modal auxiliary verb


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modal auxiliary verb

A modal auxiliary verb, often simply called a modal verb or even just a modal, is used to change the meaning of other verbs (commonly known as main verbs) by expressing modality—that is, asserting (or denying) possibility, likelihood, ability, permission, obligation, or future intention.
Modal verbs are defined by their inability to conjugate for tense and the third person singular (i.e., they do not take an “-s” at the end when he, she, or it is the subject), and they cannot form infinitives, past participles, or present participles. All modal auxiliary verbs are followed by a main verb in its base form (the infinitive without to); they can never be followed by other modal verbs, lone auxiliary verbs, or nouns.
As with the primary auxiliary verbs, modal verbs can be used with not to create negative sentences, and they can all invert with the subject to create interrogative sentences.
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ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.modal auxiliary verb - an auxiliary verb (such as `can' or `will') that is used to express modality
auxiliary verb - a verb that combines with another verb in a verb phrase to help form tense, mood, voice, or condition of the verb it combines with
References in periodicals archive ?
The phrase also gives the message a serious tone given the sense of promise, possibility and ability that are likely to be elicited by the modal auxiliary verb.
Notice that the statement "you must not split infinitives" uses the modal auxiliary verb must to express a command.
Presumably, the author of the note has remembered that subjunctives are used in Latin to express potential facts or states of affairs, as English does with modal auxiliary verbs like 'could,' 'would,' or 'may,' but has either forgotten that this is only one of many uses of the subjunctive or simply has not bothered to go look at the passage in Bacon to see how he uses it there.
However, we use modal auxiliary verbs (can, could, do, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would) to express feelings, such as beliefs, doubts, guesses, and regrets, as well as to ask questions and make requests.