Gandalf's mum
Would you mind sharing your insights about Model Verbs?

For example, when would you use "can" and "could"/ "will" and "would"?

Why do you use modal verbs in your writing or speaking? 

I'm also interested in knowing how you make choices of modal verbs? 


I'm looking forward to hearing from you! :)


Thanks in advance for your participation in this discussion! :)

Jan 2, 2016 9:14 AM
Comments · 6

Modal verbs tell us the speaker's or writer's attitude towards something, such as their opinion about likelihood of something happening.

This whole area is far too complex to deal with here, but here's a general tip:

If you think of modal verbs in pairs - will/would, shall/should, may/might, can/could - the second one in each pair more 'distant' in the speaker's or writer's mind than the first one.

For example, 'I'll give you the money' is a real offer, while 'I'd give you the money' is a hypothetical situation.  'I can tell you' is a direct statement, while 'I could tell you' suggests that there are conditions attached.

'That can be difficult' is more certain than 'That could be difficult'. Likewise, 'Would you help?' is more tentative and more polite-sounding than 'Will you help?'.

January 2, 2016

You're welcome, Joyce. I've just noticed that there are a few typos and missing words in my answer ('the' likelihood and 'is' more distant). And Happy New Year to you, too.

January 2, 2016

That's an interesting topic.  The main choices which come to mind are :


a) can / could - for polite requests and possibilities

b) have to / must (in positive statements)

c) will / shall - future simple auxiliary


I can't think of any situations in which you can choose between "will" and "would".  Most of the time, only one modal is correct.  

January 2, 2016

Happy New Year and really thank you for the comment, Su.Ki. It is very helpful :)

January 2, 2016

Oops, typo. I would do it. 

January 2, 2016
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