modal verbs

modal verbs
Modal (or, more fully, modal auxiliary) verbs are used to express the mood (in the linguistic sense that distinguishes statements, commands, suppositions, questions, and so on) of other verbs. The principal verbs of this type are can, could, may, might, must, ought, shall, will. These verbs behave in special ways, of which the most important are (1) that they can form questions and negatives without the use of do (Can I go? / You may not leave), and (2) their third-person singular forms do not add -s (She will / It must). A group of other verbs that share some of these features, such as dare and need, are sometimes called semi-modal. Note that be, do, and have, which behave somewhat differently, are not classed as modal verbs but as ordinary auxiliary verbs.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • modal verb — noun an auxiliary verb (such as can or will ) that is used to express modality • Syn: ↑modal auxiliary verb, ↑modal auxiliary, ↑modal • Hypernyms: ↑auxiliary verb * * * noun, pl ⋯ verbs [count] grammar : a verb ( …   Useful english dictionary

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  • modal verb — also modal n technical one of these verb forms: can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, must, ought to, used to, need, had better, and ↑dare. They are all used with other verbs to express ideas such as possibility, permission, or… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • modal auxiliary — mo dal aux*il iar*y(Gram.), n. Any one of the auxiliary verbs of English, such as can, may, will, shall, must, might, could, would, or should, which are used together with the infinitive form of another verb to express distinctions of mood[2],… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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