Sophie's in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year. At home it’s cold and Oliver is making soup.

We use the modal verbs can, could and would to offer to do things for people or to invite them to do something. We also use them to make requests or ask permission to do something.

What are modal verbs?

They are a type of auxiliary verb we use with other verbs to add more meaning to the verb. After modal verbs we use the infinitive form without to.

Modals are not used with the auxiliary verb do; to form the negative, we add not after the modal. To ask questions, we put the modal in front of the subject.

Hey, you couldn't pass me that plate, could you?        
Can I have a taste?    
                 

Modals do not change in the third person singular form (he/she/it) in the present simple.

Sophie can send photos.

Modals seem quite easy to use. What do we use them for?

We use them for lots of different things, and the same modal verbs can have several different uses. Today we are just going to look at offers, invitations, requests and permission.

Right, fire away! I mean, you can fire away if you like.

Oh, you’re giving me permission. Thank you. We use would + like  a lot for offers. It’s very useful for different situations.

Would you like to come to our house for dinner?
Would you like some cake?
Would you like to celebrate Chinese New Year with us?

For more informal invitations you can use can + get. Get means buy in this context.

 Can I get you a drink? 

We also use  would  and  can  for offering to help someone.

Would you like some help?
Can I help you?
Can I give you a hand with that?

That sounds very strange, Can I give you a hand?.

It just means Can I help you?.

We also use modals for asking for something (making a request or asking permission).

Can you do me a favour? (more informal)
Could you say thanks to your mum for me? (more polite)
I’ve finished my homework. Can I go now? (more informal)
Could I speak to Amy, please? (more polite)


What’s the answer? Yes, you can. / No, you can’t.?

Not normally. Usually the positive answer is:

Yes, sure. / Yes, of course. / Certainly.

We usually avoid a direct “No” in the negative answer. We’d say something like:

Well, I’m not sure. / Tomorrow night’s a bit difficult. / Um, actually, she’s not here at the moment.

Ah, so you need to listen carefully to see if the answer is yes or no.

Absolutely. We don’t like saying no in English.

We also like to use longer structures in more formal situations:

Do you think you could do me a favour?           
Would you mind closing the window, please?
Could you tell me how to get to the town centre, please?

Yes, but isn’t the pronunciation important too?

Ah, you mean the intonation? Yes, that’s very important, I’m glad you mentioned that. It can make all the difference between sounding polite and rude. It’s very important to get it right if you want a stranger to do something for you. You need to get 'up and down' movement in your voice.

Right. One more thing, do you think you could  help me with my homework now? It would only take about an hour.

Um, well, actually …

 

Discussion

Would you like to join in celebrations from a different culture to yours? Could you tell us about a typical celebration in your country?

Comments

bea_mara's picture
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bea_mara 5 April, 2020 - 22:09

Yes, I would like to join in other celebrations. A typical celebration in Italy is Easter. In this day we go to my grandma's house, where we exchange chocolate eggs, and celebrate together all the day.

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Ely's picture
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Ely 3 April, 2020 - 08:31

yes,i would like to join in celebration for different culture.
in my country Christmas is very important .
we celebrate christmas in the night of 24th december.
we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

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BttChiara's picture
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BttChiara 2 April, 2020 - 18:38

Yes, I would love this idea. A typicsl celebrations in my country is "Santa Lucia" ( this day is important in Sicily). On this day we eat some typical food like "arancine" and we stay in family.

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MatildePace's picture
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MatildePace 2 April, 2020 - 15:09

Yes, I would like to join in celebrations from different culture to mine. A typical celebration in my country is Venezia's carneval. It is a celebration where everyone dresses up. It is fun and colorful.

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Desy's picture
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Desy 1 April, 2020 - 13:14

Yes, I would like to join in celebrations from a different culture to mine. One of the most typical celebration in my country is Christmas. We join to celebrate Christmas the 25th December,a day very important because we remember the birth of Jesus. It's a fantastic day because all the families join and play, laught and remember together the birth of Jesus. It's really beautiful!

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gattifederica's picture
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gattifederica 31 March, 2020 - 19:08

Yes, I’d like. I would like to join in other celebrations different from my culture because I can learn new things and see new places. An important celebration in my country is Christmas and it’s celebrated on 25th December. Christmas is important for Christians because it reminds the birth of Jesus Christ. People exchange gifts and make Christmas Three.

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vittoriadigianno's picture
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vittoriadigianno 26 March, 2020 - 12:45

Yes i'd like to join a celebration from other culture to learn new things. in my country the most important celebration is Christmas and is celebrated with a family.

