giovedì 20 aprile 2017

Modal verbs for speculation

Lingua e traduzione inglese I
Friday, 10 March 2017

The modal verbs for speculation (as well as for deduction) are used in the way which follows:
  • must for certainty (we are sure a fact is true), e.g.: The light’s on. Ken must be at home;
  • can’t/couldn’t for certainty (we are sure a fact is not true), e.g.: Jamie can’t/couldn’t be in the library. It’s closed;
  • may/might/could for possibility (we are less sure), e.g.: The may/might/could be watching us.
In order to revise this type of verbs, you can take a look at the following (really short) video:

The underlying table gives you an overview of modal verbs for speculation tense.

Present simple
Present continous
Modal verb + base form
Modal verb + be + -ing form
She might post pictures on her blog.
She might be posting pictures on her blog.
Present simple
Past continuous
Modal verb + have + past participle
Modal verb + have been + past participle
I couldn’t have slept well last night.
He could have been working late
Past simple
Past continuous
Modal verb + be + past participle
Modal verb + have been + past participle
Something should be done.
He may have been delayed by a traffic jam.


Some words and some locutions (above all about fashion) you should memorise:
  • colours that clash loc. ‘colori che cozzano’
  • disease n. ‘malattia’
  • dreadful adj. ‘orribile’
  • frumpy adj. ‘trasandato’ ↔ fashinable adj. ‘alla moda’
  • porter n. ‘facchino’
  • shopaholic n. ‘maniaco dello shopping’
  • shopaholicism n. ‘mania dello shop’
  • wedge n. ‘zeppa’

Locutions and Synonyms

The underlying notes will be useful for certain transformation words exercises:
  • for a change = in contrast with one’s usual behaviour loc. ‘per una volta’
  • in fashion = popular adj. ‘alla moda’
  • in luck = lucky, fortunate adj. ‘fortunato’
  • in the end = finally adv. ‘alla fine’
  • no longer valid = out of date loc.‘scaduto’
  • on purpose = deliberately adv. ‘di proposito’

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