Mar 24, 2022

modal verb


If you are sick, you ________ go to work. You’ll infect everyone there. Drivers _______ stop at red lights. You _______ finish the proposal today. You can finish it tomorrow. She ______ hear much better with her new hearing aids. ______ I order us a bottle of wine? Sam ______ pick his daughter up from school. She’s taking the bus home. You _____________ smoke here. It’s a smoke-free building. You ________ eat so many sweets. They are bad for you. _________ you mind walking a little faster? We’re going to be late. I’m sorry. I _______ help you. I don’t know how to do it.

shouldn’tmustdon’t have tocanshallneedn’tmustn’tshouldn’twouldcan’t

Fill in the correct form of can, could or be able to as in the examples. Ben could not help his little brother with his homework yesterday. Can I call you later tonight? _______ Tony run long distances when he was a boy? ______ you please call a tow truck for me? My car broke down. (polite) The students _______ to buy their textbooks today. The bookstore is all out of them. ______ you teach me how to fix my computer? You’re so good at it. ______ you ______ reach the customer if you call him at 4:00 his time? Answers: CouldCouldaren’t ableCanWill/be able to

Can, Could, Be Able To Can, could and be able to are used to express a variety of ideas in English: Ability/Lack of Ability Present and Future: can/can’t + base form of the verb Tom can write poetry very well. I can help you with that next week. Lisa can’t speak French. am / is / are / will be + able to + base form of the verb am not/ isn’t / aren’t/ won’t be + able to + base form of the verb Mike is able to solve complicated math equations The support team will be able to help you in about ten minutes. I won’t be able to visit you next summer. Past: could / couldn’t + base form of the verb When I was a child I could climb trees. was / were + able to + base form of the verb wasn’t / weren’t + able to + base form of the verb hasn’t / haven’t + been able to + base form of the verb I wasn’t able to visit her in the hospital. He hasn’t been able to get in touch with the client yet. Note: Can and could do not take an infinitive (to verb) and do not take the future auxiliary will. Incorrect: I can to help you this afternoon. Correct: I can help you this afternoon. Correct: I will (I’ll) be able to help you this afternoon. Possibility / Impossibility can / can’t + base form of the verb You can catch that train at 10:43. He can’t see you right now. He’s in surgery. could + base form of the verb I could fly via Amsterdam if I leave the day before. Ask Permission / Give Permission Can + Subject + base form of the verb (informal) Can you lend me ten dollars? Can + base form of the verb (informal) You can borrow my car. Could + subject + base form of the verb (polite) Could I have your number? Could I talk to your supervisor please? Make a suggestion – To make a suggestion use: Could + base form of the verb (informal) You could take the tour of the castle tomorrow. Exercises: Can, Could, Be able to Fill in the correct form of can, could or be able to as in the examples. Ben could not help his little brother with his homework yesterday. Can I call you later tonight? _______ Tony run long distances when he was a boy? ______ you please call a tow truck for me? My car broke down. (polite) The students _______ to buy their textbooks today. The bookstore is all out of them. ______ you teach me how to fix my computer? You’re so good at it. ______ you ______ reach the customer if you call him at 4:00 his time? Answers: CouldCouldaren’t ableCanWill/be able to May, Might Formal Permission / Formal Prohibition may / may not + base form of the verb You may start your exam now. You may not wear sandals to work. Polite Request May + subject + base form of the verb May I help you? Possibility / Negative Possibility may/ might + base form of the verb We may go out for dinner tonight. Do you want to join us? Our company might get the order if the client agrees to the price. may not / might not + base form of the verb Adam and Sue may not buy that house. It’s very expensive. They might not buy a house at all. To Make a Suggestion (when there is no better alternative) may as well / might as well + base form of the verb You may as well come inside. John will be home soon. We might as well take Friday off. There’s no work to be done anyway. Polite Suggestion might + base form of the verb You might like to try the salmon fillet. It’s our special today. Exercises: May / Might Fill in the correct form of may or might as in the example. May I sit here? They ______ finish the project on time. The main engineer is ill. You _____ want to stop by the museum gift shop on your way out. _____ I have your autograph? He _______ visit the Louvre. He’s in Paris anyway. You ______ park your car here. It’s reserved for guests of the hotel only. Answers: might notmightMaymay as wellmay not Shall, Should, Ought to To Offer of Assistance or Polite Suggestion (When you are quite sure of a positive answer) Shall + subject + base form of the verb Shall we go for a walk? Note: Shall is only used with I or we. It is used instead of will only in formal English. To Offer of Assistance or Polite Suggestion (When you are not sure of a positive answer) Should + subject + base form of the verb Should I call a doctor? A Prediction