USING MODALS AND SEMI-MODALS
VERBS IN COMMUNICATION
ABILITY: CAN; COULD; TO BE
Horses can gallop very fast.
She can dance beautifully.
Can you do that?
I could see very little.
You could do more.
Could you catch your train?
They could play tennis quite well.
They haven't been able to win a match since last year.
Being able to do that.
PERMISSION: MAY; CAN; COULD; MIGHT; TO BE
May I come in?
May I go out?
Can I stay here?
Could I go to to the disco with Mary?
Might I ask you not to be so late next time?
I have not been allowed to do that.
Being allowed to do that.
POSSIBILITY: MAY; MIGHT; CAN; COULD:
It may snow tomorrow.
It might rain in the afternoon.
I might fall.
You might be wrong.
Can it be true?
He could arrive this evening if he comes by air.
That can't be right.
PROHIBITION: MUST NOT; CAN'T; NOT TO BE TO;
You must not give any cigarettes
You can't smoke in this room.
You are not to invite him again.
You may not open the window.
POLITE REQUESTS: MAY; MIGHT; CAN; COULD;
May I have some more sugar?
Might I have a glass of beer?
Can you call me this afternoon?
Could you lend me your dictionary, please?
Will you please answer the telephone?
Would you please help them?
DEDUCTIONS: MUST; CAN'T; COULDN'T; WILL;
He must be about forty this year.
She can't be as wrong as you say.
That will be our friend coming for dinner.
They would be in London now.
She should be at home at this time in the evening.
DUTY: MUST; SHOULD; OUGHT TO:
You must respect old people.
She should be kinder to her brother.
You ought to work harder.
ORDERS: MUST; SHALL; WILL; TO BE TO;
You must do the washing up.
You shall bring your homework next time.
You will stay at home tonight.
You are to be more silent in the classroom.
NECESSITY: MUST; TO HAVE TO:
You must study the whole chapter.
I have to be at the station at 4 o'clock.
ABSENCE OF NECESSITY: NEEDN'T/DON'T NEED
TO; DON'T HAVE TO;
You needn't/don't need to come if
You don't have to leave if you don't want to.
Shall I help you?
INVITATIONS: WILL; WOULD;
Will you come dancing?
Would you like to come for a drink?
HABITS: USED TO; WOULD:
She used to play the violin.
She would go to the market on Saturday mornings.
I dare not ask them to come.
ADVICE: OUGHT TO; MUST; SHOULD; MIGHT:
You ought to study more next year.
You must visit the U.S.A.
You should see the dentist at least once a year.
You might try again.
TO EXPRESS POSSIBILITY, CAPACITY, ABILITY,
DEDUCTION Esprimere capacitą, facoltą, possibilitą, deduzione.
Can they understand when he
Aren't you able to drive a sport car?
Are they in a position to compete with other countries?
She managed to solve their problems.
He's capable of running faster than anybody else in the team.
She knows how to cook well. She's very good at cooking.
He must be late. He is alaways late!
TO EXPRESS IMPOSSIBILITY,
FAILURE, INABILITY, INCAPACITY:
She can't play tennis today,
she doesn't feel well.
He's unable to vote. He's not a British citizen.
Iwon't be able to come to your birthday party, I'm afraid.
She won't be in a position to attend the meeting; she's got too many
They don't know how to take care of the business
while he is away.
I have no idea /net the sPightest idea how to solve
He's not capable of doing the job well.
They're incapable of telling the truth.
TO EXPRESS NECESSITY, DUTY,
You've got to be back before ten.
You mina take your umbrella if it's raining.
You are to do it at once, otherwise it won't be possible any more.
If the translation is to be done,we'll have to do it soon.
You'd better study harder next year.
You should give her some useful advice.
You ought to have a short break at the weekend.
It's necessary /essential /vital /important for you to /that you
attend that course. They're bound to accept the idea of leaving the
They are supposed /required /expected /meant to take the next flight
if they want to get there in time. I need/have to get to work early
when my manager is in the office.
You are compelled /obliged to wear a uniform at that school.
I should buy a new car; this one is too old.
You ought to go and see your parents more often.
You rauu'Q, take any photographs in the museum.
ABSENCE OF DUTY:
He doesn't need / doesn't have
to arrive in London before 8. You don't have to tidy your room if
you don't want to.
