are
a common way of expressing invitations.
Must and May compared
Must and may can be compared in two meanings:
1) Both may and must serve to express supposition but their use is not
parallel. May denotes supposition implying uncertainty whereas the
supposition expressed by must implies strong probability
E.g. For all I know, he may be an actor. His face seems so
familiar. He must be an actor. His voice carries so well. I saw him an
hour ago. He may still be in his office now. He always comes at 10
sharp. So he must be in his office now.
They must be satisfied with going to the piers… (M. Spark)
2) May and must are used to express prohibition in negative sentences.
But may is seldom found in this meaning. In negative answers to
questions with may asking for permission we generally find must not or
E.g. ‘May I smoke here?” “No, you mustn’t (you can’t).
To have to
To have to as a modal verb is not a defective verb and can have all
the necessary finite forms as well as the verbal.
E.g. He is an invalid and has to have a nurse.
She knew what she had to do.
He frightened her – I had to yield him my last date before Bill
came. (F. Scott Fitzgerald0
I shall have to reconsider my position.
He is always having to exercise judgment.
My impression was that he was having to force himself to talk.
I have had to remind you of writing to her all this time.
The women at barfed had had to be told that an experiment was
taking place that day. “As a matter of fact,” he said, “I’ve been having
to spend some time with the research people.”
It wouldn’t have been very nice for the David’s sons to have to mix
with all those people in the smoking-room.
Having to work alone, he wanted all his time for his research.
The interrogative and negative forms of the modal verb to have to
are built up by means of the auxiliary verb to do.
E.g. Why do I have to do everything?
Did he have to tell them about it?
“That is all right,” she said. “I just thought I’d ask. You don’t
have to explain.”
There was a grim on his face. He did not have to tell me that he
The verb to have to serves to express obligation or necessity
imposed by circumstances.
It is rendered is Russian as приходится, вынужден.
In this meaning it is found in all kinds of sentences –
affirmative, interrogative and negative – and is combined only with the
E.g. I am afraid you will have to go to the court.
They will have him back. (Они заставят его вернуться)
Did he have to do it? He did not have to do it.
If you go abroad, no matter how you are traveling, you have to go
through the customs. (M. Spark)
The negotiations might fail. In that event the Government would
have to decide what to do. (Morning star)
I have to revise other ideas about her. (F. Scott Fitzgerald0
In negative sentences to have to denotes absence of necessity.
E.g. You don’t have to go there. (Вам нет необходимости идти туда).
You mustn’t go there. (Вам нельзя идти туда).
In spoken English the meaning of obligation and necessity is also
expressed by have (has) got to. Like the verb to have to it is found in
all kinds of sentences and is combined with the simple infinitive.
E.g. He has got to go right now.
Has he got to go right now?
He hasn’t got to go just yet.
This combination may also be found in the past tense, though it is
not very common.
E.g. He had got to sell his car.
A few drops begun to fall “We’d better take shelter,’ she said.
(Нам лучше укрыться).
She didn’t like to say that she thought they had better not play
cards when the guest might come in at any moment.
Had better is followed by the infinitive without to.
We can compare the usage of this verb in American and British
You’ve got to be kidding – American English.
You’ve got to be joking – British English.
To be to
To be to as a modal verb is used in the present and past tenses.
E.g. We are to meet at six.
We were to meet at six.
To be to as a modal verb has the following meanings:
1) a previously arranged plan or obligation resulting from the
E.g. We are to discuss it the following week.
Is he to arrive tomorrow?
Who was to speak at the meeting?
Mass struggle is vital if the elimination of the evils of racial
hatred is to be guaranteed.(Daily Worker)
This meaning of to be to is found in affirmative and interrogative
sentences in the present and past tenses. To be to is followed by the
The past tense of the verb to be to in combination with the Perfect
infinitive denotes an unfulfilled plan.
E.g. I promised to go to a club with her last Tuesday, and I really
forgot all about it. We were to have played a duet together.
2) orders and instructions, often official (frequently in reported
E.g. I just mention it because you said I was to give you all the
details I could.
