Modal verbs: Asian elephant

2 - The Grammar Bit

The Grammar Bit!

Read the three sentences opposite. They each contain a modal verb (bold). A modal verb is a special type of (auxiliary) verb that adds meaning to the main verb in the sentence.

One of the main functions of a modal verb is to show the degree of possibility or likelihood of something happening. The most common modal verbs that perform this function are will, would, should, could, may, can, shall, ought to, must and might. Many of these modal verbs have a negative form, e.g. couldn’t/could not, can’t/cannot etc.

You can add even greater meaning to the modal verb by combining it with a modal adverb. Some common modal adverbs (underlined) are perhaps, surely, probably, possibly, certainly, always, usually, generally, occasionally and never.

With your talk partner, see if you can replace the modal verb and/or modal adverb in each sentence with a suitable alternative from the lists above.

Scintillating Sentences

1) The doting mother will definitely want to protect her precious calf, so the other females in the matriarchal social group must respect that.

2) A defenceless calf might suffer an injury when older females are feuding, although this rarely happens.

3) The infant would probably struggle to survive in the Sri Lankan bush without the guidance of an experienced mother.

Did you know?

Elephants are crepuscular. This means they are most active before the sun rises and after it sets.