Modals Made Easy
Modals can be one of the most scary things about learning English for non-native speakers. But don’t let them scare you!
Watch this video to feel confident using can, could, would, should, might, and may in your next English conversation.
For extra practice, make a sentence using one or more of the vocabulary words below.
1. possibility – a thing that may happen but is not guaranteed
2. imply – to suggest an idea without directly saying it
3. obligation – a commitment or a responsibility that someone must fulfill
4. interchangeable – used to describe two things (in this case words) that can be switched without noticing a difference
5 & 6 technical – this word has two meanings:
5. Technical (differences) – here the word refers to small differences that are usually only noticed by people with a high level of knowledge of the topic
6. Technical (ability) -refers to greater skill in operating or fixing a machine or complex system
7. nuance – a very small difference between two things or ideas that is usually not noticed
8. anxiety – a feeling of stress or fear
9. commitment – being dedicated to something, or seeing oneself as obligated or responsible to take a certain action
10. non-committal – when someone does not commit strongly to something (like coming to an event)
Listen to each statement from an American English speaker. Then try to repeat each phrase to practice talking like a native English speaker.
Shadowing Exercise Transcript:
I might have time. I’m not sure yet.
I may go with you. I’ll decide soon.
I could bring more friends if you like.
I should probably leave tomorrow.
I would come but I have work.
I will definitely be there later today.
I must remember to call them.
But in American English we would say:
I’ve got to remember to call them.
Response / Challenge Question:
Imagine that your friend called and is inviting you to go with him this weekend to a concert. Practice answering his invitation with each modal.