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Function Time Form Example
Ability     Present can   is/are able to She can speak Spanish but she cant speak Italian. Despite his handicap he is able to drive a car.
  Past   could was/were able to Mozart could play the piano at the age of five. Mikes car broke down but he was able to repair it.
Possibility Present may might could There may be a life on Mars. The rash could be a symptom of something more serious.
Past could have might have   She might have done it; she had an opportunity and the motive.
Future   will be able to   We will be able to travel to the Moon.
Permission Present/Future   can cant   Can I use your phone? No, Im afraid you cant.
Past   was/were allowed to I was allowed to leave early yesterday.
Obligation   Present     have to must need to should ought to   Students have to wear uniform. I must get up earlier. Do we need to get a visa for the USA? They really should/ought to consult shareholders first.
Past   had to   We had to report to Reception by four.
Future will have to will need to The Council will have to find ways of cutting costs next year.
Necessity Present   must have to need to ought to All human beings must/have to/need to have enough sleep.  
Past   had to needed to The staff and the students had to evacuate the campus.
Future   will have to will need to You will have to/need to work harder than that.


A. These sentences come from an information booklet about a college. In each case choose the appropriate modal verb:may, must, can, should, be able to, or need .

1) The College welcomes part-time students who work towards a qualification or attend a recreational education class.

2) Students claiming concessions for tuition fee payments still pay the registration fees in full.

3) Late entries to examinations be allowed, but will cost more than entering on time.

4) If you wish to attend a class in English for Speakers of Other Languages, you take our test before you enroll.

5) If you need any advice, your first point of contact is your tutor, and you always access other people through him or her.

6) A senior member of staff is on duty each evening between 6.30 and 9.30, and be contacted via Reception.

7) Students attending evening classes only may not access all our services. We however make arrangements for you to see an appropriate adviser during the day.

8) It is regretted that people with physical disability not be able to take the course that they choose.

9) The Student Council be elected by students from across the college to represent and promote their general interests.

10) The College café is open from 8.30 am to 4 pm and from 5 to 8 pm. Outside these hours, a range of food and drinks be purchased from vending outlets.

B. Choose the correct word or phrase to complete each sentence.

1) You must/neednt save a file before you turn the computer off, or you will lose it.

2) I am afraid this is a non-smoking office, so you dont have to/cant smoke in here.

3) Employees are reminded that they mustnt/neednt use the office phone to make personal calls.

4) You neednt/mustnt send the reminder to Eastwoods they paid the invoice this morning.

5) In countries like Iran, you dont have to/cant buy or sell alcohol.

6) This income tax form must/neednt be completed and returned to the Inland Revenue within 30 days.

7) You mustnt/dont have to come to the meeting if you have more important things to do.

8) This information is highly confidential, so you mustnt/neednt discuss it with anyone.

9) As you are from the European Union, you mustnt/dont have to have a visa to go to France.

10) Drivers wishing to hire a car must/can be over 21 and have a full driving license.


  1. A. Look at the pie-chart and say whether other search service providers operate in the Russian market. Do you check their ads more than once?
  2. A. Match pictures 1 7 with their descriptions 1) 6).
  3. A. Match professions with their definitions.
  4. A. What countries is English the first language? Match English-speaking countries with their national flags and capitals.
  5. A. You will hear a manager interviewing a person for a job. Listen out for these verbs, and then use them to complete sentences 1-5.
  7. Adverbs of frequency
  8. Adverbs the hereafter
  9. Analyze the meanings of the italicized words. Identify the result of the changes of the connotational aspect of lexical meaning in the given words.
  10. Ask your friend questions in English about their content. Summarize his/her answers.
  11. B) Partial Translation Equivalents
  12. B. Antworten Sie auf die Frage, gebrauchen Sie dabei das Modalverb mit dem Infinitiv I Passiv.


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GRAMMAR: MODALS | C. Look at the chart and make sentences using have to, dont have to, or cant.

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