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Past Modals for Deduction

Use and Form:


The following modals can be used to guess what happened in the past.
must have + past participle verb
Use this when you make a guess about the past, and you are almost certain that your guess is
correct.
The chickens have escaped! How did they get out?
They must have got out under the gate. There is no other way out.
may have + past participle verb
might have + past participle verb
could have + past participle verb
Use this when you make a guess about the past, but you are only suggesting one possibility. You
are not certain you are correct.
The chickens have escaped! How did they get out?
They may have got out under the gate, or they might have escaped through this hole in the
fence.
may not have + past participle verb
might not have + past participle verb
Use this when you make a guess about what didnt happen in the past, but you are only
suggesting one possibility. You are not certain you are correct.
Wheres John? Why isnt he at the meeting?
He may not have got the message. / He might not have received the message.
NOTE: may not is not contracted to maynt, and might not is rarely contracted to mightnt.
cant have + past participle verb
couldnt have + past participle verb
Use this when you make a guess about what didnt happen in the past, and you are almost certain
that your guess is correct.
The chickens have escaped! How did they get out?
They cant have got out under the gate. I fixed that yesterday.
NOTE: you cannot use: mustnt have + past participle verb to make deductions about the past.
Common Mistakes:
1. Many students do not take the opportunity to use these structures when they can.
Maybe I left my book at home. I may have left my book at home.
I think Robin went to the restaurant without us. Robin must have gone to the restaurant
without us.
2. Note that could have has the same meaning as might have and may have.
Why is Tom late?
He may / might / could have got stuck in traffic.
However, in the negative form the meaning is not the same.
Why is Tom late?
He may / might not have got your message. (NOT could not)
= Maybe he didnt get your message.
Couldnt have has the same meaning as cant have.
Why is Tom late?

Im not sure! He cant / couldnt have forgotten about the party!


= Im sure he didnt forget.
Using Modals for Recommendations
Use:
The following modals can be used to give recommendations.
must Must can be used to give a strong recommendation.
You must see the Empire State Building while you are in New York.
have to You can also use have to for recommendations, but must is more common. Have to is
generally used to talk about rules and things beyond your control.
You have to see the Empire State Building while you are in New York.
should Should and ought to are used to give a suggestion.
You should try haggis while you are in Scotland.
could Could is used to give an option.
You could stay in a hotel, or you could stay at a guest house.
dont have to Dont have to is used to say that something isnt necessary.
You dont have to get a taxi; the metro is really fast and efficient.
shouldnt Should is used to warn someone gently against doing something.
You shouldnt walk home alone after dark.
mustnt Mustnt is used to warn someone strongly against doing something.
You mustnt go to that part of the city its dangerous.
Form:
Must, should and could are modals. Modals follow the following rules.
1) Do not add s to the third person singular.
He must. NOT He musts
2) To form a negative, add not after the verb.
I shouldnt. NOT I dont should
3) To form questions, invert the modal verb and the subject.
Must you? NOT Do you must?
4) Modals are always followed by a verb in the infinitive form.
I should go. NOT I should to go. / I should coming.
Have to is a regular verb.
1) Use Do / Does / Did to form questions.
Do you have to go? NOT Have you to go?
2) Have to is followed by a verb in the infinitive form.
I have to go.
3) Use dont / doesnt / didnt to form negative sentences.
I dont have to go. NOT I havent to go.
Common Mistakes:
1. Many students use to after modal verbs.
You must to visit the museum. You must visit the museum.
2. Some students write the question and negative form of have to incorrectly.
You havent to take the bus You dont have to take the bus.
Have you to go now? Do you have to go now?
Modals for Deduction

Use and Form:


The following modals can be used to make guesses about a present situation.
must + infinitive
Use this when you make a guess and you are almost certain that your guess is correct.
Wheres John?
Hes not here. He must be in the bathroom.
may + infinitive
might + infinitive
could + infinitive
Use this when you make a guess but you are only suggesting one possibility. You are not
certain you are correct.
Wheres John?
Hes not here. He may be in the bathroom, or he might be in the kitchen, or he could be
outside.
may not + infinitive
might not + infinitive
Use this when you make a guess about what is not true, but you are only suggesting one
possibility. You are not certain you are correct.
Wheres John?
Hes not here. He may not be at work today.
NOTE: Do not use could not here.
cant + infinitive
Use this when you make a guess about what is not true, and you are almost certain that your
guess is correct.
Wheres John? Is he in the kitchen?
No, he cant be. I was in there a minute ago.
NOTE: you cannot use: mustnt + infinitive to make deductions about what is not true.
Common Mistakes:
1. Many students do not take the opportunity to use these structures when they can.
Maybe your bag is in the classroom.
=>
Your bag might be in the classroom.
May Might and Adverbs of Probability
May and Might
Use:
Use May and Might to talk about what will possibly happen in the future. May and Might mean
maybe will. They can refer to the future or the present.
Examples: I might have a pen in my bag. ( = present use)
She may arrive tomorrow. ( = future use)
Form:
May and Might are modal verbs, like can, will and should, so they follow the same rules.
1) Do not add s to the third person singular.
He may come. NOT He mays come.
She might stay. NOT She mights stay.
2) To form a negative, add not after may and might.
He may not come. She might not stay.

3) To form questions, invert may/might and the subject. However, questions with might are not
common.
Might he be late?
4) May can be used with I or we to make requests. However, can and could are more
common.
May I have some chocolate? May we go to the party?
5) May and Might are always followed by a verb in the infinitive form.
I might go. NOT I might to go.
She might stay. NOT She might staying.
Will + adverbs of probability
Use:
You can use will and wont with different adverbs to show how probable a future event is.
Ill possibly go to the party.
Ill probably go to the party.
Ill definitely go to the party.
Ill certainly go to the party.
Form:
Note that will / ll is used before the adverb, but wont is used after the adverb.
Ill probably see you later.
I probably wont see you later.
Should have
Use:
1)
Should have can be used to express regret about the past to wish that something in
the past had happened in a different way:
I should have studied for my exam!
(I didnt study for my exams. I failed. Now I wish that the past was different.)
2)
Should have can also be used to talk about something you expected to happen, but it
didnt happen (or it didnt happen until later).
The letter should have arrived by now, but it hasnt come yet.
(I was expecting a letter, but it isnt here).
Heres the bus! It should have been here twenty minutes ago.
(The bus is late. It has just arrived).
Form:
I
should have + past participle
You should have phoned me.
You
shouldve
You shouldnt have done that.
He / She / It
shouldnt have + past participle
We
They
Embedded Questions
Use:
Whenever you use an introductory phrase before a question, you must change the word order in
the question.
Introductions include:
Can you tell me...? Do you know...? I dont know... Im not sure... I wonder... I cant remember...

Whats the time? =>Can you tell me what the time is?
Where did he go? =>I dont know where he went.
Form:
1) If the question has an auxiliary verb, swap the positions of the auxiliary verb and the subject.
You can also do this in sentences with the verb to be.
Example: When can you get here?
Can is the auxiliary verb and you is the subject. Swap their positions when you add an
introduction.
Do you know when you can get here?
Other examples:
Where has he gone?
=>I dont know where he has gone.
What are they doing? =>I dont know what theyre doing.
What time is it? =>Have you any idea what time it is?
You cannot contract the verb if it is the last word in the sentence.
Do you know what time its?
=>Do you know what time it is?
2) If the question is in the present or past simple, remove do / does / did from the question.
Change the verb ending so that the verb is in the correct tense.
Example:
Where did he go? =>Did you see where he went?
What time do you get up? =>Can you tell me what time you get up?
Where does she work? =>I wonder where she works.
3) If a question does not have a question word (Where, What, Why etc.) use if or whether before
the question.
Example:
Does he live here? =>Do you know if he lives here?
Are they coming to the party? =>Do you know whether they are coming to the party?
Reported Speech
Comparatives
Use:
Use reported speech to talk about what another person said in the past.
Eve:
I went to the party on Friday night.
James:
Eve said that she had gone to the party on Friday night.
Form:
1) When reporting speech, the verb in the sentence may shift to a past tense.
am / is / are
changes to was / were
I am fine.
She said that she was fine.
present simple
changes to past simple
I like it.
He said he liked it.
present continuous
changes to past continuous
Shes sleeping.
He said that she was sleeping.
will
changes to would
Ill be there.
You said that youd be there.
can
changes to could

