Modal Verbs (1)

Objectives of today’s lesson:

In this lesson, Learn English with Julia presents to you “Modal Verbs (1)”, in order for you to:

  • discover a modal verbs list
  • see modal verbs examples sentences
  • complete some modal verbs exercises
  • see what types of modals there are


Video Script: Modal Verbs, part 1

Hello and welcome to this video dedicated to the Modal Verbs!

Modal verbs have their own peculiarities.

They do not function like normal regular verbs.

Why is that?

First, because they belong to this category: AUXILIARY VERBS.

They don’t exist in all the tenses.

And when we create negative or interrogative form

they don’t use the auxiliary TO DO

like most verbs in certain tenses.

So what are the modals?

Here is a list of modals.


and in some grammar books, OUGHT TO,

which also appears on my list.

Well, when we use modals?

We use them when we want to emphasise something,

a request, permission, habits or even advice.

And they always project either a degree of certainty,

Is something possible, improbable, certain?

or an obligation,

freedom to act,


or ability.

Well, when I mentioned equivalents earlier on,

let’s say for example:

that I wish to say: I must leave now

in the past.

I would not be able to say * YESTERDAY I MUST LEAVE THEN.

I would have to use an equivalent verb

in this case TO HAVE TO.


In this example:


Now, TO HAVE TO here is an equivalent verb.

However, in certain cases like: MAY or MIGHT

I don’t always have an equivalent verb.

So I might want to use an adverb such as: “perhaps”

or even the adjective “likely”.

If you wish to express the same thing

in a different time / tense or in a different manner.

And certain modals are used to form a specific tense such as

WILL is used to form the future tenses

WOULD is used for conditional.

So keep that in mind when you complete the interactive exercises after this video.

Here are some hints for you in the classroom.

Many errors are due to prepositions in English.

This is one of them

So instead of saying I MUST TO LEAVE NOW *

we must bear in mind that after a modal verb

there is no “to”.



and no CAN YOU TO SPEAK ENGLISH *? Be careful.

Negative and question forms:

Many errors arise there.

They function differently.

In the second part of this video we’ll see how.

And as I mentioned before, they do not exist in all the tenses.

We’ll try and look at that now together.

Welcome back!

We will conclude this video

with a quick timeline.

When I can use the modals?

Do they exist in all the tenses?

And if they don’t, what are their equivalents?

Okay, let’s start with CAN.

If I wish to use CAN

I can do so but only in the simple present.

If I want to express the same idea in the past or conditional,

I’ll have to use COULD

What happens in the future?

I’ll have to use the equivalent TO BE ABLE TO.

I will be able to.


MAY is often considered equal to MIGHT

but you can also say that it is more of a CONDITIONAL.

In the future, I’ll have to use adverbs or expressions including adjectives:


WILL and SHALL are equivalent.

They express future.

They are auxiliary verbs that allow me to express an idea in the simple future.

They don’t exist in the present. They is no equivalent.

However in the past or conditional

we would use WOULD or SHOULD

And finally, to express OBLIGATION,

I will use MUST

Its equivalent is TO HAVE TO in the past, conditional, and future.

That’s it for today!

Thanks for watching!


Grammar Quiz:


Keywords listed in English:

  • modal verbs or modals
  • auxiliary verbs or auxiliaries
  • can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, must, ought to…
  • infinitive without “to” or bare infinitive
  • tenses review
  • to have to, to be able to, perhaps, likely….

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