Norman says I am to leave you alone. All junior officers are to
report to the colonel at once.
The Prime Minister is to go to Paris next week. (Daily Worker,
In this meaning to be to is found is affirmative and negative
sentences and followed by the simple infinitive.
3) something that is destined to happen
E.g. He was to be my teacher and friend for many years to come.
He did not know at the time that he was never to see his native
How was I to know that I was going to meet a raging beauty?
It has been a great blow to me that you haven’t been able to follow
me in my business as I followed by father. Three generations, that would
have been. But it wasn’t to be.
This meaning of to be to is rendered in Russian as суждено. It is
mainly found in the past tense and its application is limited to
narration. It occurs in affirmative and negative sentences and is
followed by the simple infinitive.
E.g. Her father was often to be seen in the bar of the Hotel
Where is he to be found?
Nothing was to be done under the circumstances.
Responsibilities and obligations possessed by the Soviet trade
unions are to be envied. (Morning Star)
In this meaning to be to is equivalent to can or may. It is used in
all kinds of sentences in the present and past tenses and is followed by
the passive infinitive.
Here are some examples taken from the literary works:
‘Tell him to go to sleep’. – ‘She says you’re to go to sleep’. (D.H.
I could scarcely see her in the darkness, but when I rose to go – it was
plain that I was not to linger – she stood in the orange light from the
doorway. (F Scott Fitzgerald)
Must, to have to and to be to Compared.
The verbs must, to have to and to be to have one meaning in common,
that of obligation. In the present tense the verbs come very close to
each other in their use, though they preserve their specific shades of
meaning. Thus must indicates obligation or necessity from the speaker’s
viewpoint, i.e. it expresses obligation imposed by the speaker.
E.g. I must do it. (I want to do it).
He must do it himself.
To have to expresses obligation or necessity imposed by
E.g. What a pity you have to go now (It is time for you to catch
He has to do it himself. (He has got no one to help him).
To be to expresses obligation or necessity resulting from an
E.g. We are to wait for them at the entrance. (We have arranged to
meet there, so we must wait form them at the appointed place).
Sometimes the idea of obligation is absent and to be to expresses
only a previously arranged plan.
E.g. We are to go the cinema tonight.
In the past tense, however, the difference in the use of the three
verbs is quite considerable.
Must has no past tense. It is used in past-time contexts only in
E.g. He said he must do it himself.
Had to + infinitive is generally used to denote an action which was
realized in the past as a result of obligation or necessity imposed by
E.g. I had to sell my car. (It was necessary for me to do it
because I needed money).
He had to put on his raincoat. (It was raining hard outside and he
would have got wet if he had not).
Was (were) to + infinitive is used to denote an action planned for
the future which is viewed from the past. The action was no realized in
the past and the question remains open as to whether it is going to take
E.g. We were to meet him at the station. (It is not clear from the
sentence if the action will take place).
If the speaker wishes to make it clear at once that the plan was
not fulfilled, the Perfect infinitive is used to show that.
E.g. We were to have met him t the station. (That means that we
failed to meet him). However, the simple infinitive may also be used in
In reported speech (in past-time contexts) must remains unchanged
in all of its meanings.
E.g. He said he must do it without delay.
He said I mustn’t tell anyone about it.
The doctor told her that she must eat.
They believed the story must be true.
Parallel to must, had to + infinitive is also used occasionally in
reported speech to express obligation.
E.g. He said he had to make a telephone call at once.
In this case had to is close to must in meaning: it does not
include the idea of a realized action but refers to some future moment.
The modal verb ought to has only one form which is used “with
reference to the present of future. In reported speech it remains
unchanged. Ought is always followed by the infinitive with to.
Ought to has the following meanings:
1) obligation, which in different contexts may acquire additional shades
of meaning, such as advisability and desirability,
E.g. You ought to say a word or two about yourself.
Ought she to warn him?
He oughtn’t to mention it to anybody.
“It doesn’t mean you ought to marry a Yankee.” He persisted.(F.