I can come to the meeting.


You said that you could come to the meeting.
past simple
changes to past perfect
I did the shopping.
Tom said that he had done the shopping.
present perfect
changes to past perfect
Ive read that book.
I told him that Id read the book.
past continuous
changes to past perfect continuous
She was walking home alone.
He said that she had been walking home alone.
present perfect continuous
changes to past perfect continuous
Ive been working,
I told him that Id been working.
2) To report speech, use He / She / I said (that) ...
You can also use He / She told me (that)...; I told him / her (that)...
3) Dont use quotation marks () when reporting speech.
4) References to times in the past also may need to change when using reported speech, if that
time is no longer the same.
this morning / week / month that morning / week / month
yesterday
the previous day
last week / month
the previous week / month
ago
earlier / previously
tomorrow
the following day
next week / month
the following week / month
Grammar: So, such, too, enough
Too
Use:
Too means there is a lot of something. It shows a negative opinion.
Its too hot = It is very hot and I dont like it.
Form:
You can use too before an adjective.
Its too cold. My trousers are too small.
You can also use it before an adverb,
You walk too fast. James speaks too quietly.
Before a noun, use too much (uncountable nouns) or many (countable nouns).
I ate too much food.
I ate too many sandwiches.
You can also use too much after a verb.
I ate too much.
Paul drinks too much.
Enough
Use:
Enough means you have what you need.

We have enough food for everyone = everyone has some food.


We dont have enough chairs for everyone = some people dont have chairs.
Form:
Write enough before a noun.
We have enough chairs.
But write it after an adjective or verb.
Are you warm enough? Hes qualified enough. She isnt tall enough to be a model.
You dont work hard enough. Are you sleeping enough?
Sentences with enough are sometimes followed by to + verb infinitive.
Im not tall enough to reach the book.
I havent got enough money to buy that coat.
So
Use:
So means very.
Its so hot!
Form:
So is generally used before an adjective or an adverb.
Hes so funny! He plays the piano so well!
However, in modern English, it is increasingly being used before nouns and verbs.
That dress is so last year! (= That dress is last years fashion)
Im so going to shout at him when I see him! (so = really)
So can be used with a that clause, to show a result of the first clause.
I was so hot that I couldnt sleep.
Such
Use:
Such also means very. Such is used before an adjective and noun.
They are such nice children.
Form:
A / an, if necessary, go after such, not before.
Thats a such pretty dress. => Thats such a pretty dress!
Like So, Such can be used with a that clause, to show a result of the first clause.
I was such a nice day that we decided to go to the park.
Common mistakes
1) Some students use too with a positive meaning. But use so or very here
Its too hot! I love the summer! => Its so hot! I love the summer!
2) Some students write enough in the wrong place.
Do we have sugar enough? => Do we have enough sugar?
3) Some students use so / suchthat incorrectly.
It was so hot that the sun was shining.

