Modal Auxiliary Verbs 1

Type of Modal Auxiliary Verb

Can/ Can't

This is used to

- ask for permission, in informal use
- show ability
- show possibility


Can I borrow your calculator please
No, You can't

She can sing better than you.

You can't be sure what the future will bring.

May/ Mayb't

This is used to
- request or ask for permission
- express possibility


May I sit down?
No, you may not

He may be late.

Must/ Mustn't

This is used to
- show assumption or logical necessity
- show obligation or compulsion


This isn't my book. It must be yours.

You must hand up your report by tomorrow.

Shall/ Shan't

This is used to
- show insistence or obligation
- express an intention
- make a suggestion


I shall make it, just you wait and see!

I shall get married i three years' time.

Shall we dance?


This is used to
- show willingness ( in requests)
- show insistence
- to express intention (usually contracted)
- to make predictions


Will you show me the way, please?
Yes, I will.

I won't tell you no matter how hard you try to persuade me to.

I'll be over in an hour's time.

It will rain tonight.