In this meaning ought to is possible in all kinds of sentences,
though it is felt to be awkward in questions where should is preferred.
Generally ought to refers an action to the future and is followed
by the simple infinitive. With reference to the present ought to is used
with the continuous infinitive or with the simple infinitive if the verb
E.g. At your age you ought to be earning your living.
You ought to feel some respect for your elders.
It was getting darker and darker – all those tomb-stones
ought to be repainted, sure enough, only that would spoil them, of
course. (F. Scott Fitzgerald).
“If you care for him you certainly oughtn’t to belittle
yourself in front of him,” said Ailie in a flash, her head high. (F.
In combination with the perfect infinitive ought to in the
affirmative form shows that a desirable action was no fulfilled.
E.g. You ought to have chosen a more suitable time to tell me this
In the negative form ought to in combination with the Perfect
Infinitive shows that an undesirable action was fulfilled
E.g. I’m sorry. I ought to have said it.
You oughtn’t to have married her, David. It was a great mistake.
2) supposition implying strong probability.
E.g. Oughtn’t you to go and have your tiffin?
The of ought to in this case is not very common as this meaning is
normally rendered by must: He/You ought to know it (=he is/you are
supposed to know it). You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Shall and should
Historically, shall and should were two forms of the same verb
expressing obligation. She was the present tense of the Indicative Mood;
should was the Subjunctive Mood. But later they came to express
different meanings and in present-day English their use is not parallel
– they are treated as two different verbs.
In modern English the modal meaning of obligation in shall is
always combined with the function of an auxiliary verb of the future
Shall is still used to express obligation with the second and third
persons, but at present it is not common in this meaning in spoken
English. Its use, as a rule, is restricted to formal or even archaic
style and mainly found in subordinate clauses, i.e. it is structurally
E.g. It has been decided that the proposal shall not be opposed.
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way
of trade, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise disposed of without
the publisher’s consent.
At present, however, this meaning of obligation, somewhat modified,
is found with the second and third persons in sentences expressing
promise, threat or warning. It is used in affirmative and negative
sentences and combined with the simple infinitive.
E.g. You shall have my answer tomorrow.
“You shall stay just where you are!” his mother cried angrily
He shall do as I say.
The meaning of obligation may also be traced in interrogative
sentences where shall is used with the first and third persons to ask
after the will of the person addressed. In this case it is also followed
by the simple infinitive.
E.g. Shall I get you some fresh coffee, Miss Flour?
Who shall answer the telephone, Major?
Sentences of this kind are usually rendered in Russian with the help of
the infinitive: Принести Вам ещё кофе? Кому отвечать по телефону? etc.
In modern English the modal verb should is used with reference to the
present or future. It remains unchanged in reported speech.
Should has the following meanings:
1) obligation, which in different contexts may acquire additional shades
of meaning, such as advisability and desirability,
E.g. It’s late. You should go to bed.
You shouldn’t miss the opportunity.
Should I talk to him about it?
He said that the status of the Greek minority should be
viewed in the light of political balance. (Moscow news)
He said that this was not a temporary problem. Lasting
arrangements should be made. (W. Faulkner)
Should in this meaning is found in all kinds of sentences. Like ought
to it generally refers an action to the future and followed by the
With reference to the resent should is used with the Continuous
Infinitive or with the simple infinitive if the verb is stative.
E.g. You shouldn’t be sitting in home. Move out of it into the
You shouldn’t feel so unhappy over such trifles.
Should may be combined with the Perfect Infinitive. In this case the
meaning of the combination depends on whether the sentence is
affirmative or negative. In an affirmative sentence should + Perfect
Infinitive indicates that a desirable action was not carried out.
E.g. He looks very ill. He should have stayed at home.
He should have told me about it himself.
In a negative sentence should + Perfect Infinitive serves to show
that an undesirable action was carried out.
E.g. Oh, John, you shouldn’t have done as you did.
They shouldn’t have concealed it from us.
2) supposition implying strong probability,
E.g. The film should be very good as it is starring first-class actors.
