- The basics
- Modals and certainty (+ adverbs and adjectives of speculation.)
- Expressing feelings about the past: would have, could have, should have
- A quick review of all modals
|Modal Verb||Expresses||Example Sentence|
|must||total obligation||You must study more! (‘Have to – versus ‘must’ – shows an obligation comes from somebody else: a law etc. ‘Must’ flows from the person.)|
|certainty||He must be angry: his wife has three lovers.|
|must not||forbidden||You must not smoke crack in the classroom.|
|can||ability||I can moonwalk like Michael Jackson.|
|requests||Can I use your phone please?|
|causality||Drinking too much can destroy your health.|
|could||ability in the past||When I was younger I could drink all night.|
|polite request||Could I use your phone please?|
|probability||Barca could lose tomorrow!|
|may||request||May I use the bathroom…I have mega gastro-enteritis?|
|possibility / probability||Barcelona may get hit by a meteorite tomorrow!|
|might||polite request||Might I help?|
|possibility / probability||I might turn into a pumpkin at 12 midnight.|
|need not||unnecessary / no obligation||You need not worry about taxis…I’ll pick you up.|
|should/ought to||advisable||I should tidy my room but I want to piss my mum off.|
|advice||You should shave your chest hair, you look like a gorilla.|
|deduction||He should fall asleep immediately. He’s been working all night.|
|had better||strong advice (más te vale)||You’d better stop looking at my girlfriend!|
- Modals of Speculation & Deduction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWgZsme6WV0
|General Principles||Might / may / could something is possibly true. This is the one you learnt in the basic course. “Messi might play on Saturday.”
Must when we are 100% sure it is true
Can’t / Couldn’t when it isn’t true.
Should when you expect it to be true.
May / might / could + be + -ing for something happening right now or a possible future arrangement.
That might be Mum knocking on the door
Debs might be changing jobs soon.
Must + be + verb + ing for a true deduction about a current action.
That must be Mum calling at the door.
Can’t + be + verb + ing for an untrue deduction about a current action.
That can’t be Mum calling at the door.
Talking about the past:
When we use modals in the past they are either
Speculation based on uncertainty – Might have etc.
Speculation based on affirmative certainty – Must have been
Speculation based on negative certainty – It can’t have been / couldn’t have been
Regrets about past actions – Should have / ought to have
Might + may + could + have + past participle for an action in the past which we are speculating about.
Why’s she late? Well, she might have gone to the wrong office.
Why did he leave early? He may have started arguing with her.
Why didn’t it work? I really think he could have interfered with the machine.
Must + have + participle for a deduction about a current action.
Bill just left. You must have seen him outside.
Can’t / couldn’t + have + participle for an untrue deduction about a past action.
You can’t have washed the dishes…they’re still dirty.
Carly couldn’t have scored a goal…she wasn’t playing yesterday.
We use ‘should’ + verb or ‘should have’ + participle for something we expect to happen or expected to happen in the past.
If you study a lot, you should pass the exam easily.
You studied for ages…you should have passed easily.
We use ‘should have’ to talk about something in the past we thought was a good idea but that didn’t happen:
You should have bought shares in Google two years ago.
We use ‘shouldn’t have’ to talk about something in the past that was not a good idea.
You shouldn’t have punched your boss.
We use ‘would have’ to add further comment about something in the past we thought was a good/bad idea but that didn’t happen. This implies a definite result of the actions. This is often used with ‘never.’
You should have bought shares in Google two years ago…you would have made a million dollars last year.
You shouldn’t have punched your boss. You wouldn’t have got fired.
You shouldn’t have punched your boss. You would never have got fired.
COULD HAVE / MIGHT HAVE
We use ‘could have’ OR ‘might have’ to add further comment about something in the past we thought was a good/bad idea but that didn’t happen. This is used to show possible results. This is often used with ‘never.’
You should have bought shares in Google two years ago…you could have paid off your mortgage last year.
You shouldn’t have punched your boss. You might have kept your job.
You shouldn’t have punched your boss. You might never have lost your job.
Adjectives and adverbs of speculation
Bound to: They aren’t in love. They’re bound to get divorced within six months.
Sure to: They aren’t in love. They’re sure to get divorced within six months.
Likely to: They aren’t in love. They’re likely to get divorced within six months.
Unlikely to: They aren’t in love. They’re unlikely to stay married long.