You don't need to say goodbye my friends now. They will still be
here when you return. There's no need to cook a meal. I will go out
There's no reason why they should be so angry about that.
ASK FOR PERMISSION:
May I take your watch, please?
Mine is broken.
Would you mind if I smoked?
Do you mind if I turn on the radio to listen to the concert?
Will you allow / permit me to change this $50 cheque, please? Can/
could I open the window, please? Is it OK / all right if I use your
computer to write my letter? Do you think I could go on holiday with
them? I wonder if I could join you at the party tonight. Would it be
possible to go out with my friends? Might I go for a short swim
before breakfast tomorrow? Does it matter it' I go and look for some
books in the library?
DENY A PERMISSION:
I'm afraid I can't allow you
to do that.
I'm afraid you may not enter the competion. Sorry, but you can't/mustn't
I'd rather you didn't smoke.
Actually you're not allowed / permitted to enter that room.
TO EXPRESS ORDERS; MANDATORY
Send Peter a birthday card.
He's expecting one.
Do not park outside my garage door. I've got to go out early
tomorrow. Please, come quickly.
No smoking here. It's strictly forbidden.
You can't smoke here. It's not allowed.
Buy Mary a nice bunch of flowers, will you?
May I stay here till Thursday? Please do. We like your company. Why
don't you offer your guests some cake and tea? Do be quiet and stop
You are to help me! My guests are arriving and dinner isn't ready
yet. I insist on your coming next week. You promised me you would.
TO EXPRESS DENIAL AND
You can't drive so fast in the
You mustn't cat so much: it's dangerous for your health.
Don't park your car there. It's the entrance to a garage.
Passengers arc prohibited from standing up before the aircraft has
stopped moving. It's important / vital / essential that she shouldn't
/ for her not to miss that occasion. You'd better not take so many
medicines without your doctor's prescription. He's not supposed /
meant to take the car without informing the owner. They're forbidden
to leave the school without their parents' permission.
TO EXPRESS REQUESTS:
Would you mind taking me to my
office? Something's wrong with my car. Would you mind if I left now?
I'm not feeling very well.
I wonder if you'd mind answering the telephone and taking messages
when I'm out. Could you bring me some aspirins when you come? I've
got a bad cold. Would you change me some money at the nearest bank,
please? Would you like to take off your coat? It's very hot.
I'd like to have some more coffee.
I wonder if you could reserve two return seats on flight BA 345 for
Would you do me a big favour and repair my bike for tomorrow?
I wondered / was wondering if you'd mind meeting my mother at the
station at 2 o'clock? Do you think you could ask the doctor to come
and visit my husband as soon as possible? Could I ask you to bring
me another glass of sherry?
I wish you would arrive on time the next time we have a meeting. If
you could just leave your luggage here.
Would you be so kind as to give me some information about
sightseeing tours in Boston? Let me take your raincoat.
Shall I take your umbrella? It's pouring with rain and I forgot
TO EXPRESS INVITATIONS/PROPOSALS:
Can we play tennis tomorrow
I was wondering whether you would stay for the weekend.
Would you like to come to the concert on Saturday?
Shall we go to the swimming pool?
Let's have a drink.
What about going to the pub?
Wouldn't it be a good idea to meet / if we met at the sports club
and went to the restaurant from there? Why don't we spend our
weekend in Paris, dear?
Do you want to come and play chess with us?
Do you feel like coming round for a drink tonight?
ACCEPT TO DO SOMETHING:
Yes, certainly. We'll be happy
to accept your invitation. Yes, of course. Your plans suit me very
well. Yes, sure. I completely agree with you. Yes, all right. I'll
be there at the time you said.
TO REFUSE IN A POLITE WAY/WITH
COURTESY/IN A COURTEOUS MANNER
I'm afraid I can't be there
for your birthday. Thanks all the same.
Sorry, but it won't be possible to join you at the stadium for the
match. What a pity! I've already accepted another job at Barclays
Bank. I'd really like to, but I'm always busy on Thursday afternoon.
tJnfortunalely it would be rather dilicull to spend my summer
holidays with you. Well, actually I don't feel like going on the day
trip on Sunday. It would be too tiring.
RIFIUTARE IN MODO DECISO
No, certainly not. I can't help you.