This sentence is not correct because the sun was shining is not a direct result of It was so hot.
The hot day did not cause the sun to shine.
Both, Either, Neither
Use:
1) Both
Both means two of two things.
I have two cats. I like both of them.
2) Neither
Neither means not one or the other of two things.
Neither of my cats is grey.
Remember to use a singular verb after neither.
Neither of the dogs are dangerous. => Neither of the dogs is dangerous.
3) Either
Either means one or the other.
There are two cakes. Please have one. You can have either one.
Form:
1) You can use both, neither and either directly before a noun.
Both supermarkets are good.
Neither supermarket sells electrical goods.
We can go to either supermarket, I dont mind.
2) Both, neither and either are often used with of. But you must always use a determiner (the,
my, these, those, his etc) before the noun.
Both of children like chocolate cake. => Both of the children like chocolate cake.
However, you dont have to use of with both.
Both of the children like chocolate cake.
Both children like chocolate cake.
3) You can use both, neither and either+ of + object pronoun(you, them, us).
Both of them wore white dresses.
Neither of us was late.
Have either of you got a pen?
4) You can use both ... and ...; neither ... nor ..., and either ... or ....
Examples:
Both James and Diana work here.
Neither James nor Diana works here.
You can ask either James or Diana.
Simple passive
Use:
The passive voice is used:
a) When the object of a sentence is more important than the subject
The city was destroyed by the volcano.
b) When the subject of the sentence is unknown.
This cheese was made in Canada.
It is common in formal and scientific writing.

Form:
You can use the passive voice in all tenses. Use the correct form of be + the past participle of
the verb.
Present Simple:
Past participle The workers collect the rubbish of
I
am
Wednesdays.
you / they / we
are
=> The rubbish is collected on
It / She / he
is
taken
Thursdays.
given
Past Simple:
People built the castle over 800
built
you / they / we
were
years ago.
made
I / It / She / he
was
=> The castle was built over 800
eaten
years ago.
brought
Present Perfect:
Someone has taken my book!
cooked
I / you / they / we
have been
=> My book has been taken!
left...
It / She / he
has been
Past Perfect:
When we arrived at the airport,
I / you / they / we / it / she / he had been
someone had resold our tickets.
=> When we arrived at the
airport, our tickets had been
resold.
Modals
You must wear a hard hat in this
I / you / they / we / it / she / he can be
area.
will be
=> Hard harts must be worn in
would be
this area.
must be
should be
could be
To mention who caused the action, use by.
The bins were emptied by the cleaning staff.
Alternative Comparative forms
Use and Form:
These structures can be used to compare two things. They are alternatives to the comparative
form (-er / more ...).
1)
Some phrases can be used to show that two things are identical.
the same (noun) as
My pen is the same as yours.
His house is the same size as ours.
This phrase can be used with quantifiers: such as just, exactly, almost, and nearly.
Your bag is exactly the same as mine!
2)
Some phrases can be used to show that two things are the same or nearly the same.
as (adjective / adverb) as
My bag was as expensive as yours.
He runs as quickly as me.

This structure is often used in literature to make similes.


Shes as quiet as a mouse today.
Youre as pretty as a picture!
You can use quantifiers such as: just, almost, nearly with these phrases.
He runs almost as fast as me.
Your bag was nearly as expensive as mine.
3)
Other phrases focus on differences.
different from
His results are a bit different from ours.
This phrase can be used with quantifiers, such as slightly, a bit and a little.
not as (adjective) as
Your jacket isnt as new as mine.
(negative verb) as (adverb) as He doesnt work as hard as I do.
This structure be used with the quantifiers quite, half and nearly.
My job isnt half as interesting as yours.
He doesnt play the piano nearly as well as his sister.
4)
When comparing adverbs and adjectives, we sometimes re-write the auxiliary verb at
the end of the sentences. If there is not auxiliary, you can write do, does or did.
Julia is just as sociable as Maria is.
You cant run as fast as I can!
I didnt sleep as well as I did on Sunday night.
Common Mistakes:
Some students try to use the er / more comparative form to make negative comparisons.
However, not as as is more common.
Im not taller than you. =>
Im not as tall as you.
Second Conditional
Use:
The second conditional structure is used to talk about imaginary situations and the consequences.
Example: If I had a car, I could visit my friend.
(But the truth is, I do not have a car, and I cannot visit my friend).
The second conditional structure is also used to talk about imaginary abilities and the
consequences.
Example: If I could fly, I wouldnt need a car.
(But the truth is, I cannot fly, and so I need a car.)
Form:
1) Make the second conditional in this way.
If
I
past simple
,
I
would / wouldnt verb
you
you
d
(infinitive
he
he
could / couldnt
form)
she...
she...
Example:
If we had more money, we would buy that house.
Or
I
would / wouldnt verb
If
I
past simple
you d
(infinitive form)
you
he
could / couldnt
he

