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Modal Verbs 1: ability, requests and offers

Modal Verbs 1: ability, requests and offers

Form
+ I/You/He/She/ lt/We/They can go.
- I/You/He/She/lt/We/They can't (= cannot) go.
? Can I /you/he/she/it/we/they/go?

Uses
1 We use can and could to:
make requests.
Can I make a phone call?
Could you tell me the time, please? (a little more formal)
• give or refuse permission.
You can use my mobile phone.
You can't go in there. It's private.
• make an offer.
Can I help you?
I can take you to the station if you like.
• describe ability.
Paola can speak Chinese.
When he was younger, he could (= was able to) run a marathon in under three hours.
• say that something is possible or impossible.
You can make a lot of money if you work hard.
I can't get through to them. Their phone's always engaged.
2 We also use could to refer to future possibilities.
I think we could increase our market share in the long term.
3 We use would to:
• make requests.
Would you open the door for me, please?
• make offers.
Would you like a glass of water?
• describe imaginary situations.
I would buy a Ferrari if I had enough money.


Modal verbs are very common in English. Match these functions (a-c) t o the examples (1-3).

a) making an offer   b) describing ability      c) making a request


1 Can you help me?
Could you say that again, please?


2 Can I help you?
Would you like a cup of coffee?


3 I can speak Polish and Russian.
She could read and write before she was three.

2- Rearrange the words to make questions from a job interview

Rearrange the words to make questions from a job interview. Then decide whether each question is 
a) making a request, b) making an offer, or c) asking about ability. ( write a,b,c)

1- get / you / can / I / a drink / ?                               

2-  e-mail address /  your / confirm / I / could / ?             

3- can / you / spreadsheets / use / ?                                

4- speak / languages / any other /  you / can / ?                                  

5-  about / tell / you / job / us / your present / more / could / ?           

6-  tell / your current salary / me / you / could / ?                      

7- would you / as soon as possible / your decision / let us know / ?                

Student A: Follow the instructions below.
Student B: Answer the questions truthfully.
Then switch roles.
Student A
• Offer tea or coffee.
• Find out Student B's ability to:
1 speak any languages;
2 use Excel, PowerPoint or Publisher;
3 drive.
• Ask Student B:
1 to tell you about themselves;
2 for the best number to contact them
on tomorrow;
3 to repeat the number;
4 if they would like to work abroad;
5 if there are any hours they wouldn't
be able to work.
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