Grammar Mondays: modals 6

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The modal may is used to express two things: politeness and possibility.

In terms of possibility, it can replace might, though might is more commonly used than may in this context.

More often, school children learn that may is used for good manners. For example, rather than using the modal can when asking for something, use may:

  • May I have another cookie please?
  • May I go to the bathroom? (A child asking at school.)
  • May I leave the table?
  • May I? (Said simply when it is obvious what the question is, for example, when you’re indicating that you’d like to offer your help.)
  • How may I help you? (If you’re a shop assistant speaking to a customer.)

Do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments, or email me directly!

Grammar Mondays: modals 5

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Might reflects possibility. We use this modal if we are unsure that something will or will not happen.

For example, if you’re unsure of your plans for the evening, you could say: I might go out, but I’m not sure.

If you’re unsure if you’d like to go out, you could also say: I might not go tonight, we’ll see.

Whether you use the affirmative or negative form is really up to you and how you want to spin your sentence. Do you want to emphasize that you might NOT do something (you’re leaning towards no)? Or that you might do something (you’re leaning towards yes)?

Give it a try, and don’t forget, if you have questions, give us a shout!

Grammar Mondays: modals 4

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We often use should to offer advice, or indicate something that is good or not good to do.

Should is never conjugated, and is used with another verb, in the infinitive.

Here are some more examples:

  • Mary should play more often if she wants to get better.
  • You should see your doctor every year for a health check up.
  • People should pay more attention to their diets.
  • You should exercise regularly.

In question form, simply invert the modal and the subject:

  • Should I take these pills with a meal?
  • Should you be doing that?
  • Should we leave now?
  • Shouldn’t you be at the theatre by now?

Have you got any questions? Be sure to leave them in the comments!

Grammar Mondays: modals

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Have to is also a modal verb, though unlike the others, we must conjugate it in whatever tense you intend to use.

It indicates an obligation to do something, if used in the affirmative. So:

  • Amber has to play the guitar every day. = Amber must play the guitar every day.

However, in the negative, it indicates a lack of obligation:

  • Amber doesn’t have to do the laundry at home, her mom takes care of it. = Amber doesn’t need to do the laundry.

This rule is opposed to « must » which, in the negative, indicates that something is not allowed. For example, if someone says, « You mustn’t run by the poolside. » This means that you’re not allowed to run by the poolside.

Have you got any questions? Leave them in the comments and we’ll get back to you!

Grammar Mondays: modals 2

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Must reflects an obligation. It is usually used to talk about rules or prohibitions. For example:

  • You mustn’t run by the pool.
  • You must wear a helmet when you ride your bike.
  • Pupils must raise their hand when they want a turn to speak.
  • A receptionist must answer the phone when it rings.
  • You mustn’t go swimming immediately after a meal.

Now it’s your turn, try to think of three things you must do, and three things you musn’t do.

Grammar Mondays: modals 1

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Many people struggle with modal verbs because they seem scary. But they’re not so bad, really!

The rules are quite simple:

  • Modal verbs are never conjugated.
  • In a question, they don’t need an auxiliary.
  • They always need a supporting verb in a sentence, and that verb is never conjugated.

So here are some examples with the modal can:

  • My dog, Charlie, can jump very high.
  • Can you help me with this?
  • I can hop on one leg!

Do you have any questions? Drop me a line or join our Facebook group: and ask there, we’ll get back to you ASAP!

Grammar Mondays: adjectives 8

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As you may have noticed, there are many ways to compare things in English. So here’s just one more!

Using the « as…as » formula is very useful when you want to compare two things that have the same quality. Often, children compare their heights in this way. They might stand on a chair and say to their mom or dad: « I’m as tall as you! » Or they might compare themselves to their peers: « Jenny’s not as tall as me. »

There’s also a film from the late 90’s with Jack Nicholson: As Good as It Gets.

Here are a few more examples:

  • My husband doesn’t like his job as much as I like mine.
  • Our games aren’t as good as our friends’ games.
  • My cats are as big as my dog.
  • The day is as beautiful as it was yesterday.
  • You are as beautiful as the first day I met you.
  • It’s not as hot as yesterday.

Got any examples of your own? Leave them in the comments!

Grammar Mondays: adjectives 7

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Here are a few more examples of how we might use the superlative in everyday speech:

When I was growing up, I thought Toronto was the coolest city in the world. As a kid, I also thought it was the biggest. I was very proud that we had the tallest tower in the world, and that we had one of the largest lakes.

So, what are some of your best memories? Do you remember your grandpa as having the biggest house in the country, only to realize, when you grew up, that it was quite normal?

Leave your answers in the comments!

Grammar Mondays: adjectives 6

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The rule of thumb with these simple comparisons in English is:

object of comparison + adj. (comparative adjective, or more + adj.) + than + other object of comparison.

Strawberries taste better than bananas.


Physics is more interesting than Physical Education.

Okay, so it looks a little complicated, but it’s not once you get the hang of it.

The easiest way forward is to memorize a comparative sentence you feel comfortable with, then simply replace its adjective with others that you want to use.

Can you make any comparative sentences? Go ahead, give it a try. And ask for help if you need it!

Grammar Mondays: adjectives 5

We all compare one thing to another, and it’s important to be able to do that easily in another language. Below you will find some more examples of different comparisons.

Good = better

Bad = worse

If you want to compare two objects in a negative way, you should say: less interesting than… For example, History is less interesting than gym.

Here are some more examples:

  • My son is taller than his friends.
  • Wilson is more interested in math than in English.
  • Canada is bigger than Australia.
  • Coca Cola is less tasty than orange juice.
  • Playing basketball is more fun than playing soccer. (BE CAREFUL: there is an exception here. Usually, short, one syllable words become comparatives by adding « er », however, « fun » should be paired with more. We don’t say « funner ».

Can you think of any other objects, ideas, people of places to compare?