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Modal Verb Shall Should

What are modals and their uses? How do you use modals in a sentence? Why do we use modal verbs? Shall versus Will?

Modal verbs – shall/should

1) We use modal verbs to show if we believe something is certain, probable or possible (or not). We also use modals to ask permission, make requests and offers etc.

Modal verbs fall into the category of auxiliary verbs (also known as helping verbs). It means that they are used together with a main verb to give grammatical information and additional meaning to a sentence.

2) The modal verb shall is mostly used in formal speech and some legal documents. We use the modal verb shall and the base form of the verb to form sentences. Questions are formed by inverting the subject and shall. Negatives are formed with not.

Nowadays, the most common use of shall in everyday English is in questions that serve as offers or suggestions (Shall I? Shall we?).

Shall I order some pizza?

Shall we go now? It’s getting late.

We use the modal verb should and the base form of the verb to form sentences. Questions are formed by inverting the subject and should. Negatives are formed with not.

We can use the modal verb should:

a) to give advice, a recommendation, or a suggestion.

I think you should study more.

b) to express that a situation is likely in the present or in the future (a prediction).

Kelly should be at home by now. You can stop by.

I ordered some t-shirts 10 days ago. They should come in mail this week.

c) to express an obligation (not as strong as must). It is used instead of must to make rules, orders or instructions sound more polite.

You should never lie to your parents.

d) to say that something was expected in the past but didn't happen (in this case, use should + have + past participle).

I should have studied more but I was too lazy.

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