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caromoreira04's picture
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caromoreira04 24 March, 2020 - 13:53

yes, I'd love to partecipate in other celebrations, for example the Carnival of Brazil. I'm from Italy and the typical celebration is Christmas but I prefer Halloween.

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irebracco25's picture
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irebracco25 24 March, 2020 - 13:45

I would like to join in celebrations from a different culture to learn their customs. I am Italian and Christmas is a typical celebration to stay in family.

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mart__'s picture
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mart__ 24 March, 2020 - 13:45

Yes I would love to partecipate in a celebration of a different culture from mine.
In my country important celebrations are celebrated with fireworks and sometime there are also stands with people that selling hot chocolate or drinks

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Beavolga03's picture
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Beavolga03 24 March, 2020 - 13:38

Yes, I`d like to join in celebrations from a different culture to mine because i like living new adventure, for example Halloween an important feast day in America, but in Italy it’s unusual.
In Italy we celebrate Christmas, an important feast day were we stay with family .

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gio_cra2004's picture
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gio_cra2004 24 March, 2020 - 13:36

I would like to join the celebrations of a different culture from mine because you learn new traditions and new recipes different from the Italian one. The only important celebration that I celebrate is Christmas, December 25th, because on that day you are with your loved ones.

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ftrifi227's picture
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ftrifi227 24 March, 2020 - 13:35

Yes, i'd like to join in a celebration from a different culture to mine because i want to know what's different from the italian celebrations.
A tipical italian celebration is the 'Liberation Day' who is celebrate in 25 April.
In this celebration, Italy celebrate the liberation from Nazism occupation and from fascist regime.

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chiarusso's picture
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chiarusso 24 March, 2020 - 13:21

I would love to join a celebration of other countrie.
In italy we have ' ferragosto' ,it isn't a celebration but everyone want to organize something to be together.

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alaricofranca02's picture
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alaricofranca02 24 March, 2020 - 12:50

yes I would like to participate in the Rio Carnival because I like the fact that they are so festive and so colorful. we celebrate every year together with the whole mid-august family, it's very nice and we have fun.

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anna_v3r's picture
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anna_v3r 24 March, 2020 - 12:02

I'd like to learn how celebrations are in different cultures because I'm really curious. In Italy we celebrate Christmas during lunch on the 25th with our family. Some italians celebrate also during the Christmas' Eve.

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maikha's picture
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maikha 8 August, 2019 - 10:11

My family celebrate Christmas every years and it really happy. That is the time my family gathering together.

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Lucrecampa's picture
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Lucrecampa 24 March, 2020 - 13:27

I’ d like to partecipate in Thanksgiving.
The most important holiday for my culture is Christmas because it celebrates the birth of Jesus.

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mmatildepontoni04's picture
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mmatildepontoni04 18 March, 2020 - 20:50

I'd like to join in celebrations from a different culture because I like to learn a lot of new things .
I'm from Italy and my family celebrate Christmas and I love this !!

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Eng_learner's picture
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Eng_learner 2 August, 2019 - 17:39

As for me, I`d like to join in celebrations from a different culture to mine because it`s really informative and broadens our horisons. Also, it would make people closer to each other.
A typical celebration in mu country is the Shrove. I love it so much because I can eat pancakes for all week:)

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Monity's picture
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Monity 7 April, 2019 - 13:35

Yeah I would love to.i love variety.besides i m fond of knowing people deeply..I would certainly join..
I m from Bangladesh.. it's culture and tradition is very enriched.there are no racial issues.people from all religion celebrates every occasion together.among them Noboborsho and Nabanna utshab are very popular.

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theavengers_2001's picture
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theavengers_2001 20 March, 2019 - 01:16

Well, i consider that the only celebration is Christmas, because in that special day all the people spend more time with their loved. And i know that children are the most excited.

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Youjiro's picture
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Youjiro 2 February, 2019 - 09:49

I would like to join in Halloween.I have never attend Halloween party in my life.Last year I persuade some of my friends,but they not agree to go to Halloween .I was disappointed for them.I want to wear spider man uniform in the Halloween.I have nice one.In my country celebration is really simple.People do not present emotion.It was boring and annoying.I keep in touch regularly friend.I would like to to Halloween in this year.

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Cesar98500's picture
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Cesar98500 10 August, 2018 - 09:38

Could you make more videos like this please? Is great, it help me to understand modal verbs and use in the correct moment, various examples show us how we can apply this topic in one normal day, is a great help for me and my classmates. Thank you so much.

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