Grammar

Modals

 

May and Might: we use either of these words to say that something is possible, for example:

 

  • I may/might be working today = It is possible that I will work today, I don't know yet
  • I may/might not be working today = It is possible that I will not work today, I don't know yet

 

In the past:

 

  • She may/might have worked yesterday = It is possible that she did not work yesterday, I don't know yet
  • She may/might not have worked yesterday = It is possible that she did not work yesterday, I don't know yet

 

       Note: to form the negative 'not' is placed immediately after may/might.

 

Could and Couldn't: could is very similar to May and Might, for example:

 

  • You could have left your purse at home = It is possible that you left it there
  • You couldn't have left your purse at home = It is not possible that you left it there

 

However, couldn't can also mean that something is not possible, for example:

 

  • ​Sarah couldn't have got my message.
    • Otherwise she would have replied. = It is not possible she got my message
    • I wonder why Sarah has not replied. = She might not have got my message, perhaps she did and perhaps she didn't.

 

 

 

 

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