24 Modal Aauxiliary Verbs List and Example Sentences

24 Modal Aauxiliary Verbs List and Example Sentences

Modal Auxiliaries

 What Are Modal Auxiliaries?

Auxiliary verbs are a type of modal verb. They make it easier to indicate potential, anticipation, permission, capacity, possibility, and duty with the primary verb.

Modal verbs do not finish in -s for the third-person singular when used with the main verb. The form of a modal auxiliary verb does not change, but the past tense has a different form.


Present TensePast Tense
Must (have to)(Had to)
Should (ought to) (had better)Should (ought to)

Will – Would

The word “will” denote a desire to do something in the future. The negative version of “will – will not (won’t)” denotes a lack of willingness to accomplish something (refusal, reluctance).

  • I will give you another chance.
  • I will play with you tomorrow.
  • They will arrive at 9 AM.
  • She won’t come to the class today.


“Would” denotes prior broad or recurring willingness. It also expresses a current preference.

  • If you did not give up, I would be proud of you so much.
  • Whenever I had to go anywhere with her, she would send photos to her ex.
  • We thought that people would buy this phone.
  • If I were you, I would not do this.

Can – Could – May – Might

These modals convey the concepts of possibility and capacity.

The word “can” denotes capability. “Could” denotes a capability with a choice.

  • He can do it. (The subject ‘He’ is sure about his ability)
  • He could do it. (The subject ‘He’ is not sure about his ability)
  • We cannot do it. (present)
  • We could not do it. (past)


“Can & could” also indicate possibility.

  • The temperature can get low this month.
  • She can’t go too far by now.
  • It could snow later.


“May” and “might” both convey the potential of something, but “might” can imply that it is less likely than “may.”

  • It may snow later.
  • It might snow later.
  • She may come back tomorrow.
  • She might come back tomorrow.



“Must” indicates necessity.

  • We must leave to catch the bus now.
  • He must study hard for his finals.
  • Ally must go home by 7.00 pm.


“Have to” is comparable to “must,” but it conveys a lower level of urgency.

  • I have to leave right now.
  • He has to study hard for his finals.
  • Ally has to go by 7.00 pm.
  • I had to leave then. (past)
  • He had to study hard to pass his finals. (past)




“Should” indicates obligation and probability.

  • You should come home early today.
  • You should not smoke in the classroom.
  • We should visit my parents more often than usual.
  • There should be an extra key for the lock. (probability)
  • She should have reached. (probability)
  • I should have done that to her mother. (Obligation in the past)


“Should” is occasionally replaced by “ought to” and “had better.”

  • You ought to come home early today.
  • We ought to have taken a car. (Past)
  • We had better leave for now. (Had better is generally used in spoken English.)