The use of should in this case does not seem to be very common as this
meaning is usually rendered by must.
In addition to the above mentioned cases showing the independent use
of should this verb occurs in certain object clauses where it depends on
the lexical character of the predicate verb in the principal clause and
in adverbial clauses of condition, purpose and concession.
E.g. I suggest hat you should stay here as if nothing had happened.
“It’s important,” I broke out, “that the people should know
what we’ve just heard.”
She was terrified lest they should goon talking about her.
Should may have a peculiar function – it may be used for emotional
coloring. In this function it may be called the emotional should. The
use of the emotional should is structurally dependent.
It is found in the following cases:
1) In special emphatic constructions where a simple predicate is not
a) in rhetorical questions beginning with why,
E.g. Why should I do it? (С какой стати я буду это делать?)
Why shouldn’t you invite him? (Почему бы Вам его не пригласить?)
b) in object clauses beginning with why,
E.g. I don’t know why he should want to see him (Я не знаю зачем он ему
I don’t see why we shouldn’t make friends.
c) in attributive clauses beginning with why after the noun reason,
E.g. There is no reason why they shouldn’t get on very well together
(Нет причины почему бы им не ладить дpуг с другом).
d) in constructions of the following kind,
E.g. The door opened and who should come in but Tom (Дверь открылась,
и, кто бы Вы думали, вошёл? Никто иной, как Том)
As I was crossing the street, whom should I meet but Aunt
e) in the set phrase How should I know? (Почём я знаю?) In the above
cases should may be followed by the Perfect infinitive which in simple
sentences refers the action to the past and in complex sentences shows
that the action of the subordinate clause precedes that of the principal
E.g. I went into business with her as her partner. Why shouldn’t I have
done it? (Почему бы мне не сделать это?)
He didn’t know why he should have expected them to look
different (Он не знал почему ожидал увидеть их с другими).
2) In certain types of subordinate clauses where should + infinitive is
interchangeable with a simple predicate in the Indicative Mood:
a) in object clauses after expressions of regret, surprise, sometimes
pleasure or displeasure,
E.g. I‘m sorry that you should think so badly of me (Мне жаль, что Вы
так плохо обо мне думаете).
He was little surprise that Ann should speak so frankly about it.
I’m content that you should think so.
The rules of the sequence of tenses are not observed here. The
Perfect infinitive is used to show that the action of the subordinate
clause precedes that of the principal clause.
E.g. I am sorry that you should have had a row with Kate about it.
He was annoyed that they should have asked him that.
b) in object clauses following the principal clause with it as a formal
E.g. It is absurd that such things should happen to a family like theirs
(Нелепо, чтобы такие вещи случались в такой семье, как их).
In the principal clause we find such expressions as it is wonderful
(absurd, monstrous, natural, odd, queer, singular, strange, terrible and
the like), it infuriated, (outraged, puzzled, startled, surprised and
the like) me, it struck me as funny, etc. We also find he following
interrogative expressions in the principal clause: is it possible
(likely, probable)? , it is not possible (likely, probable), it is
impossible (improbable, unlikely).
As we see from the above examples, the rules of the sequence of
tenses are not observed here either.
If the action of the subordinate clause precedes that of the
principal clause, the Perfect infinitive is used after should.
E.g. It is inconceivable that Mrs. C. should have written such a
It is much better that you should have found everything out
before it’s too late.
c) in constructions of the following kind,
E.g. That it should come to this! (И до чего дело дошло!)
To think that it should come to this! (Подумать только, до чего
To think that it should have happened to me! (Подумать только,
что это произошло со мной!)
Some literary examples:
It is good that the Government should have recognized the opportunity
and the obligations so clearly. (E. Hermingway)
To sum it up, it should be said that as compared to the use of a simple
predicate in the Indicative Mood, the use of should + infinitive gives
the statement emotional coloring such as surprise, amazement,
irritation, indignation, pleasure, displeasure etc, i.e. it emphasizes
the speaker’s personal attitude towards the facts stated in the
sentence. The Indicative Mood represents these acts in a more
Must, should and ought to compared.
