Modal verbs: Magellanic penguin

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, certainly, possibly, always, usually and generally.

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) Joao thought that perhaps Jinjing might have returned to his natural home forever.

2) Obviously, Joao was delighted when he realised that he could spend time with Jinjing again.

3) Clearly, Jinjing must have felt that Joao was a lifelong friend.

Did you know?

Magellenic penguins are named after the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who first spotted them in 1520.