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 shouldnโ€™t have a preposition after them:

Many students incorrectly say โ€˜he can to come at 8โ€™ or โ€˜they must to go running this eveningโ€™. However, all modal verbs except for โ€˜ought toโ€™ 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 donโ€™t have different tense forms like regular and irregular verbs:

Remember that modal verbs canโ€™t be switched from tense to tense like normal verbs. For example, we cannot say โ€˜we musted do the homeworkโ€™ or โ€˜I will must to study Norwegianโ€™. 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 โ€˜I will can go out tonightโ€™. This is very incorrect. Since โ€˜willโ€™ and โ€˜canโ€™ are both modal verbs we need to use โ€˜to be able toโ€™ after โ€˜willโ€™. So the correct sentence would be โ€˜I will be able to go out tonightโ€™. This would translate in Spanish as โ€˜Yo podrรฉ salir esta nocheโ€™ and in French as โ€˜Je peux sortir ce soirโ€™.

February 13, 2018
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๐Ÿ… Mark D ๐Ÿš€ SPEND ZERO TIME STUDYING | Business English | English with Life Coaching | English for Introverts | Since 2007 ๐Ÿ†

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๐Ÿ“น ๐„๐๐†๐‹๐ˆ๐’๐‡ ๐˜๐Ž๐”๐“๐”๐๐„ ๐‚๐‡๐€๐๐๐„๐‹: https://bit.ly/3Q57zmO ๐Ÿ’ฅ Transform your work/personal life & your English simultaneously ๐Ÿ’š Spend ZERO time studying using a method backed by science ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซโญ๏ธ๐–๐‡๐˜ ๐Œ๐€๐‘๐Š??โญ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซ ๐€๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐ž ๐‹ ๐ฌ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ: "Beyond 5 stars! I feel much more ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐Ÿ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ in speaking and ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐š๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐œ about each session". ๐Œ๐จ๐ง๐ญ๐ฌ๐ž ๐‘ ๐ฌ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ: "I wouldn't have found a better teacher: ๐ค๐ข๐ง๐, ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ in my progress and very ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฉ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐›๐ฅ๐ž with the tasks he gives me". ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซโญ๏ธ๐‘๐„๐’๐”๐‹๐“๐’ ๐“๐Ž ๐„๐—๐๐„๐‚๐“โญ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซ ๐–๐ˆ๐“๐‡๐ˆ๐ ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ ๐‚๐‹๐€๐’๐’๐„๐’ I will transform your English in the following areas: ๐Ÿ’– - ๐‚๐จ๐ง๐Ÿ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž for any challenge ๐Ÿ’– - ๐†๐ซ๐š๐ฆ๐ฆ๐š๐ซ precision ๐Ÿ’– - ๐…๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ฒ while speaking ๐Ÿ’– - ๐•๐จ๐œ๐š๐›๐ฎ๐ฅ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ & ๐๐ซ๐จ๐ง๐ฎ๐ง๐œ๐ข๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง in different contexts ๐Ÿ’– - ๐‚๐จ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ก๐ž๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง of different accents ๐Ÿ’– - ๐“๐ซ๐š๐ง๐ฌ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ฆ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง of self-development/English mindset ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซโญ๏ธ ๐€๐๐Ž๐”๐“ ๐Œ๐„ โญ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซ ๐Ÿ”ฅ - MA Translation, TEFL certified, BA (Hons) Business Tourism (UK/USA) ๐Ÿ”ฅ - Speaking the original British accent, from Hampshire, UK ๐Ÿ”ฅ - Taught English, conversation, self-development...
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๐Ÿ“น ๐„๐๐†๐‹๐ˆ๐’๐‡ ๐˜๐Ž๐”๐“๐”๐๐„ ๐‚๐‡๐€๐๐๐„๐‹: https://bit.ly/3Q57zmO ๐Ÿ’ฅ Transform your work/personal life & your English simultaneously ๐Ÿ’š Spend ZERO time studying using a method backed by science ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซโญ๏ธ๐–๐‡๐˜ ๐Œ๐€๐‘๐Š??โญ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซ ๐€๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐ž ๐‹ ๐ฌ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ: "Beyond 5 stars! I feel much more ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐Ÿ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ in speaking and ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ก๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐š๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐œ about each session". ๐Œ๐จ๐ง๐ญ๐ฌ๐ž ๐‘ ๐ฌ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ: "I wouldn't have found a better teacher: ๐ค๐ข๐ง๐, ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ in my progress and very ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฉ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐›๐ฅ๐ž with the tasks he gives me". ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซโญ๏ธ๐‘๐„๐’๐”๐‹๐“๐’ ๐“๐Ž ๐„๐—๐๐„๐‚๐“โญ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซ ๐–๐ˆ๐“๐‡๐ˆ๐ ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ ๐‚๐‹๐€๐’๐’๐„๐’ I will transform your English in the following areas: ๐Ÿ’– - ๐‚๐จ๐ง๐Ÿ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž for any challenge ๐Ÿ’– - ๐†๐ซ๐š๐ฆ๐ฆ๐š๐ซ precision ๐Ÿ’– - ๐…๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ฒ while speaking ๐Ÿ’– - ๐•๐จ๐œ๐š๐›๐ฎ๐ฅ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ & ๐๐ซ๐จ๐ง๐ฎ๐ง๐œ๐ข๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง in different contexts ๐Ÿ’– - ๐‚๐จ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ก๐ž๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง of different accents ๐Ÿ’– - ๐“๐ซ๐š๐ง๐ฌ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ฆ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง of self-development/English mindset ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซโญ๏ธ ๐€๐๐Ž๐”๐“ ๐Œ๐„ โญ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซ ๐Ÿ”ฅ - MA Translation, TEFL certified, BA (Hons) Business Tourism (UK/USA) ๐Ÿ”ฅ - Speaking the original British accent, from Hampshire, UK ๐Ÿ”ฅ - Taught English, conversation, self-development...
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