Snap Language

Getting Smarter through Language

Modal Verbs in English | Practice 1

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Advanced Level

Based on this lesson, choose the modal verbs that would best complete each blank in the sentences below. Base your answer on the clue provided in parentheses. For practice, you can write the modal in the space provided.

  • Example
  • (expressing an obligation)

    You pay your taxes on time.

  • Answer: must

    Why? Based on the clue, you have to use “must” to express the idea of an obligation.

When you are finished, click the button that has your answer. You will see if your answer is correct or incorrect.

Note. Your answers will not be submitted. When you leave this page, they will be deleted.

Ready? Start below.

1. (expressing ability)

You lift this box on your own. Let me help you before you hurt yourself.

Correct!

Good job!

Incorrect!

“Can” expresses an ability (or lack thereof).

2. (expressing prohibition)

You park here.

Incorrect!

If you want to express a prohibition, you should use “must not” or “mustn’t.”

Correct!

That’s good!

3. (expressing a necessity)

When dealing with very young children, you be patient.

Correct!

That’s great!

Incorrect!

Based on the clue, you must use “need to” to express a necessity.

4. (giving advice)

If the president wants to be reelected, he support legislation that benefits the middle and lower class.

Incorrect!

The sentence is not incorrect, but “must” expresses an obligation or duty. Based on the clue, you should use “should” to express advisability.

You’ll get it right the next time. Let’s keep going.

Correct!

Ready for the next one?

5. (expressing disapproval)

You be ashamed of yourself for talking to your parents like that!

Correct!

Good job!

You could also use “should” here with the same meaning of disapproval.

Incorrect!

“Need to” usually expresses a necessity. You should have used “ought to” here to express disapproval.

That’s okay though. Let’s just keep going.

6. (expressing a high degree of certainty)

Judging from her accent, she be Austrian.

Correct!

You’re doing great!

Incorrect!

To express a conclusion with a high degree of certainty, use “must.”

7. (expressing a strong recommendation)

Oh, no! You’re bleeding! You go to the emergency room.

Correct!

“Must” in this context expresses a strong recommendation.

You’re doing well!

Incorrect!

“Should” expresses a suggestion, but it is not very strong. If someone is bleeding, you want to be more forceful and make a strong recommendation by using “must.”

8. (giving strong advice)

The exam is in two days. You start studying right away.

Incorrect!

Keep going. You can always review the list of modal verbs later.

Correct!

“Had better” do something does express strong advice.

9. (expressing a low probability)

Even though it is usually warm in Florida this time of the year, you should bring a light sweater. It get chilly at night.

Incorrect!

Using “could” does express a possibility but, if you want to express a low likelihood, you should use “might.”

Keep going. You’re almost there.

Correct!

Good job!

Both of these modal verbs express probability, but “might” expresses a low probability.

10. (expressing a habitual action that no longer happens)

Professor Ecks teach statistics. I wonder why he stopped.

Correct!

That’s great!

Incorrect!

“Used to” expresses something you did in the past but not anymore. For example, “I used to go to bed at 9 when I was a kid.”

11. (expressing a promise to do something)

We be there for you if you need us.

Incorrect!

Although both these modals can express the future, you need to use “will” when making a promise to do something.

Correct!

In this context, you use “will” when you make a promise.

Ready for the next one?

12. (expressing the result of a hypothetical situation)

You make as many mistakes if you played the piano more often.

Incorrect!

Although you are expressing a present situation, you must use “would” because it is a hypothetical situation.

Correct!

Cool beans!

13. (a habitual or repetitive action in the past)

When we lived in Ethiopia, our neighbors invite us to dinner just to socialize.

Correct!

Ready for the next one?

Incorrect!

To express a habitual or repetitive action in the past, you can use “would.” In this sentence, “might” doesn’t make much sense.

14. (giving permission)

Employees leave early today as long as they have completed all their tasks.

Incorrect!

Using “should” here makes it sound as though you are advising them to leave early. You need to use “may” to express that you are giving them permission to do so.

Correct!

Good job! “May” in this sentence is a way of giving employees permission to leave early.

15. (expressing a preference)

Where go on vacation: the beach or the mountains?

Correct!

“Would rather” expresses a preference.

I hope you did really well!

Incorrect!

“Ought to” has the same meaning as “should” and expresses different ideas. Based on the clue, you should use “would rather” to express a preference.

More Exercises

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