she...
she...
Example:
Shed be more successful if she worked harder.
2) The verb to be can use were for all subjects. This is particularly true in the sentence: If I
were you
If I were you, Id buy a bicycle.
However, this rule is often overlooked.
If he were more careful, he wouldnt break everything. =>
If he was more careful, he wouldnt break everything.
3) To talk about imaginary abilities, use could.
If
I
could + verb (infinitive) ,
I
would / wouldnt verb
you
you
d
(infinitive
he
he
form)
she...
she...
Example:
If I could help you, I would!
4) Notice that the infinitive verb after the modal verbs is not necessary if the meaning is clear.
Dont contract modal verbs when there is no infinitive verb present.
If I could pay, Id... => If I could pay, I would...
Common errors:
1) Many students write would after If
If I would have a lot of money, I would buy that car!
=>
If I had a lot of money, I would buy that car!
2) Many students forget to use could to talk about abilities.
If I played the drums, Id join a band.
=>
If I could play the drums, Id join a band.
Third Conditional
Use:
Use the third conditional to talk about past events. Use it to describe what could have happened
(event b) as a result of something else (event a). However, neither event a nor event b
happened. Therefore the third conditional describes hypothetical, imaginary situations.
If I had been at home yesterday, Id have got your phone call.
(But, I was not at home, and I didnt receive your call.)
The third conditional is often used to criticise:
If you had worked harder, you wouldnt have failed the test.
(But you didnt work hard and you failed the test).
Or it can be used to express regret:
If I hadnt spent all my money, I couldve bought a computer.
(But I spend all my money and I couldnt buy a computer).
Or it can be used to express relief:
If I wed taken that route, wed have been stuck in the traffic jam for hours!
(But we didnt take that route, and we didnt get stuck)
Form:
a) Make the third conditional structure this way:
would have

If

past perfect
(had + past participle)
(hadnt + past participle)

wouldve
past participle
d have
wouldnt have
EVENT A
EVENT B
If youd told me that Anna had put on weight, I wouldnt have congratulated her on becoming
pregnant.
Or:
I / you / he / she / would have
past perfect
we / it / they
wouldve
past participle
if
(had + past participle)
d have
(hadnt + past participle)
wouldnt have
EVENT B
EVENT A
Jim wouldnt have made those mistakes if you had trained him properly.
b) You can also use may have / may not have, might have / might not have or could have /
couldnt have to describe less certain possibilities rather than certain consequences.
You might have had an accident if youd driven home in the snow last night.
c) Sometimes the if clause is implied but not spoken.
Id have helped.
means Id have helped if youd asked me.
I wouldnt have said that.
means I wouldnt have said that if Id been there.
Common Mistakes
Some students write would after if. Would does not go in the If clause, it goes in the other
clause.
If I would have seen Sally, Id have told her the news.
If I had seen Sally, Id have
told her the news.
Question Tags
Use:
Use question tags in two situations.
1) You are not sure if something is true, so you want to check. In this case, your voice should rise
when you say the question tag.

Youre not going now, are you?


2) You know something is true. You want to include/involve another person in the conversation.
In this case, your voice should fall when you say the tag. It does not sound like a question.

He doesnt live here now, does he?


Form:
Question tags are either:
1) positive statements with short, negative questions at the end.

These tags check something that you believe is true.


