Use of Modals – Learn Modals for Competitive Exams

Modals ( should, would , can, could etc.) are very important for all the competitive and school exams. They are very important in speaking in expressing a speaker’s feelings, ideas, opinions etc. First of all the question is ” What are modals ?”

Modals are the auxiliary verbs. In order to understand its definition, check the following sentences –

  • I write an application.
  • She can write an application.
  • I should write an application.
  • We must write an application.
  • I shall write an application.

Here in these sentences there is the change of mode ( attitude ) of speaking. Now notice which words have brought about this change. The words are can, should, must, shall have changed the mode of speaking from the first sentence to the last. That’s why these words are called Modals.

DefinitionThe words which can bring about a change in the mode /attitude / way of speaking are called modals.

Let’s do use of Modals one by one.

Use of Modal Should – चाहिए

To give a piece of advice –

  • You should work hard if you want to get success in life.

 To show moral duty –

  • We should defend our country.

To show purpose –

  • Walk fast lest you should miss the train.

Note – lest must always be followed by should not by not.

In place of If –

  • Should you come here, we shall welcome you.

Use of Would –

As the past of will or shall –

  • He said that he would go to Delhi the next week.

To show polite request –

  • Would you please help me ?

Note – To show politeness, you will use the words please or kindly.

To show unreal condition, supposition etc.

  • Would that I were a bird !
  • Would that he knew me !

Such sentences carry past tense and sign of exclamation. The verb were shall be used instead of was.

To show habit in the past –

  • My grandfather would go to temple everyday when he was alive.
  • My grandfather use to go to temple everyday when he was alive.

Use of Can – सकता है , सकती है , सकता हूँ। 

1. To show ability in the present –

  • He can write with both hands.

2. To show authority –

  • The Principal can punish you.

3. To give permission –

  • You can go now.

4. To ask for something – ( Informal )

  • Can you give me your pen ?

5. To show possibility ( 90% or more than 90% )

  • Anyone can do this mistake.

Use of Modal Could – सकता था, सका 

1. To show ability related with past –

  • His grandfather could cross this river when he was young.
  • I could have helped him but couldn’t.

2. To give permission ( Past )

  • He told me that I could go.

3. To take permission/ ask for something in the past –

  • I asked him if I could go.

4. To show polite request ( Present )

  • Could you please help me ?

5. To show possibility ( future ).

Join the Discussion