or Expectation that Something Will Happen should/shouldn’t + base form of the verb The proposal should be finished on time. I shouldn’t be late. The train usually arrives on time. To Give Advice should / ought to + base form of the verb You should check that document before you send it out. You ought to have your car serviced before the winter. To Give Advice (about something you think wrong or unacceptable) shouldn’t + base form of the verb James shouldn’t teach him words like those. Exercises: Should, Shouldn’t, Ought To Fill in should, shouldn’t or ought in the following sentences as in the example. He shouldn’t encourage such bad behavior. You _____ get your teeth cleaned at least once a year. The house ______ be ready to move into by next month. It’s almost finished. Ron ________ to improve his attitude. If he doesn’t, he might get fired. ________ I get your jacket? It’s cold in here. You ________ put your feet on the table. It’s not polite. Answers: shouldshouldoughtshallshouldn’t Must, Have to, Need to, Don’t have to, Needn’t Necessity or Requirement Present and Future: must / have to / need to + base form of the verb You must have a passport to cross the border. Elisabeth has to apply for her visa by March 10th. I need to drop by his room to pick up a book. Past: had to / needed to + base form of the verb I had to work late last night. I needed to drink a few cups of coffee in order to stay awake. Note: have to and need to are often used in the same context, but many times, need to is used to express something that is less urgent, something in which you have a choice. Almost 100% Certain must + base form of the verb Thomas has lived in Paris for years. His French must be very good. To Persuade must / have to + base form of the verb You must try this wine. It’s excellent. You have to visit us while you’re in town. Prohibited or Forbidden must not / mustn’t + base form of the verb You must not drive over the speed limit. You mustn’t leave medicines where children can get to them. Lack of Necessity don’t /doesn’t /didn’t + have to + base form of the verb You don’t have to park the car. The hotel valet will do it for you. Tim doesn’t have to go to school today. It’s a holiday. You didn’t have to shout. Everyone could hear you. needn’t + base form of the verb You needn’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. Exercises: Must, Have to, Need to, Don’t Have to, Needn’t Fill in the blanks with one of these modals: must, must not, have to, has to, don’t have to, doesn’t have to, needn’t as in the examples. There may be more than one correct answer. Shira doesn’t have to drive to the airport. She’s going by taxi. You must speak politely to the customers. You ______ tell Anna about the party tomorrow night. It’s a surprise! (must not, need to, doesn’t have to) Tina _______ register for her classes on Monday, otherwise she won’t get a place in them. (doesn’t have to, mustn’t, has to) You ________ send that fax. I’ve already sent it. (must, will have to, don’t have to) A dog ______ get special training in order to be a guide dog. (must, need to, don’t have to) Jeremy _______ get up early tomorrow. His class was cancelled. (mustn’t, doesn’t have to, don’t need to) Answers: must nothas todon’t have tomustdoesn’t have to Modals: Will / Would will / won’t + base form of the verb John will pick you up at 7:00am. Beth won’t be happy with the results of the exam. Polite Request or Statement Will / Would + base form of the verb Will you please take the trash out? Would you mind if I sat here? I’d (I would) like to sign up for your workshop. Habitual Past Action Would/Wouldn’t + base form of the verb When I was a child, I would spend hours playing with my train set. Peter wouldn’t eat broccoli when he was a kid. He loves it now. Exercises: will, would Fill in the blanks with one of the following words: will, won’t, would, wouldn’t. Will you please help me lift this box? I ______ like to order the onion soup please. The manager _______ be pleased to hear that a customer slipped on the wet floor. _______ it be okay if I slept here tonight? When Igor lived in Russia, he ________ call his mother as often as he does now. I can assure you sir, the order ______ be shipped out tonight. Answers: wouldwon’twouldwouldn’twill Exercises – All Modals Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the following modals: can, could, be able to, may, might, shall, should, must, have to, don’t have to, need to – You may have to make the modals negative according to the context of the sentence. – There may be more than one possibility. He has to take his car to be serviced. The brakes are squeaking. Would you please save me a seat at the dinner event. If you are sick, you ________ go to work. You’ll infect everyone there. Drivers _______ stop at red lights. You _______ finish the proposal today. You can finish it tomorrow. She ______ hear much better with her new hearing aids. ______ I order us a bottle of wine? Sam ______ pick his daughter up from school. She’s taking the bus home. You _____________ smoke here. It’s a smoke-free building. You ________ eat so many sweets. They are bad for you. _________ you mind walking a little faster? We’re going to be late. I’m sorry. I _______ help you. I don’t know how to do it. Answers: shouldn’tmustdon’t have tocanshallneedn’tmustn’tshouldn’twouldcan’t

