What is modality in English verbs?

Expert Answers
webbed eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Modality in English verbs refers to auxiliary verbs that express how the action is looked upon by the speaker.

The modal auxiliary verbs are: can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will, and would.

Modal auxiliary verbs cannot act alone in a sentence; they are “helping” verbs only.

Here are some sample sentences with modal auxiliary verbs in use:

            She can apply for the job online.

            He can’t seem to find his socks.

            Could I ask you a question?

            They could try to finish the work by Monday.

            May I be excused for a moment?

            We may have to come later in order to avoid traffic.

            She might have to call the dentist tomorrow.

            Because of the detour, we might not arrive on time.

            He must finish your homework before dinner.

            You mustn’t keep calling me after midnight.

            We ought to find someone who can do the job well.

            They ought not to feel as if we don’t like them.

            We shall overcome someday.

            Shall I help you cross the street?

            You should speak with him tomorrow.

            Should I recheck the figures before I submit them?

            He will be happy to help anytime you need me.

            Will you walk or take the bus?

            Would it be possible for me to leave early today?

            We would love to see you as soon as possible.

Hope this helps!