Hello I'm Emma from mmmEnglish!
So tell me,
what type of words are these?
They're modal verbs.
Now, I've been getting lots of questions
about modal verbs from you lately
so, I'm going to share some useful tips
to help you use them a little more
effectively when you're speaking English.
Now, these modal verbs are auxiliary verbs,
just like be, do and have
because they work together with a main verb.
You always have a modal verb with a main verb
and the main verb that follows is always
in the bare infinitive form - without to.
I could go..
You should take...
They would like...
Paul may borrow...
Now, these modal verbs are used in English
to express something.
They have a purpose!
So, we need to try and understand that purpose today.
Now, they can be used to talk about
possibility and probability.
To talk about how likely something is.
Now, remember you're always using that modal verb
with a main verb.
So, how likely is it that that action will happen?
Are you certain?
You're sure. You're confident that will happen.
Is it probable?
Is it likely to happen?
Is there a good chance it will happen?
Is it possible?
Or is it unlikely?
Now, in all of these situations
you can use a modal verb to explain how certain you are
that something will happen,
how possible something is.
Now, these same modal verbs can also be used
to explain 'ability'.
So, how able you are to do something.
They can be used to ask permission, make requests
and offer help.
In fact there's quite a few different uses
so I'm going to split this lesson in two.
And I'm doing this because I want to take this slowly.
I don't want you to feel overwhelmed and confused,
so let's just take one step at a time.
In this lesson,
I'll talk about how we use modal verbs to talk about
certainty, probability and possibility.
So, this is how likely something is to happen.
Or, if it's possible at all!
And the next lesson
will focus on ability and the other uses.
So, try not to worry about them right now.
But, make sure that if you're not a subscriber
you click that red button and subscribe so that
you find out when that next lesson is available.
Okay so let's start with probability,
how likely something is to happen.
Now, we use 'will' to talk about the future,
when we're confident that something will happen.
We believe it. We're certain it's true.
The sun will rise tomorrow.
(I'm) pretty sure that will happen.
Ashley will be late.
Well... She's always late
so I definitely believe that to be true!
If you don't take a jumper, you will get cold.
It's freezing out there!
You'll also hear 'will' used
to give reassurance when you want to confirm
that something is true.
You know when your mum tells you
"You will pass the exam. Don't worry!"
even though you're really not sure that's true.
She's using 'will' to tell you that she's confident,
she believes in you.
When you're upset,
your friends tell you "It will be okay".
they believe that everything will be okay.
Now if you're certain
that something is not going to happen,
use 'will not' or' 'won't'.
If they walk, they won't arrive in time.
It's too far!
I'm certain that that won't happen.
We also use 'must' when we are confident
and sure of something that is happening in the present.
And usually we have a reason or an explanation
to tell us why something is happening.
The baby's crying. He must be hungry.
I thought Sarah would be here by now.
She must be stuck in traffic.
They didn't eat any of the meat.
They must be vegetarian.
Notice how I've given a reason
for all of these examples to show why I believe
something to be true
and it's quite common when you're using 'must'.
It explains that you are
quite confident about the statement
and you're able to give a reason to explain
why you're so sure.
To use 'must' to talk about the past
when you're quite sure that something happened,
then use 'must have'.
After flying for 36 hours, you must have felt exhausted.
I thought I'd do better in the exam.
I must have been really nervous.
Jack's not here right now. He must have thought
that you were meeting him downstairs.
Now see how this creates the perfect tense.
The main verb following 'have'
is in the past participle form.
So when talking about the present or the future,
'must' is followed by the bare infinitive form
but when talking about the past,
'must' is followed by 'have'
and the past participle verb form.
And this pattern is true for many of the modal verbs
that we'll talk about today.
We use 'should' to say that something is likely.
We're not a hundred percent certain
but we believe it to be true.
They left an hour ago,
they should be here by now.
If they take the car, they should arrive by three.
To talk about the past, we use 'should have'.
It's the same pattern.
I didn't realise he was unwell.
We should have offered to take him to the doctor.
The school knew Sam was going to be late.
They should have called her mother.
Now let's talk possibility.
So if you're making really general statements
about something that is possible,
People can be really rude.
Be careful because it can be
quite dangerous on the streets at night.
It can be really hard to find a speaking partner
to practise English with.
It can take over twelve hours
to hike through those mountains.
Now these are all general statements,
they're not specific.
I'm saying these statements are possible
but I'm not saying exactly what is happening.
Now, in this context
'could' is used as the past tense of 'can'.
I remember winters in London.
Weeks could go by without ever seeing the sun!
So when we're uncertain or unsure about the present
and the future,
we use the modal verbs 'could'
'might' and 'may'.
They explain that something is possible
but not certain or guaranteed.
If you wait near the door on Lewis Street,
you could see the Prime minister leaving.
They might arrive before lunch.
But I'm not sure.
I may need to borrow your car.
Now 'might' and 'may' here are very similar.
There is a very slight difference between the two
in that 'might' tells us that the outcome
is a little bit less likely.
But the truth is that ninety-nine percent of native English
speakers don't even realise this.
So you don't need to worry about the difference at all.
When used in spoken English, you can use either
when talking about possibility.
Just consider them to be the same.
We may go on a holiday in September.
We might go on holiday in September.
The meaning of this sentence is so similar
but the second one suggests that it's a little less likely
- that's all!
We can also use 'could' to explain that we are
uncertain or unsure about the future.
It could rain this afternoon.
It might rain this afternoon.
It may rain this afternoon.
Now all of these sentences tell us that it's possible
but not certain.
There is a chance that it will happen.
Simon could arrive before us.
Simon might arrive before us.
Simon may arrive before us.
Now these examples
all talk about the present or the future.
And the modal verb is followed
by the bare infinitive verb form.
we'll go into the past, back in time.
Then we use these same modal verbs with 'have'
followed by the past participle verb
so suddenly we're using the present perfect tense.
They might have finished dinner by now.
I'm worried. Something could have happened to Sara.
Okay so that was talking about possibility.
let's focus on
impossibility - when something is not possible,
when we know that something is unlikely to happen.
The chances of it happening are
really, really, really small.
When we think that something is impossible,
we use the negative forms of 'can' and 'could'.
You can't be serious!
It's not possible. I don't believe you!
Now this expression is often used after someone
says something that you just don't believe.
When we think that what is said
is very unlikely to be true.
When we told them they'd won,
they couldn't believe it!
He said he was in a band called 'Meatball'!
He couldn't have been serious.
So when spoken, these negative forms
are usually contracted.
Now you will never see this last one
written as a double contraction
but you will hear it spoken.
You will hear people pronounce
the full negative form though
especially to add emphasis,
to make the meaning stronger.
That cannot be true!
You can make it even more dramatic
by stressing every single word.
That can not be true!
Okay so let's summarise now.
If you are certain about something use 'will'
or use 'won't' if you are certain that something
Now if you're confident about something and you have
a reason for believing that
use 'must' or 'should'.
If you're talking about something generally
that's possible, use 'can'.
If you are not certain but it's possible
use 'might', 'may' or 'could'.
So remember that there are different meanings
for all of these modal verbs
and we're going to talk about these more in the next lesson.
Well I hope that you enjoyed that lesson!
I hope you feel a little more confident
using modal verbs to talk about
possibility and probability.
Now remember that the next lesson will talk about
how these modal verbs can be used
for ability, to ask for permission,
to give suggestions and ask for advice.
But for now, keep practising with these lessons
and I will be back again next week
with a new lesson for you.
Thanks for watching I'll see you again soon.
Bye for now!