No, it's out of question. I can't meet you on Saturday morning. I
have to go to the dentist. No, I'm not going to accept your proposal.
No, I won't give you any money for horseriding.
No, I refuse. Your project isn't worth explaining to all the other
It may rain in a minute.
He may have phoned while you were out cutting the grass.
They might have come if you had invited them. Maybe/ perhaps the
economic crisis will end soon. You're likely to find the new film a
What's on TV tonight? - A new U2 concert. That should be very good.
I daresay / expect / presume / suppose / they are right. It'll
probably snow this evening.
He must be coming for the annual dinner.
She's expected to arrive this afternoon for the press conference. I
suppose you're right.
If only I knew what to do in this difficult situation.
If you happen/ chance to meet them, tell them to come to my party.
If by chance you see him, ask him for further details about that. If
they should hear about it, they would probably be shocked. Should
there be any difficulty we could always come another day. Be careful!
You might slip and fall.
What if it rained tomorrow afternoon?
Just imagine/ Supposing nobody came to your party. I wonder what
that film is like.
ESPRIMERE DUBBIO, INCREDULITA'
I don't know if they will pass this difficult examination. Perhaps /
maybe she's right. Who can tell? I doubt she will succeed.
I doubt whether he will come on time.
I'm not quite sure that she should buy that expensive fur coat.
I'm not certain that they will buy that old cottage near Cambridge.
I can't believe they will move here from Germany. No, it's not true!
They couldn't have stolen the money.
Oh no, not again! You haven't failed your driving test again, have
you? He can't be repairing his motorcycle again! It's incredible/
unbelievable. They've failed the exam again. I can't give credit to
such dubious news. I've always entertained doubts about her
sincerity. I'm not assured of their innocence.
I'm sorry / I regret that my friends aren't here yet. I'm sorry not
to have nlct her.
I wish they were here today.
I'd like them to be here with all of us.
I'm sorry that they didn't come yesterday.
I wish she had bought more food for her party. I'd rather they hadn't
come for Christmas.
We are very sorry that they were injured in the accident.
We should have liked to have moved house before. Our old house was
too small and uncomfortable.
They were sorry they hadn't told the police about the robbery. They
regretted not having told the police about the robbery. It's a pity
/ a shame that she didn't come yesterday. Unfortunately / I'm afraid
I won't be able to come. I wish I hadn't seen that film. It was
awful. I feel awful about not having invited the Smiths to dinner.
It's nothing to do with me.
It's all the same to me.
I don't care at all / I don't mind what happens. So what? / Well,
what about it? / Who cares? It's none of my business.
What a horrible film!
I'm not pleased with it.
This isn't what I wanted / meant / had in mind. It won't do!
That was foolish / thoughtless / silly of you. It doesn't matter to
me where we eat.
ESPRIMERE AUGURIO, SPERANZA
I wish you success / I hope you'll succeed.
Would you like to come to the cinema with your friends? Does she
wish me to stay?
Enjoy yourself. / Have fun.
I wish he could understand the real problem. I wish she would fall
in love with me. They'd rather not remember what happened.
CONSOLAZIONE, INCORAGGIAMENTO, DISPONIBILITA':
Come on, pull yourself together, don't worry. I'm sure it's just a
matter of harder work. That's all right / Everything's in order. It
must have been a terrible shock.
Shall I help you with your test?
I don't mind / I wouldn't mind doing the washing up. That's nothing
to worry about.
You can thank your lucky stars. What a relief! At last we've clone
it. I'm so glad that everything's all right.
ESPRIMERE SCUSE, PERDONO,
Excuse me, I must get off the bus at the next stop.
I'm terribly / extremely / awfully / very sorry about forgetting the
meeting. I apologize / do apologize for not telling you before. I
feel sorry about being late.
I feel awful about forgetting Helen's birthday.
Please, forgive me for my mistakes.
Please, accept my apologies for being so rude. I beg your pardon /
what do you mean? Would / could you repeat that please?
That's all right / never mind / it doesn't matter.
Don't mention it! / I quite understand / You couldn't help it / It
can't be helped! / It was not your fault /
Forget about it!
Don't worry about it!
I'm very grateful to you for your help. You're welcome.
Thanks very much / a lot for your invitation. It's so kind of you.
That would be very kind of you.
PARLARE DI INTENZIONI,
I'm going to buy a new dress.
