IV. Grammar Review: Modal verbs of advice, obligation, possibility and necessity

We can use should and shouldnt to give or ask for advice:

- You should stop smoking before its too late.

For strong advice we can use must or mustnt:

- You mustnt give up yet, try just once more.

We often use must when obligation comes from the person speaking or writing:

- We must buy a gift for our visitor.

We use mustnt to say that something is prohibited or not allowed:

- You mustnt use a mobile phone on board a plane.

We often use have to to show that the obligation comes from another person or institution, not the speaker:

- While driving you have to fasten yourself with a fasten belt.

We use dont have to in situations where it is not necessary to do something:

- Friday is a public holiday and we dont have to work.

We use may when there is only a possibility that something will or will not happen:

- The situation may improve in the longer term.


A. Choose the most appropriate modal verb. There are situations where both verbs are possible. Can you say why?


1. Foreign visitors must / should carry an identity card at all times when being abroad.

2. Passengers mustnt / dont have to smoke anywhere on the aircraft.

3. You dont have to / mustnt enter the radioactive zone in Chernobyl.

4. I think you should / must learn how negotiate in Japan. It would be a very useful skill if you had the time to learn it.

5. You dont have to / shouldnt travel so much you are looking very ill.

6. All personnel of the company should / must wear the uniform while in the building.

7. When doing business abroad one should / must get to know about the business etiquette of the host country.

8. Tomorrow is a religious holiday, so you mustnt / dont have to work.

9. Next Friday is possible. I must / may be available early in the morning.

10. We may be in for a rough crossing, there is a storm coming.


  2. 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.
  4. Adverbs of frequency
  5. Adverbs the hereafter
  6. B. Antworten Sie auf die Frage, gebrauchen Sie dabei das Modalverb mit dem Infinitiv I Passiv.
  7. B. Grammar Expansion: Participles (Participle I, Participle II) used as an attribute.
  8. B. Translate into Russian paying attention to the modals verbs. Identify the meanings of these modal verbs.
  9. C. Grammar Expansion: Modal verbs
  10. C. Grammar Expansion: Modal verbs: the past.
  11. C. Grammar Expansion: Modals verbs of certainty, probability, possibility
  12. C. Match the phrasal verbs in italics in the sentences to the definitions a) j) below.

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D. Cause and Effect. | B. Translate into Russian paying attention to the modals verbs. Identify the meanings of these modal verbs.

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