Past Modals

Jun 25, 2015

Using modal verbs in the past can be tricky since they can be used in different ways with slight but important differences in meaning.

The first way in which we use modals in the past is relatively straightforward and requires only a simple word change:

I can speak French                         (Present ability)

I could speak French                      (Past ability)

I have to go to Porto                       (Present obligation)

I had to go to Porto                         (Past obligation)

 

Some past modals can be formed with have and the past participle. When we use past modals using this structure, special meaning needs to be considered:

I should go to the party                    (Feel obliged)

I should have gone to the party      (I didn’t go. Now I regret it)

He might help her                             (Future possibility)

He might have helped her               (Modal of deduction)

 

Further information can be found on the EC Learn English Website (www.ecenglish.com). Have a look and then try to use past modals in your next composition. The more you use them, the more natural they will feel. Good luck!



Category:

Add Pingback

Please add a comment

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »

Category List


Tag List

english school (2)
Vocabulary (11)
english as a foreign language (3)
New blog (1)
Reading in English (1)
spelling (1)
Free english lessons (10)
World Naked Bike Ride (1)
Polite questions (1)
Shopping in London (4)
CAE (3)
Social programme (1)
Christmas in London (3)
mini-saga (1)
Historic moment (1)
Insider info London (14)
making predictions (1)
Peaceful London (2)
English vocabulary (3)
Somewhere to visit London (1)
Tourist tips (5)
Fun (1)
Cambridge Exam Preparation (1)
study english (1)
english course london (12)
London Marathon (1)
silent disco (1)
Recording vocabulary (3)
English food (3)
ILEC (1)
student study tips (1)
Somewhere to visit (9)
the shard (1)
free english grammar (2)
Learn English (15)
future tenses english (1)
study english onlline (1)
London (5)
future tenses efl (1)
Relaxing London (4)
Places to see in London (4)
english review (1)
Covent Garden (1)
Cool as a cucumber (1)
Winter in London (6)
grammar (1)
saga (1)
study tips (9)
Basic English mistakes (1)
defining relative clauses (1)
narrative voice (2)
Attractions in London (1)
writing a mini-saga (1)
ICE (5)
past modals (1)
english school online (1)
efl (4)
london events (1)
Events in London (1)
Halloween (2)
Where to visit London (3)
IELTS (2)
Improve your vocabulary (5)
Journalist Course London (1)
Journalism classes London (1)
pronuciation (3)
New language (7)
past modal verbs (1)
Journalism Masterclass (1)
Vocabulary notebook (8)
Beautiful London (8)
Learning tips (10)
english grammar online (1)
Field day (1)
Things to see in London (4)
London Summer (7)
English (1)
reading tips (1)
Things to do in London (6)
music festivals uk (1)
London markets (4)
english grammar tips (1)
Adjective (2)
Somewhere to go London (3)
english grammar help (1)
Students (2)
English grammar (4)
Cycling (1)
Idiom (3)
Sport Journalism Course (1)
Francais (2)
music festival London (1)
exams (1)
things to do london (1)
Hello from Ally (1)
Listening in English (2)
Victoria park (1)
Learn english online (12)
FCE (4)
Tweed (1)
Barney Ronay (1)
New vocabulary (4)
writing a mini saga (1)
english school london (12)
Journalism Course London (1)
english courses london (1)
Business English (1)
English tips (4)
Journalism evening course London (1)
english study tips (1)
Islington Centre for English (6)
grammar tips (1)
the people's tower (1)

Tag Cloud

english schoolBasic English mistakesLondon marketsILECenglish grammar tipsspellingFunmaking predictionswriting a mini sagaCovent Gardenmusic festival Londonwriting a mini-sagaNew languageJournalism classes Londondefining relative clausesThings to do in Londonenglish study tipsthings to do londonsilent discoreading tipsIdiomfuture tenses eflFCEfree english grammarBusiness Englishstudent study tipsgrammarlondon eventsHello from Allygrammar tipsJournalism MasterclassSport Journalism Coursepast modal verbsSomewhere to go LondonCyclingLearning tipsBarney Ronayenglish course londonICEpast modalsfuture tenses englishenglish grammar onlineAdjectivestudy english onllineChristmas in LondonPolite questionsCAEField dayWhere to visit LondonNew vocabularyLondonLearn english onlineListening in EnglishStudentsenglish courses londonstudy englishPlaces to see in LondonHalloweenenglish school onlineJournalism Course LondonSomewhere to visit Londonstudy tipsJournalist Course LondonTourist tipsenglish grammar helpmini-sagaIELTSLondon MarathonVocabularySocial programmeLondon SummerSomewhere to visitBeautiful Londonenglish school londonInsider info LondonexamsTweedEnglish grammarCambridge Exam Preparationnarrative voicemusic festivals ukPeaceful LondonVictoria parkEnglish foodEnglish tipsFrancaisthe people's towereflLearn EnglishEnglish vocabularyHistoric momentenglish as a foreign languageEnglishsagathe shardWinter in LondonFree english lessonsThings to see in LondonEvents in LondonWorld Naked Bike RideRecording vocabularyIslington Centre for EnglishVocabulary notebookJournalism evening course LondonImprove your vocabularyAttractions in LondonCool as a cucumberRelaxing LondonNew blogenglish reviewReading in EnglishShopping in Londonpronuciation


Archive