Papa Dorido was a strong-willed man. His will was made of iron and rarely bent. The old man created his own rules and followed them religiously as if his whole life depended on them. It was rare for him to deviate from his course and when he did, hell broke loose. Hell broke loose in Papa Dorido’s household when he decided to marry a second wife. “I won’t tolerate this,” his wife of twenty-five years told him when she heard his intentions. “I will marry her, whether you want it or not, “ he’d insisted, reminding her that he was the head of the family and he could do exactly as he wished. Mary, or Mama Dorido as she was fondly called, wished she could turn back the hands of time. Her husband had been adorable when they first met. Then, he had none of that stubbornness that sullied his character now, turning him into a stranger who was willing to inflict the burden of a second wife upon her flail shoulders. She’d never pictured herself as a first wife. Neither did she dream of becoming a rival to a would-be-mistress that would compete with her for her husband’s attention. She was yet to discover the measure of Papa Dorido’s will.

A Surprise One morning, when Mama Dorido was sweeping her yard, a young woman arrived. She was tall, light-skinned and wore long braids that reached her waist. A friend of hers had shown her the way to their house, she explained, and she was glad that she’d been able to come all this way. Mama Dorido listened and stared and couldn’t believe how fate had thrown this young woman in her path. Her beauty was stunning, the older woman judged and appraised and felt threatened at the same time. She wondered why she didn’t muster the courage to tell this girl to go back where she’d come from before the situation became worse. “You look very tired. Let me offer you some water. You must be thirsty. Will you have some water?” she asked the stranger hastily and dashed to the kitchen without waiting for an answer. When she came back, the young lady had found a sweet spot on the veranda. It suddenly dawned upon Mama Dorido that this temporary visit could turn into a permanent one if she wasn’t careful enough. She could feel her heart pounding and she tried her best not to betray her feelings when she handed the other woman a glass of water. “We might as well introduce each other,” the young lady started and Mama Dorido tightened her fists because she knew that this was the day when her life was going to change forever. “You must be Steve’s wife.” Steve. Steven Dorido. This young lady was calling her husband Steve. “Yes, I am,” she replied. “Who are you?” she asked in return and the stranger laughed so loudly, Mama Dorido felt ashamed because she knew that there was no joke in her question. “We should get to know each other because we are going to be co-wives,” the cheeky girl, who could be no more than twenty, spat the truth in her face and Mama Dorido didn’t know how to react. Her motherly instinct wanted her to be protective of this child who didn’t know anything about life. Yet, her wifely side told her that she had to act fiercely and mercilessly towards this rival who was about to endanger her marriage. As soon as she recovered her spirits she said: “I can’t let you destroy my marriage. Mr Dorido and I have been married for more than twenty years. This is actually our 25th-year anniversary. Why do you want to bring sorrow into this blessed union? What’s your name, by the way? Who are your parents? Who is your mother? Do I know her?” “My name is Joyce and my surname doesn’t actually matter to you, does it? You shouldn’t be worried like that. Why must you worry about people whom you don’t even know?” Mama Dorido didn’t even know how to answer all those questions. Her own mind was laden with unanswered questions and she wanted Mr Dorido, the coward, to be there so that he could explain why a stranger had had the audacity to storm her house and leave havoc in her wake. “I can’t answer those questions for you, you know. Steve should be here. If I were you, I’d stop worrying though. I mean no harm and I come with really good intentions. Why don’t we have a cup of tea so that we can talk about our future arrangements?”🤗