I am moving house next week.
They are planning to go abroad with their parents.
We mean to buy some new furniture.
They have made up their minds to go to the mountains. They chose to
stay where they were.
I'm willing to see you next month at the meeting in Florida. You are
due to make an official speech at the end of the meal. I've decided
to study harder.
I intend to get a good job.
I'm thinking of/about studying economics at university. We're
contemplating going to Greece for our holidays. I plan to buy a new
I have a good mind to tell your parents about that.
It would be lovely to be with her.
Just imagine if we could go to the Maldives for our holidays! They
are looking forward to going on holiday.
She's been longing to get married ever since she first met him. I
can't wait, that trip will be marvellous!
How about that film everybody's talking about? Why not see it? How
astonishing / surprising / amazing / funny to see John here! Who /
what / why / how / where / when / on earth is that? I'm surprised
that he hasn't invited us.
ESPRIMERE FORMULE PERSUASIVE E
you sure? Oh! I can assure you it's true.
Do you think you could repeat that, please?
There's no doubt whatever about what he said being true. You wouldn't
like that, would you? I want to ask you a small favour.
I wondered / I was wondering whether you could help me. I'll be glad
to help, within reason. I'd help if I could, of course.
I'd love to see you at the meeting. If you see what I mean.
RICHIEDERE ESPRIMERE OPINIONI
What do you think of/about Julia's new hat?
What about going to the cinema?
What's your opinion on that point?
Do you agree with what he said?
Are you in favour of nuclear disarmament?
I think / reckon / presume / believe that the economy will improve.
What I think / believe is that the government has made a bad mistake.
In my opinion / to my mind / according to me / as for me / from my
part / from my point of view I would say that the company should
spend more of its profits on charity.
I'd say that you're right.
It seems to me that is a good idea.
What a horrible film!
I'm not pleased with it.
Well, personally I think / I believe / I feel that everybody ought
to know what is happening. I don't think that's right.
As far as I can see the opposite is true.
As far as I'm concerned that's tine.
I'm convinced that the policies are wrong.
I hate staying in that place in the summer.
It's not good / very interesting.
It's terrible / awful.
I don't like / I dislike playing football.
I can't bear / stand playing volleyball.
I'm fed up with school.
ESPRIMERE LA CAUSA DI
She didn't come since / because / as she wasn't interested in the
lessons. She's glad it's snowing, as she's got a lot of work to do
at home. They didn't want to come because of the rain.
Owing to the bad weather conditions the flight was cancelled. He's
sorry about being so late.
Thank you for helping me with my work.
ESPRIMERE LO SSCOPO DI
Why did you reserve seats on tomorrow's flight for London'? To
attend the official opening of Parliament. They've got up early so
as to de their shopping before going to work. I've left this letter
on her desk for her to read.
I've left this letter on her desk so that she may / can read it.
f in order that she may / can read it.
ESPRIMERE LA CONSEGUENZA DI
She failed to wake me up so I was late.
It was so expensive that hardly anyone could afford it.
She was so stupid as to inform everybody about what he had done. He
was silly enough not to have paid his fare.
He spoke with such a strange accent that everyone thought he might
be a spy.
ESPRIMERE APPROVAZIONE /
That's good / fine / right. I'm glad about that. That's not had.
Quite right / well done / what a success. I really admire your
results. She couldn't have done better in her philosophy exam. You
can rely /count on me.
I'd like to support your proposal at the meeting. This is exactly
what I think.
That's absolutely true.
I take your point.
I have no objections.
I approve/thoroughly approve of restoring the old museum. Yes, I
agree / I quite agree / I completely agree. Yes, let's do that.
Surely /certainly /go ahead. OK /all right /sure.
That's exactly what I would do or say, if I were you. Yes, if you
I don't mind helping you.
I'm (all) for / I'm in favour of going to the theatre on Sunday. Why
not? I'm glad/pleased about your results in the test. It looks /
sounds / tastes / smells / feels nice. That / it sounds like a good
I'll go along with you on that.
ESPRIMERE DISAPPROVAZIONE /
I don't like the colour of his car.
I didn't enjoy the concert / I don't think much of the conductor.
They don't care for tennis at all. She drives very fast. Is it
really necessary to go so fast? Why on earth did they do that?
Nonsense! you can't do that!You shouldn't have come.