All the three verbs serve to express obligation. Must, however, sounds
more forceful, peremptory.
E.g. You must do it at once (Вы должны сделать это немедленно!).
Both should and ought to express obligation, advisability and
desirability and are used when must would sound too peremptory.
E.g. You should do /ought to do/ it at once (Вам следует/надо/нужно
сделать это немедленно).
Should and ought to are very much alike in meaning and are often
interchangeable. In using ought to, however, we lay more stress on the
meaning of moral obligation, whereas should is common in instruction and
E.g. You ought to help him; he is in trouble.
You should use the definite article in this sentence.
Must, ought to and should serve to express supposition implying strong
probability. Must, however, seems to be in more frequent use than the
other two verbs.
Should + Perfect Infinitive, ought to + Perfect Infinitive and was, were
to + Perfect Infinitive compared.
Should + Perfect infinitive and ought to + Perfect infinitive show that
the action has not been carried out though it was desirable; was/were to
+ Perfect infinitive indicate an action that has not been carried out
though it was planned.
E.g. You should have helped him.
You ought to have warned him (Now she is in trouble).
He was to have arrived last week (but his plans were upset by
some cause or other).
The verb will has the following forms: will – the present tense and
would – the past tense. The latter form is used in two ways:
a) in past-time context to express an actual fact and
b) in present-time context to express unreality or as a milder and more
polite form of will.
Will and would may also be used as verbs of full predication (not modal
verbs). Will may be used as a regular verb (wills, willed). It means
проявлять волю, заставлять, внушать. Would s a defective verb. It is
used with reference to the present and means “ желать”. It is found
mainly in poetry and like the verb to wish is followed by an object
clause: I would I were a careless child.
While shall and should are treated as two different verbs in modern
English, will and would are considered to be the forms of the same verb,
its original meaning being that of volition (Volition is a general term
which includes such meanings as willingness, readiness, consent,
intention and determination to perform an action). However, in some of
their meanings the use of will is parallel only to would which denotes
an actual fact in the past; in other meanings will is found alongside
would which expresses unreality in the present or serves as a milder or
more polite form of will.
The use of will and would which denotes an actual fact in the past is
parallel in the following cases:
1) when they express habitual or recurrent actions,
E.g. She will (would) sit for hours under the old oak tree looking at
the beautiful country around her (…любит/любила сидеть, обычно
In addition to indicating an habitual action, will (would) in this case
implies willingness, personal interest on the part of the doer of the
action. Will (would) in this meaning is found in affirmative sentences
and is followed by he simple infinitive.
In present-time context will in this meaning is not common. In past-time
context would is mainly characteristic of literary style.
E.g. Then there were weekends when he would ride over to the house of
one farmer or another and spend a couple of nights on the hills.
2) when they express refusal to perform an action,
E.g. The doctor knows I won’t be operated on.
He was wet through but he wouldn’t change.
“Clark,” she said softly, “I wouldn’t change you for the world”.
(F. Scott Fitzgerald)
This meaning is found in negative sentences; will (would) is followed by
the simple infinitive. In Russian it is usually rendered as никак не
хочу, ни за что не хотел.
3) when they are used with lifeless things to show hat a thing fails to
perform its immediate function,
E.g. My fountain pen won’t (wouldn’t) write.
The door won’t (wouldn’t) open.
In this meaning will (would) is found in negative sentences and is
followed by the simple infinitive. In Russian it is usually rendered as
никак не пишет (не писала), никак не открывается (не открывалась) and
4) when they are used with the first person to express will, intention
E.g. “Damn it!” he thought, “I’m going to get out of this hole. I will
make money. I am an Englishman and I will suffer no priest to interfere
in my business”.
“I said I would do anything for him. We decided that we wouldn’t
This meaning is found in affirmative and negative sentences. The present
tense will, in addition to expressing its modal meaning, serves to refer
an action to the future; the past tense would is generally used in
reported speech and also serves to refer an action to the future but in
this case it is viewed from a past moment.
