What are Modal Verbs? Types with Examples In English

Modal VerbsTypes with Examples In English

Modal verbs are special words in English Grammar that help us talk about what we must do, can do, or want to do. They include words like must, can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, and would. These words help us express how sure or necessary something is. Modal Verbs Examples include, “I must finish my homework” which shows that it’s important, while “I can go to the park” means I have the ability. Modal verbs are like helpers for our main verbs, making our sentences clearer and more specific. Learning how to use them helps us share ideas about what we need, can, or want to do.

Modal Verbs with Examples In English

Examples of Modal Verbs In English

Modal Verbs Definition:

Modal verbs are types of verbs used to express modality in a sentence. Modality refers to the speaker’s attitude or the necessity, possibility, probability, permission, ability, obligation, or likelihood of an action taking place. Modal verbs modify the meaning of the main verb in a sentence.


  • She can swim.
  • Could you please pass the salt?
  • You may leave the room.
  • It might rain later.

Types of Modal Verbs:

  • Ability Modals
  • Permission Modals
  • Possibility Modals
  • Probability Modals
  • Obligation and Necessity Modals
  • Requests and Offers Modals
  • Suggestions and Advice Modals
  • Ability in the Past Modals
  • Polite Modals

Ability Modals:
Ability modals express a person’s capacity or capability to perform a certain action.


  • She can swim.
  • He could fix the car.
  • They can solve the puzzle.

Permission Modals:
Permission modals express the idea of giving or asking for permission.


  • May I join you for lunch?
  • You can borrow my umbrella.
  • Could I have a moment of your time?

Possibility Modals:
Possibility modals are used to express the idea that something is possible or likely to happen.


  • It may rain this afternoon.
  • She might call you later.
  • I can meet you at 5 PM.
  • The keys must be in my bag.

Probability Modals:
Probability modals express the likelihood or probability of an event happening.


  • It’s cloudy, so it might rain.
  • He’s never late; he can’t miss the bus.
  • Dark clouds are gathering; it could storm.

Obligation and Necessity Modals:
Obligation and necessity modals express a sense of duty, requirement, or compulsion in a sentence. They indicate that something is necessary or required, either due to external factors or a sense of moral or practical obligation.


  • You must finish your chores before going out.
  • Students have to wear a school uniform.
  • Employees ought to treat each other with respect.
  • We need to buy groceries for the week.

Requests and Offers Modals:
Requests and offers modals are used to make requests, offers, invitations, or suggestions. These modal verbs help convey politeness and express willingness.


  • I’m lost. Can you help?
  • Will you pass the salt?
  • We’re going out. Want to join?
  • The box is heavy. May I help?

Suggestions and Advice Modals:
Suggestions and advice modals are used to offer recommendations, give advice, or make suggestions.


  • You should rest.
  • You ought to apologize.
  • Why don’t you call them?

Ability in the Past Modals:
The ability in the past modals, specifically using “could” or “was/were able to,” indicates a person’s capability or skill to perform actions in the past.


  • As a child, I could swim like a fish.
  • They were able to fix the car quickly.
  • Mozart could compose as a young prodigy.

Polite Modals:
Polite modals are often used to make requests, offers, or suggestions in a courteous and considerate manner. They add a layer of politeness to the language.


  • I can help with that.
  • May I come in?
  • Can I get a coffee?

Modal Verb Examples:

  • I can help you with your homework.
  • She must finish the report by Friday.
  • We will meet at the coffee shop.
  • They should arrive on time for the meeting.
  • He may bring a friend to the party.
  • The students might visit the museum.
  • You shall not ignore your responsibilities.
  • I could solve the puzzle easily.
  • She ought to listen to constructive feedback.
  • We would appreciate your assistance.

Modal Verb Exercise:

1. Which modal verb is used to express ability?
a) Can
b) Must
c) Should
d) May
2. Select the correct sentence with a modal verb:
a) I am liking chocolate ice cream.
b) She must to finish the project by tomorrow.
c) They can swim very well.
d) He will to come to the party.
3. What is the correct negative form of “She can sing”?
a) She can’t sing.
b) She not can sing.
c) She don’t can sing.
d) She won’t sing.
4. Which modal verb is used for making requests?
a) Shall
b) Will
c) Could
d) Would
5. Choose the sentence where “might” is used correctly:
a) I might goes to the store later.
b) He might have the answer.
c) She might to go home early.
d) We might going for a picnic.


  1. a) Can
  2. c) They can swim very well.
  3. a) She can’t sing.
  4. c) Could
  5. b) He might have the answer.

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