It's not very pleasant / nice / funny / interesting / amusing / to
ski so fast.
I don't approve / I disapprove of people jumping the queue.
I differ with you on /about / over that.
I'm afraid I don't agree with him on that point.
I don't believe it's true that everybody has that idea.
I'm sorry, but I don't share your opinion about the government's
I can't go along with you on this point. I take a different view of
the question. I disagree entirely.
I can't accept what you propose. I'm afraid I can't follow you. No,
I would say his proposal isn't that attractive.
Let's say I have a different point of view / way of looking at it.
Aren't they forgetting the main point? Do you really think so?
Wouldn't you say this is a very serious problem?
Are you sure you have understood the whole question? I think you
must be out of your mind.
I haven't the faintest idea what he's talking about. Have you made
up your mind yet?
Would you do that? I have the opposite idea.
I was under the impression that the alternatives could be very
different. Have you reached a decision? No, I haven't, not yet. I
wouldn't say that /I'm not so sure you're right. I wonder if the pub
is open yet.
But don't you think it's important for everybody to know? Well, I
think most people should know.
But, on the other hand, telling everybody might be a mistake. I'm
against capital punishment. How on earth can you say that? You must
I'm inclined to disagree with you. I'm not sure you're right there.
I see no valid reasons for supporting the proposal.
What a beautiful house!
How marvellous! It's such a nice dress! I just love your new flat.
Absolutely great / wonderful / splendid! It's absolutely fascinating
/ terrific! I can't tell you what a pleasure it is! How exciting /quite
extraordinary! That's a great /good idea!
ESPRIMERE LAMENTELE, PROTESTE,
Why didn't you go to school?
I have a complaint to make.
I'd like to make a complaint about /I'd like to complain about /I
want to complain that /about the terrible noise the children make.
I'm sorry to have to say that I can't help you at all.
I really must protest about the awful smell from that factory.
Beware of the dog.
They are dangerous; I'm warning you / I warn you.
Let me warn you about /against walking in that part of town late at
night. Look! This isn't what I was supposed to think.
I'm not satisfied with your work.
This is riot wholly satisfactory.
I've just about had enough /I've had enough of doirw , all your work
for you! Come on! How dare Vol[,
This is really going too far!
`Mind out! / Watch out: / Look out!
RICHIEDERE / ESPRIMERE
I like this dress, not the one you wore yesterday.
It would be fun to play rugby instead of football.
I like going to rock concerts, not classical concerts.
They are very keen on tennis, but not on golf.
I'd rather stay here / I'd prefer to stay here under the tree and
watch the sun set over the sea. Would you prefer to have dinner with
me by candlelight?
Would you rather have tea or coffee?
Which would you like with your tea, lemon or milk?
ESPRIMERE SUGGERIMENTI /
CONSIGLI / RACCOMANDAZIONI:
If I were you I shouldn't worry about that. Why don't you talk to
him'? You shouldn't smoke so much.
You ought to apologize to them about your behaviour.
May / could I raise a point about what you said?
Why don't you wait until they come back?
Would you like a drink? / 114m about a lager?
What would you say to a glass of champagne?
You ought to / should add some more eggs and butter to your cake.
Can't you / couldn't you apply for the position of hotel manager?
Perhaps you'd be interested in attending my wife's lecture on Harold
Pinter. Does it matter if I go and look for some books in the
library? Have you ever thought of / considered changing your
nationality? You'd better not drive so fast.
You could always change your car if you want. You can surely afford
a new one. I advise / I'd advise you to get to work much earlier
than usual. If you ask me / If you want / take my advice, you should
accept their offer. The best thing for you to do is to tell them the
I've got a great /good idea, we could get Julian a new camera for
his birthday. Wouldn't it be a good idea to tell them about the
How does the idea of going to the cinema strike you?
Have you tried asking her to come to your house?
If I might make a suggestion, we could go to that new Chinese
restaurant in Duke Street. Don't forget to lock the door.
Remember to turn the lights off.
Make sure the window is closed.
CHIEDERE CONSIGLIO /
What would you do in my position / if you were me? What do you
reckon I should do?
What do you think would be the best thing for me to do?
I wonder if you could explain how this computer works.
I'm interested in knowing more about holidays in the Greek islands.
How exactly do you get to the station from here?