The use of will and would which expresses unreality in the present or
serves as a milder or more polite form of will is parallel in the
1) in interrogative sentences where they express willingness, consent,
E.g. Will you dine with me tomorrow, Lewis?
“Won’t you sit down”? said doctor.
You’ll forgive me, won’t you?
2) in clauses of condition introduced by if where they also express
E.g. “It’s about forty minutes’ walk from ere and if you’ll come now
I’ll go with you” he said.
No, we are not going to quarrel at all if you’ll only let me
Mr. Marlowe? If you will come this way, please? (R. Chandler)
In both cases will (would) is followed by the simple infinitive and the
action always refers to the future.
Both interrogative and conditional sentences are often actually polite
requests in this case. There is hardly any difference between the use of
will and would here; the role of would is to make the request still more
The use of will and would is not parallel in the following cases:
1) Will may be used to express supposition with reference to; the
present or to the future in combination with the simple infinitive, or
to the past in combination with the Perfect infinitive. This meaning is
found with the second and third persons.
E.g. This will be the school, I believe.(Это, по-видимому, и есть
You will have heard the news, I’m sure (Я полагаю, Вы уже
It should be noted that the use of will in this meaning is not common.
2) Would may be used rather sarcastically to express that something was
to be expected. It is found in affirmative and negative sentences.
E.g. “Auntie Meg has been very brave”. “Yes, she would be brave”. (That
was to be expected of her under the circumstances).
“I don’t understand him and I don’t approve of is decision”. “No, you
wouldn’t”. (I did not expect you would).
The law wouldn’t call it a murder if I shot a thief entering my house by
force. (W. De Mille)
This meaning can be rendered in Russian as Этого и следовало ожидать.
3) Note the use of will in the following sentences, e.g.:
Boys will be boys. (Мальчишки остаются мальчишками).
Accidents will happen.
4) phrases with will and would:
a) Will not have (won’t have) followed by an object and an infinitive
without to means “I’ll see to it that it does not happen”.
E.g. “I will not (won’t) have you speak to me like that, her voice came
b) Both would rather (‘d rather) and would sooner (‘d sooner) followed
by an infinitive without to mean ‘to prefer’.
E.g. “I’d rather do it myself” he said .
He’d sooner die than let me think he was a failure.
c) Would … mind in interrogative sentences may also express a polite
request: Would you mind getting me a cup of tea?
Would also occurs in certain subordinate clauses where it is
E.g. I wish the train would stop for a moment.
I wish they wouldn’t insist on it.
This modal verb will – would is more often used in literature. Here are
several examples on its usage.
E.g. Senor Montevalde had never faced a bull without the protection of a
stout fence, and never would. (F. Harvey)
This Velma was an entertainer, a singer. You wouldn’t know her? I don’t
suppose you went there much.(R. Chandler)
Look where we would there was no rock or tree (O. Wilde).
“I’ll speak to her and tell her to lay off.” – “If you would.” (A.
Christie) (Будьте любезны!)
“And what would you be doing, my dears?” she said. “What brings you to
Gipsy’s Acre?” (A. Christie) (Что бы это вы могли тут делать…..)
Sometimes the boys would play a trick on their teacher (M. Spark).
It would be impossible to build a bridge without knowing it.(W.
The modal verb need may be used either as a defective or as a regular
1) As a defective one need has only one form, which is the present
tense. In reported speech it remains unchanged. It is followed by the
infinitive without to.
Need expresses necessity. When reference is made to the present or
future it is followed by the simple infinitive. It is used in negative
and interrogative sentences. In interrogative sentences need usually
implies that there is no necessity of performing the action.
E.g. You needn’t be afraid of me.
You need not meet him unless you’d like to. Need I repeat it?
Occasionally it may be found in affirmative sentences but it is not
In negative sentences it is not always the verb need that is in the
negative form; the negation may be found elsewhere in the sentence.
E.g. I don’t think we need give her any more of our attention. I need
hardly say that I agree with you.
