venerdì 16 ottobre 2015

English B2 blended - Lesson 03

In this lesson, I will talk about the secondary functions of modal verbs. Indeed this kind of verbs (except shall) can be used to express the probability (that is the degree of certainty/uncertainty) as well as the surprise.

Picture taken and re-elaborated from:

So let's look at how they work!

may and might as modal verbs of possibility
1) Dov’è Paul? Forse ha dimenticato l’appuntamento.

Where is Paul? He may have forgotten the appointment.


the date.
2) Ma ha lavorato alla Microsoft?!

Forse conosce Bill Gates.

He has worked at Microsoft! He may know Bill Gates.

He worked


Did he work at Microsoft?

Has he worked

NB: In the above mentionated context, may and might are perfectly synonim, but in the question to ask permission might sounds more formal and old-fashionated.
NB1: The meaning of the Italian adverb forse is inside the modal verbs may and might.
NB2: date and appointment are not the synonims: the first one is for the dentist and so on, the second one is for a romantic meeting.

can as modal verb of surprise
(Loro) non possono aver divorziato! Si sono sposati solo un anno fa!
They Can’t have got divorced! They got married only an year ago!

Can’t have gotten divorced (american English)

As we have seen, must represents the maximum degree of certainty, so it can be use to express conclusion.

Modal verb for conclusion
Ha visto Pulp Fiction 20 volte?! Deve piacergli proprio tanto!
Did he see Pulp Fiction 20 times? He must love it really much!

(so) much!

a lot!

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