modal verb

Also found in: Thesaurus, Financial, Wikipedia.
Related to modal verb: preposition

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.
Continue reading...
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.modal 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
modální slovesozpůsobové sloveso
References in periodicals archive ?
The first (partially) preserved Estonian-language book, the Wanradt-Koell catechism (1535), contains an example of a complex modal verb chain typical of the oldest period of written Estonian, which includes a passive saama construction with future meaning modeled on (Low) German:
The operative word "should" in both cases is a modal verb which does not mean an obligation, it is only advisory.
The other two subsections (5.2 and 5.3) will be devoted to the presence of a 'helping verb' (an auxiliary verb or a modal verb) before the NUC in the CORE-node.
These examples clearly indicate that how the low conviction in the displacement of Gilgit-Baltistan is described with modal verb may (1.a), medium conviction is presented in angry call from opposition leader (1.b) and strong conviction is employed to warn the improper attitude of government, which is inferred from the strong reaction from opposition group and business community of Pakistan (1.c).
The subtle undercutting of the statement with the modal verb could suggests the possibility that Brodmann wasn't really famous: It was all a setup, an elaborate prank.
Other features are co-occurrence with another modal verb, as in (3), and the use of non-finite forms, as in (4).
Asking a question following Mr Gibb's statement yesterday, Ms Goodman said: "Last Wednesday the Prime Minister was not able to tell the House his definition of a modal verb, what the past progressive tense is, or to distinguish a subordinating conjunctive from a co-ordinating conjunctive.
The next villain in my modal verb rogue's gallery is a bit of a split personality.
Contrary to expectation, the subjunctive is typically not replaced by a modal verb construction but rather by the indicative (2003: 305).
Regarding the statement in (ii), if the modal verb were (the only) responsible by the shifting, then we would expect that a sentence like ' Eu acho que eu podia tomai um chopp antes da peca (I think I could have a beer before the play) (where there is no metafictional monster operator as we will claim below) in a context as (21), had a similar interpretation to that shown in (23), i.e., the indexical 'eu' (I) would have two different referents.
This construction can be further unfolded according to which modal verb is more or less frequently combined with the progressive.
For example, in the dialect of Luras, Sardinia, the modal verb 'I must' (It.