Its Monday today, isnt it?
2) negative statements with short, positive questions at the end.
These tags check something that you believe is false.
Its not raining, is it?
Make question tags this way:
1) If there is an auxiliary verb or a modal verb, write it in the opposite form (positive or
negative) at the end of the sentence. Then write the subject pronoun of the sentence.
Ians nice, isnt he?
Laura hasnt arrived yet, has she?
I cant do anything to help, can I?
We wont be late, will we?
Caution:
CAUTION: Use arent with Im in questions tags.
Im a bit careless, arent I?
NOT
Im a bit careless, am not I?
2) In present and past simple sentences, use do, does or did in the question tag.
Brian and Cathy dont eat meat, do they?
Your dad lives abroad, doesnt he?
Your friends enjoyed themselves, didnt they?
3) Use a positive question tag after never.
Miles never goes out, does he?
Connecting words

Use:
Connectives join two clauses, and show the relationship between them.
The relationship can show:
a contrast Although, but, even though, however, despite, in spite of
a cause because, because of, as a result of, due to
an effect so, consequently, as a result, thus, therefore
These words cannot be used interchangeably. They may be located in different places with in the
sentence, and they may use a different grammar.
Form:
a) Connectives showing Contrast
Compare these sentences with the same meaning:
i It is sunny but temperatures are low.
Never start a sentence with But. You can use but after a comma(,). In short sentences, no
punctuation is needed.
ii Although it is sunny, temperatures are low. / Even though it is sunny, temperatures are low.
Note how Although and Even though are located in a different part of the sentence from But.
Although and Even though go before the known clause, whereas but goes before the unknown
clause. The two clauses are separated with a comma. The order of clauses can be reversed.
Temperatures are low, even though / although its sunny.
iii It is sunny. However, temperatures are low.
Note how however starts a sentence and is followed by a comma. It may also be seen after a
semi-colon (;). Consequently, it is usually seen in longer sentences.

iv Despite the sun, temperatures are low.


In spite of the sun, temperatures are low.
Note the position of Despite and In spite of before the known clause. The order of clauses can
be reversed:
Temperatures are low despite / in spite of the sun.
Also note that these words are followed by a noun, not a verb clause. You can also use the ing
form of the verb in these sentences.
Despite / In spite of it being sunny, temperatures are low.
b) Connectives showing a Cause
Compare these sentences with the same meaning.
i I arrived late because the traffic was bad.
Because the traffic was bad, I arrived late.
Note you can ONLY start a sentence with Because if there are two clauses in the sentence.
Because we were late. INCORRECT
Because we were late, we missed the start of the show. CORRECT
Starting a sentence with Because is more formal than using it in the middle of a sentence, and is
most commonly used in writing, not speaking.
ii I arrived late because of the bad traffic. OR Because of the bad traffic, I arrived late.
I arrived late due to the bad traffic.
OR Due to the bad traffic, I arrived late.
I arrived late as a result of the bad traffic. OR As a result of the bad traffic, I arrived late.
Note how these expressions are followed by a noun, not a verb clause.
c) Connectives showing Effect
Compare these sentences with the same meaning.
i We were late so we missed the beginning of the show.
Never start a sentence with So. So can follow a comma(,). In short sentences, no punctuation is
needed.
ii We were late and thus we missed the beginning of the show.
We were late and consequently we missed the beginning of the show.
We were late and as a result we missed the beginning of the show.
We were late and therefore we missed the beginning of the show.
Consequently, As a result, Therefore and Thus are more formal than So. They are common in
formal sentences. They often start a sentence, but they can be joined to the previous sentence
with and.
Common Mistakes:
1. Some students begin sentences with But and So.
Joe went to university. But he didnt like it. Joe went to university, but he didnt like it.
2. Some students write a sentence with because and only one clause.
I went to the shop. Because I needed some bread. I went to the shop because I needed some
bread.
3. Some students do not use nouns when they needed to.
I went indoors due to it was cold outside. I went indoors due to the cold weather outside.