“Go away and don’t come back,” Mama Dorido said calmly but her blood was boiling and she wanted to inflict harm upon this person who was hurting her for no reason at all. Yet, her guardian angel told her that she’d better preserve her emotions. May she not see the light of day tomorrow, she cursed but immediately removed the curse because her pastor had told her that it was bad to wish ill on other people, especially our enemies. “We must love one another,” he’d said. That was yet to happen. “I will come back,” Joyce said joyfully. She stood up and headed for the gate. Mama Dorido watched as the girl’s braids swayed playfully and relentlessly behind her back. “Papa Dorido will pay for this,” the older woman told herself as she stood up and started searching for her broom. That evening, Papa Dorido arrived earlier than usual. He was carrying two heavy suitcases and he placed them in one of the spare rooms. Mama Dorido was in utter shock. She didn’t want to jump into conclusions but she was staring at the truth. “Those must be the young woman’s suitcases,” she said and got no answer. Instead, Papa Dorido smiled and his wife felt as if the world was conspiring against her. “I won’t let you destroy our marriage. I can’t let you do that.” Papa Dorido did not reply. He asked for his food instead. Mama Dorido went to fetch some nsima and meat stew with vegetables and placed everything in front of her husband. “Everything will be all right. You just have to accept the situation. Relationships evolve and this will be for the better. You’d better get used to the idea.” Mama Dorido thought of her four children and how they would think of this new arrangement. Her two boys Khama and Chiku would definitely frown upon their father’s choice but they wouldn’t condemn him. Her two daughters, young as they were, would understand her plight and might feel sorry for her but they couldn’t do anything for their mother. It was up to her to make Papa Dorido change his mind. Unfortunately, time was against her. Joyce was in such a hurry to fill her shoes that she arrived the following day. She still had her long braids and her wide smile and she sailed into the house with no care in the world because she knew that the master of the house was on her side and nothing could happen to her.

Time to Move on There was no wedding and no official ceremony, yet Joyce settled into her new role with ease. She had a separate wing in the house and managed her own life with her new husband but things were never the same for Mama Dorido. She resented her husband and the choice he’d made with all her mind and heart. “You should leave him. You can’t stay in this situation,” her best friend advised her. “It’s better to live with less money than suffer under the hands of such an inconsiderate man.” Mama Dorido would not think of ending it all. She believed in marriage and staying with the person you loved no matter the hardships that one went through. Would it be wise to leave everything behind her just because a twenty-year old girl had captured the eternal interest of her husband? Hadn’t she worked hard all her life to reach where they were? Would it be wise to leave everything she had fought for for this brainless girl who knew nothing about the world? Yet, the brainless girl had ensnared her husband and she had taken over her life, destroying her dreams and her once-perfect life. Life continued under the bright sun and the thin moon and soon, Joyce was expecting Papa Dorido’s first child. Mama Dorido lost hope about getting her former life back. She understood that this wasn’t a mere whim and that her husband was to share. She accepted the situation and the new wife. Life must go on, she told herself. Therefore, Mama Dorido vowed to help her rival whenever she could. She told herself that she could turn this situation into a positive and productive one and that nothing but good would come out of all this. Thus she helped her whenever she could and in fact, she found out that that wasn’t difficult at all. It was actually Mama Dorido who accompanied Joyce to the hospital to give birth. Afterwards, the women’s friendship was sealed and no one, even Papa Dorido, could come between them to ruin their friendship. One day, the two women were sitting on the veranda, chatting peacefully and tending to some chores at the same time. Papa Dorido arrived early from work and found his wives sitting together. He took a chair from the house and placed it a bit far from them but within hearing distance. “My dear wives, I have a special favour to ask from you. May I tell you something that will change how things work in this house? However, don’t worry. It’s for the common good.” Mama Dorido studied his face and knew that nothing good would come out of that mouth. He was yet to drop another bomb. “I would like to marry a third wife.” Joyce started wailing and Mama Dorido reached out to her and started patting her back, reassuring her that her life didn’t depend on Papa Dorido’s and that she’d be better off on her own. “What is that you want Papa Dorido? Aren’t two wives enough for you?” Mama Dorido finally asked her husband who didn’t give a single care in the world. He rather looked at her pensively, already thinking about life with his future wife. “It is not a crime to have three wives.”

