When to use may, might, shall, should, would, could? Please provide me with some examples so that i can understand it properly.

Here are a few explanations with examples to explain the concept of Modals:


Can usually expresses ability, capacity or permission.

  • Can you get me a medicine?

  • He can work for hours at a stretch;

  • I can swim in a river.


May is rather formal. It is used to express possibility in affirmative sentences. Can is used in the corresponding interrogative and negative sentences.

  • It may rain today;

  • She may come for the party;

  • Can this be true?

  • It cannot be false!


Could and Might are used as past equivalents of can and may . In present times, could and might are used as less positive versions of can and may .

  • I could easily solve the puzzle;

  • The host might not turn up at all;

  • Could you pass me the salt?

  • You could have accepted the offer.

  • You might want to give an explanation.


Shall is used in the first person, although it is sometimes used in the second and third persons to express a command, a promise or a threat.

  • When shall we see you again?

  • It shall be a holiday tomorrow;

  • You shall be punished for this.

  • He shall never en ter my house ever again.


Will is used in all the persons to express pure future. Today, people have the tendency to use will more than shall .

  • I am not lying, you will see;

  • We will go for a picnic tomorrow.

Will is used to express volition, characteristic habit, assumption or probability.


They are used as past equivalents of shall and will .

Should is used in all persons to express duty or obligation.

  • We should obey traffic rules;

  • You should have kept your word.

Should is used to express a supposition that may not be true.

  • If it should rain, they will not come;

  • If he should see me here, he would be irritated.

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may i enter the room

it might be possible

shall we go out

should we stay here

would you please go out

could you please do the given work

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may -is used when we are not sure about the event to take place and to show possibility of an event.It shows possibility of event to take place at present.Ex. It  may rain today.


might- is used to show possibility of event going to take place in past.Ex. it might rain yesturdy.

shall- is used to show the event going to tke place in future. Ex. she shall go there.

should-is used to give suggestions and advices.Ex.you should say sorry to him.

would -is used to show the mistakes of past  time.and it is also used to show some imaginations of a person for future.Ex. i would be a doctor.

could-is used to show ability and capability and also possibility of an event. Ex.it could rain today

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