Modal Verbs in English

In English, modal verbs are used to convey various meanings to the main verb.

Could / May / Might: Used when the speaker is uncertain:

That could be the right bus. – This might be the correct bus.

The job you are applying for might be difficult. – The job you’re applying for could be challenging.

Must: Expresses certainty:

I am sure he must be 50. – I’m certain he’s 50 years old.

This bus must be a good model. – This bus is definitely a good model.

Couldn’t / Could: Used for making guesses and expressing certainty:

Couldn’t it be your mistake? – Could it be your error? (Guessing)

They couldn’t be here on time. – They definitely can’t be here on time. (Certainty)

Can’t: Expresses certainty:

He can’t be serious. – He can’t be serious.

This car can’t belong to her. – This car definitely can’t belong to her.

Could Have, May Have, Might Have: Used in the past when there is uncertainty:

I may have seen you before. – I might have seen you previously.

It could have been Jessica on the coach. – It might have been Jessica on the coach (uncertain).

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