Modality: Introductory Worksheet

 Modality: Introductory Worksheet
Look at the following words:
can; could; will; would; should; ought to; must; may; might; shall
Each of the words and constructions, above, is a modal verb, sometimes referred to
as a modal auxiliary verb, or simply as a modal.
Modals show modality. This means that modals express a range of functions in
English. They express likelihood, ability, permission, and obligation.
Work with a partner and place the modals at the top of this page into the hierarchical
continuum (see below), where the first word on the list expresses the greatest
degree of likelihood, and the last word on the list expresses the least degree of
likelihood. When you have finished, compare your answers with your classmates. Do
you agree? Why? Why not? The first one has been done for you, although you may
decide that you want to change this.
Most Likely
© David McIntyre, InThinking
Least Likely