In combination with the Perfect infinitive need express an action which
has been performed though it was unnecessary. It implies a waste of time
E.g. You needn’t have come. The deal is off.
It was obvious. You needn’t have protested. We needn’t have told
him a lie even if we didn’t want to tell him the truth.
2) As a regular verb need can have all the necessary forms including the
verbal. It also expresses necessity. It is followed by the infinitive
with to and is mainly used in interrogative and negative sentences (like
the defective need).
E.g. He didn’t need to explain.
You don’t need to tell me that you are sorry.
Did you need to read all those books?
It should be noted that this need is in more common use than the
defective one, particularly in American English.
E.g. He needs a new coat.
Does he need my help? He does not need anything.
The modal verb dare may also be used as a regular and as a defective
1) Dare as a defective verb has two forms which are the present and the
past forms. It means ‘to have the courage or impertinence to do
something’ Its use is very restricted. In present-day English it is
mainly found in questions beginning with how which are actually
exclamations and in negative sentences.
E.g. How dare you say that!
How dare she come here!
How many years is it since we danced together? I dare not think.
He dared not look at her.
2) Dare as a regular verb has all the necessary forms including the
verbal. It has he same meaning as the defective dare. Its use is also
restricted. It is mainly found in negative sentences.
E.g. He does not dare to come here again.
She told me she had never dared to ask him about it.
No one dared to live in the house since.
3) I dare say.
E.g. I dare say I looked a little confused.
My son is not in town but I dare say he will be before long.
In Russian this phrase is usually rendered as очень возможно, пожалуй,
полагаю, осмелюсь сказать.
Shouldn’t + Perfect Infinitive , oughtn’t to + Perfect Infinitive and
needn’t + Perfect Infinitive compared
Shouldn’t + Perfect infinitive and oughtn’t to + Perfect infinitive
show that an action has been carried out though it was undesirable;
needn’t + Perfect infinitive indicates that an action has been carried
out though it was unnecessary.
E.g. You shouldn’t have come (for you are
You oughtn’t to have written to them (because your letter upsets
You needn’t have come (as the work is
You needn’t have written to them (because I sent them a
I will formulate few basic grammatical rules applying to modal
1. All verbs are NEVER used with other auxiliary verbs such as do, does,
did etc. The negative is formed simply by adding “not” after the verb;
questions are formed by inversion of the verb and subject.
2. Modal verbs NEVER change form: you can never add an “-s” or
“-ed”, for example.
3. Modal verbs are NEVER followed by to, with the exception of
4. Modal verbs are used in conversation. In the past it is possible
them only in reported speech. The only exceptions are the Past
forms could, would, had, was and might which maybe used not
in conversations but also in narration.
So, as you can see there are in Modern English these modal verbs: ought
to, must, shall, should, will, need, dare: to have and to be can also be
used as modal verbs. May express possibility/high probability (97%) and
permission (3%). The modals used to express permission are can (58%),
may (16%), could (13%), and might (13%), could (17%), will (17%). The
three most frequent modals are would (28% of all modal occurrences),
could (17%), and will (17%).
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1.“The time machine”. Herbert G. Wells.
2.“The Painted Veil”. W. Somerset Maugham.
3.“His Last Bow”. Arthur Conan Doyle.
4. “The Fun They Had”. I. Asimov.
5. “The Green Door”. O. Henry..
6. “The Ice Palace”. F. Scott Fitzgerald.
7. “Donkey”. A. Marshall.
8. “Essential English”. C. Eckersley.
9. “You Should Have Seen the Mess”. M. Spark.
10. “The Witness For The Prosecution”. A. Christie.
11. “The Portrait of Dorian Gray”. O. Wilde.
12. “Ruthless”. W. De Mille.
13. “The Birthday Present”. B.J. Chute.
14. “The Bear”. W. Faulkner.
15. “Evelyne”. J. Joyce.
16. “The Cat in the Rain”. E. Hemingway.
1. “Morning Star”;
2. “Moscow News”;
3. “Daily Worker”.
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