Full modal verb

From Teflpedia

A full modal (auxiliary) verb, is a verb (specifically a modal verb, and an auxiliary verb) used with a catenated verb to express possibility or necessity[1] along with concepts such as obligation, permission, inevitability etc. They are used to express the speaker's opinion of a subject and thus to affect the modality of a sentence.

The full modal verbs in English are shown in the table below:

Present tense Negative contraction(s) Past tense Negative contraction Fundamental meaning (positive) Meaning (negative) Notes
can cannot, can't could couldn't Ability Inability
will won't, 'll not would wouldn't Certainty Negative certainty
may ?mayn't might mightn't possibility erm... mayn't is rare.
shall shan't should shouldn't obligation negative obligation
must mustn't must mustn't obligation prohibition Invariant preterite.

Grammatical properties[edit | edit source]

As a group the full modal verbs have a number of properties which separate them from lexical verbs and, to an extent, from primary auxiliary verbs.

  1. The New Oxford Dictionary of English