Modal Verbs are used in the English language many different ways. One of those is when we refer to events we assume. To assume an event in time is virtually the same as a guess or speculation. When we refer to an event that may or may not have happened, we often use “Adverbs” or “Modal Verbs of probability”.

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The “Modal Auxiliary Verbs” are referred to as “Auxiliary Verbs” because they are always used with another verb. “Modal Verbs of Probability” can be used to refer to all time. In other words, we use these verbs to refer to the past, present and future. As the tense usage changes, so does the combination of words we use. For the purpose of this article, I will refer to the use of “Modal Auxiliary Verbs of probability” for the present.

The usage of “Modal Auxiliary Verbs” is extremely extensive. The use of “Adverbs of Probability” also play an important role in statements that refer to unknown events. In the general sense, “Adverbs of Probability” and “Modal Verbs of Probability” are used with the same understanding. Modal verbs present time are examples of possibilities.

Modal Verbs Present Time Explained.

Here is an example of the present usage of an “Adverb”. Question; “Who is knocking at the door?” Answer with an “Adverb” might be “I am sure it is Bob at the door, he told me he was coming over to visit today” An answer with a “Modal Verb of Probability” might be “It must be Bob at the door, he told me he was coming over today”. In both examples, we are not completely sure Bob is at the door. Both examples are correct and it is possible a native English speaker will use both statements to refer to the event.

Other “Modal Auxiliary Verbs” used in the present are “Can’t, could, may and might”. Other verbs used to refer to the present are “Have to, want to and need to”. We might also use other verbs or phrases to refer to possible actions or states. Modal verbs present statements.

Modal Verbs Present Time and Future.

Modal auxiliary verbs are used in the positive, negative and question form with the verb to be when we refer to the present. Here is a question example; “Who would that be knocking on the door?”. Another example; “Who might that be knocking at the door?”. Another example; “Who could that be knocking?”. Another example; “Could that be Bob knocking on the door?”.

Also, notice the prepositions used in the questions. I used both on and at for my prepositions. Both are correct. The preposition at refers to a location and the preposition on refers to the action. They are both correct as long as you understand the statement. Remember that prepositions are sometimes flexible in their usage.

Another term we often use to make an indefinite statement is “I think”.  This term is used to offer thoughts or advice or a suggestion. An example might be “What do you think the weather will be like tomorrow?”. The answer might be “I think it will be a sunny day tomorrow but, I am not sure”. Another answer could be “Maybe, it will be sunny, but I am not sure”. Here I have used both an adverb and modal auxiliary verb to share my opinion or thought. These examples refer to the future. Future examples and explanations are in the next article.

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