A Battle of Wills He spat on the ground and cast a disdainful glance at Joyce who was still crying. “Stop whining, will you?” He didn’t get the response he wanted so he stood up unceremoniously and stormed out of the compound. “I will marry a third wife and there is nothing you can do about it.” The two women watched helplessly as Papa Dorido disappeared once again only to return the following day with two heavy suitcases, a girl who could be barely eighteen and a one-year old child. “Meet my son.” Mama Dorido said nothing and the eighteen-year-old said nothing and the child said nothing. “Shall you say something?” he asked and finding no answer he summoned the new wife into her new house and helped her find new quarters. Later that evening, the two first wives summoned some courage and went into the house to discover what had transpired in their absence. “From now on,” Papa Dorido declared. “Mimi will be sleeping in what used to be Joyce’s quarters. Joyce, ask Mama Dorido to find you a new place to sleep.” Joyce awoke from her slumber and started yelling at Papa Dorido. “Should I throw you out?” Papa Dorido asked and warned her at the same time. “Do you want to find yourself begging in the streets?” Joyce shut up and yet remembered how Papa Dorido had been so sweet and considerate when they’d just met. He would visit her house where she used to live with her parents every single day. Now, he was discarding her like a piece of rubbish and she did not understand. “I shall never trust any other man again,” she told herself bitterly and cast sorrowful looks at her new born who was nestled in her right arm. Joyce pictured her future. “She will be a doctor,” she told herself. “My daughter will be a doctor and she shall not follow her mother’s footsteps. I can make this work. I will make this work.” The two women did not feel jealous when it came to Mimi. They felt sorry for her because they knew what her fate would be in a matter of weeks or months. Papa Dorido was a contented man. He had three wives and six children and nothing could ruin his happiness, even the sour looks that he often caught on Joyce’s face. Mimi was happy in her own way too. She had a roof above her head and her son had a father and new-found half-brothers and half-sisters. Life was finally good for her even though she was ‘supposedly’ married to a man who was old enough to be her father.😨

Life Goes on She had another son with Papa Dorido and another one. Life couldn’t be any better. Her children were a joy to see. They were beautiful and intelligent and they could do so many things. They made Papa Dorido happy. Yet, Papa Dorido would need one more wife and two more children to be finally contented with life. Yet, life had other plans for him. Life finally caught up with him and his day of reckoning came. He feared he was about to make his final curtain call. His wives were surprised to see him arrive early from work, shivering and crying because he was not feeling well, not at all. “Can you make me some tea please?” Joyce rushed to prepare him a cup of his favourite Chombe and Mimi rushed to his side, making him as comfortable as he could be. Jackie, Papa Dorido’s latest wife started wailing because she was young and she could not handle the emotional toil. Papa Dorido told his wives to gather around him because he had an important message for them. “I’m not getting a new wife,” he joked when he saw the worried looks on their faces. “I’m afraid I might not last long in this world. I have lived a long life and you have all made me happy in your own way. I now have to depart this world and I want to leave it peacefully and with a clean conscience.” Jackie wailed even louder and she could not be consoled. Mama Dorido told her to keep quiet because Papa Dorido had something important to say. When Jackie’s crying subsided, Papa Dorido continued. “First of all, my dear wives. Thank you for your patience all these years and thank you for your support. I don’t know what would have happened if you had decided to leave me. May you live long lives so that you can take care of our children.” “You will remain with us Papa Dorido. You won’t go anywhere else,” Mimi said as she held his hand and wished that her husband would remain with them forever. “It is a tough world out there and I don’t want you to suffer when I’m gone. I’ve carefully thought about each one of you,” he coughed and painfully pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket. “Can you read this Mama Dorido?” Mama Dorido was surprised but she took the piece of paper anyway. She started reading its contents. “At the event of my death, I would like my property to be equally shared among all my children and their mothers because they have been such a source of joy and contentment to me.” His wives stared at him and said nothing. It was Mama Dorido who broke the silence. “Thank you Papa Dorido for taking such a wise decision. I never thought you would come to your senses one day, but here you are.” Papa Dorido coughed and waited for Mimi to speak. “Life has not been easy but we have learned to live with each other. Your decision will make us live peacefully together when you are no longer with us.” In fact, Papa Dorido did not die that day nor the next. He lived long after this salient moment, long enough to take in a fifth wife who bore him three more children as Mama Dorido and her co-wives watched helplessly from afar. That’s a story for another day though. Would you love to hear it?

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