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Making requests and giving instructions
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Modal verbs can, could and may
Modals verbs are auxiliaries that add particular meanings to the main verb; express
our attitude, opinions, and judgments of events. They are used before other verbs
and add meanings, such as certainty, possibility, obligation, ability, and permission.
Could you come with me, please?
You may have this book.
He could have some holidays after July.
I can swim very well.
There is no
in the third person singular.
She can dance very well.
There is no
do /does /don’t / doesn’t /
in the question or negative.
Could you give me that book, please?
Modal verbs are followed by the inFnitive without TO. The exceptions is ought to.
They have no inFnitives and no – ing forms and they don’t have past forms. They
are auxiliary verbs because they “help” other verbs. They have their own meaning.
Can is used when we refer to possibility and ability, also to make requests and in
cases we ask for or give permission.
He can drive a car.
My brother can speak English.
Can you help me?
We often use Can in questions related to speciFc requests. The use of can in this
way is informal (mainly between friends and family).
Can you give me my medicine, please?
Can you close the door, please?
Can you call your mother, please?
Sometimes we use Can to ask for or give permission in an informal way:
Can I go to the bathroom, please?
Sure, you can.
The main verb is always in inFnitive without “to”.