Likely that: They aren’t in love. It’s likely that divorce is on the horizon.
Unlikely that: They aren’t in love. It’s unlikely that they’ll be happy.
Definitely: They aren’t in love. They will definitely get divorced. (affirmative)
Definitely: They aren’t in love. They definitely will not stay together. (negative)
(‘definitely’ and ‘probably’ go before the auxiliary verb (if there is one) in affirmative sentences and after in negative sentences.)
Probably: They aren’t in love. They’ll probably get divorced. (affirmative)
Definitely: They aren’t in love. They probably will not stay together. (negative)
(‘likely that’ and ‘probable’ are synonyms but likely is more formal.)
- Do you think it’s unlikely that you’ll ever earn 100K per year?
- Are you definitely going to eat Chinese food tonight? If not, then what will you eat?
- Do you think that you are bound to move to another city in the next 5 years? Which other city would you choose in this country if you had to move away from this one?
- Do you think that driverless cars are sure to be the norm in 20 years time? Do you think this is a good thing?
- Estoy empezando a darme cuenta de que podría haber hecho un trabajo mucho mejor que ese tonto.
- Eso es jodidamente loco. No pudo haber sido Jill quien lo asesinó. Estaban a punto de comprometerse.
- Deberías haberla tratado mejor. El hecho es que eres un mentiroso y un ladrón.
- Debe haber sido tan difícil ser el hijo de El Chapo.
- Mi esposo dijo que debería haberse casado con un hombre. No fue un buen momento para mi autoestima.
- Yo podría haber sido un mejor estudiante si no hubiera tenido una novia con un trastorno de personalidad.
- Tell us about something that you should have done better in the past 12 months.
- Tell us about what might have happened on the night your parents met which they’ve never told you about.
- What could CR have done differently to have more success with their attempt to achieve AUT?
- Apparently the teacher is very angry with you. What might you have done to make him angry?
- Is it true that you would have done better at school if you hadn’t been so disobedient?
- Do you think that all the weird stuff we see in dreams must be your subconscious telling you how to live a better life?
- Do you think you might be changing your hairstyle soon? How about a total makeover?
- Are you a hypochondriac? For example…do you think you must be suffering from a brain tumour every time you get a headache? Do you know anyone who’s a hypochondriac?
- Do you think that recent events might be a sign that we are on the brink of a major global crisis?
- Do you think you might be getting a tattoo soon?
- Do you think it must have been the CIA who flew those planes into the twin towers? In other words… are you a conspiracy theorist?
- Do you agree that there are quite a few dissatisfied workers at your company? Does this mean that your bosses can’t be doing much right?
- Do you think that you might have done better at school if you went to a single sex school? Why/why not?
- If I tell you I want you to study an extra four hours a week… will you tell me that that I must be joking.
- How would you prove that you can’t have been the murderer that killed a local businessman at 9 pm last night?
- Do you think that you should have chosen a different holiday location last summer?
- Do you think you could have been any of the following week you were younger: a model, a pro footballer, a gangster.
- Do you think you might have got lost on your way to the school if you didn’t have a GPS?
- Should your parents have sent you to a private school?
- Could you have gone to the gym more this year if you’d had more motivation?
- Could you have slept better last night?
- Should you have spent more time reading in the past few years? What would be the results if you had read more?
- Should you have invested in the property market in 2007 and bought a house?
- Do you think it must have been cool to be a teenager in the nineties?
- Should Barca have won the champions league last year? Why didn’t they?
- Did you get a salary increase this year? If you didn’t, do you think it’s because you may have made your boss angry?
- Do you think you should have deleted Whatsapp instead of installing it? How would your life be different?
- What ought Rajoy to have done that he didn’t?
- The teacher can’t have been happy when his son pierced his ear? Do you agree?
- If you have an Apple phone, do you think you should have bought a Samsung. (Or vice versa)
- Do you think you might have eaten too much last christmas?
- Do you think you could have organized your week better?
- Do you think you should have had more children?
- Do you think you should have spent more time with your family in the past decade?
- Do you think you might have drunk too much alcohol last Saturday night?
- My theory is that you may not have paid enough attention when you last studied modals. Am I right?
- Could you ex have made more of an effort?
- Could you have done more for charity this year?
- The Brits might have made a mistake with Brexit. What do you think?
- Could the Americans have made better choices with their choices of president in the 21st century? Give examples.