3 common errors involving modal verbs

The vast majority of my students in 10 years of teaching English have been Spanish speaking, mainly from Spain. Here are 3 common errors with regard to modal verbs. Modal verbs are verbs that most of the time are used to adapt the meaning of the verb that follows. The explanations below can also apply to students whose first language is not Spanish.

1. Modal verbs shouldn’t have a preposition after them:

Many students incorrectly say ‘he can to come at 8’ or ‘they must to go running this evening’. However, all modal verbs except for ‘ought to’ are followed by the base form of a verb (or infinitive) with no preposition after the modal. Some examples:

I should go to visit them.
I think it will rain tomorrow.
Things could have been better.
Someone may have seen them.
They might be home tomorrow.
They may be late.
They would have known if they had gone to the seminar.
He can come by anytime.
You must get that project finished.
I shall hand-in the paper on time.

2. Modals don’t have different tense forms like regular and irregular verbs:

Remember that modal verbs can’t be switched from tense to tense like normal verbs. For example, we cannot say ‘we musted do the homework’ or ‘I will must to study Norwegian’. In other words, they do not have a participle or a past form.

3. Modals cannot appear together:

Also, modal verbs cannot appear together in the same sentence. Many people say ‘I will can go out tonight’. This is very incorrect. Since ‘will’ and ‘can’ are both modal verbs we need to use ‘to be able to’ after ‘will’. So the correct sentence would be ‘I will be able to go out tonight’. This would translate in Spanish as ‘Yo podré salir esta noche’ and in French as ‘Je peux sortir ce soir’.

February 13, 2018
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Mark Davies

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First things first! If you are not serious about learning English, then please look for another teacher! I am a multilingual, expert English coach and English grammar book author and my number one priority is for you to make big progress in little time so you spend less on lessons! Indeed, I don’t feel satisfied unless a student really makes great progress in EVERY class. I have a friendly and relaxed teaching style however it is critical for my students to have fun! I also possess excellent cultural awareness since I have lived in France, Spain, Belgium, Ecuador, Canada and the US. A UK native, I learned Norwegian in 9 months to C1 level in reading during my Master’s degree in Translation in the UK. Let me show how you can make rapid progress too! I've been teaching English to adults since 2007 having taught over 8,500 classes to sports professionals, university professors/students, business executives, software engineers, lawyers, doctors, surgeons and many other professionals. I have imparted teacher-training courses for highly-qualified, elite business English teachers as well as for novice, entry-level teachers. Again, for all these people, my priority was big progress in little time so they spend less on classes. Furthermore, to build great connections I actually personally visit many students for free if I am in their country. I will get you enjoying and feeling good about English. I will instill more confidence, more fluency, more precision, more vocabulary, better comprehension and improved pronunciation. I eliminate grammar study as much as possible by highlighting only key grammar you must get right, thereby avoiding tedious grammar classes. I emphasise: critical thinking, a positive attitude, an open mind, risk taking and giving opinions. We focus on exactly what you need for your specific goals and I definitely will not waste your time on things that aren't worthwhile. Finally, I take notes for you so you can relax and focus on speaking and listening! These are NOT just quick notes in the chat screen: I provide all my students with a Google Drive spread sheet at the end of each session which includes: 1. Precision errors which are corrected by you for homework 2. Useful, relevant vocabulary 3. Pronunciation errors which are corrected in the next class 4. Grammar explanations from my own grammar book 5. Statistical data about progress made 6. Homework tasks So book a trial class today and you will see how you will make quick, real, enjoyable progress with your English, no matter what your goal is!!
Flag
English
globe
United Kingdom
time
471
Speaks:
English
Native
,
French
C2
,
Spanish
C2
,
Norwegian
B1
,
German
A1
First things first! If you are not serious about learning English, then please look for another teacher! I am a multilingual, expert English coach and English grammar book author and my number one priority is for you to make big progress in little time so you spend less on lessons! Indeed, I don’t feel satisfied unless a student really makes great progress in EVERY class. I have a friendly and relaxed teaching style however it is critical for my students to have fun! I also possess excellent cultural awareness since I have lived in France, Spain, Belgium, Ecuador, Canada and the US. A UK native, I learned Norwegian in 9 months to C1 level in reading during my Master’s degree in Translation in the UK. Let me show how you can make rapid progress too! I've been teaching English to adults since 2007 having taught over 8,500 classes to sports professionals, university professors/students, business executives, software engineers, lawyers, doctors, surgeons and many other professionals. I have imparted teacher-training courses for highly-qualified, elite business English teachers as well as for novice, entry-level teachers. Again, for all these people, my priority was big progress in little time so they spend less on classes. Furthermore, to build great connections I actually personally visit many students for free if I am in their country. I will get you enjoying and feeling good about English. I will instill more confidence, more fluency, more precision, more vocabulary, better comprehension and improved pronunciation. I eliminate grammar study as much as possible by highlighting only key grammar you must get right, thereby avoiding tedious grammar classes. I emphasise: critical thinking, a positive attitude, an open mind, risk taking and giving opinions. We focus on exactly what you need for your specific goals and I definitely will not waste your time on things that aren't worthwhile. Finally, I take notes for you so you can relax and focus on speaking and listening! These are NOT just quick notes in the chat screen: I provide all my students with a Google Drive spread sheet at the end of each session which includes: 1. Precision errors which are corrected by you for homework 2. Useful, relevant vocabulary 3. Pronunciation errors which are corrected in the next class 4. Grammar explanations from my own grammar book 5. Statistical data about progress made 6. Homework tasks So book a trial class today and you will see how you will make quick, real, enjoyable progress with your English, no matter what your goal is!!
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