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Level: Teen/Adult Elementary
Grammar: Modals 1

1a Read the dialog.

Tim: You should leave now, Sue. You might miss the bus.
Sue: Okay. Oh, by the way, I may/could be late coming home this evening.
Tim: Why?
Sue: My old friend Danny is coming to see me at work, but he might not be there until
after six o'clock. He must be really busy today.
Tim: Would you call me if you're going to be really late? I don't want to worry. And you
mustn't forget to call your parents today, too. They left a message yesterday.
Sue: Hey, I have an idea. You ought to come to see Danny too. He would love to see
you. I'll pay for your dinner if you're short of cash.
Tim: You don't have/need to do that. I got paid yesterday.
Sue: Great! So I'll see you this evening.
1b Match the phrases to their meanings. One meaning is used 3 times.
1 should leave

a saying it's a good idea

2 might miss

b saying it's possible

3 may/could be

c saying it's very probable

4 might not be

d saying it's not necessary

5 must be

e saying it's not probable

6 would you call

f saying it's imperative not to

7 mustn't forget

g asking a favor

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8 ought to come

h making an offer

9 'll pay
10 don't have/need to do

1c Complete the grammar rule

Subject + _______+ _______ + object
Example: Sue ..
1d Complete the second sentence to mean the same as the first. Use the modals from
1 It's almost certain Tom is in Spain right now.
Tom _________________ in Spain right now.
2 I'm offering to help you with your project.
I ______________ with your project.
3 It's not necessary for you to buy a ticket. I have an extra one.
You __________________ a ticket. I have an extra one.
4 Its a good idea to renew your passport before it expires.
You ___________________before it expires.
5 Dave, can you do me a favor and answer the phone?
Dave, _______________________for me?
6 Its possible that I'll move to a bigger apartment soon.
I __________________________to a bigger apartment soon.

2 Look at the pictures. Write a modal sentence for each. Use the cues.
get hurt be rich change hairstyle drink plenty of water be thirsty
go out without an umbrella
get married paint the wall

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be careful

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3 Read these problems. Give advice to the people. Use should, ought to, might, could,

1 I am fourteen years old. I am not getting along with my parents. I want to run
away from home. What should I do?
You mustn't run away from home. You might get into big trouble if you do. Instead, you
should ____________________________________________.

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2 I'm pretty good at school, but I'm having a lot of trouble with algebra. The class is
really big 45 students and the teacher is too busy to help. Any advice?
3 My doctor says I am about 20 kilos overweight. I love food, especially desserts, and I
don't get much exercise. How can I get slimmer?
4 My parents expect me to go to university, but I'm not good at studying. I want to
work as a builder like my grandfather did. How can I convince my parents it's a good
5 I ruin every relationship I get involved in. Im very jealous and check my date's phone
calls, pockets, e-mails. They feel harassed and obviously get angry. What can I do to
change this awful personality trait?
6 Im bored and it isn't easy for me to find pleasure in my job and personal life. Ive had
the same daily routine for about ten years, but what else can I do? I cant escape
responsibilities. Any realistic tips?

4 Choose the correct answers.

1 You really _____ exercise if you're not feeling well.
a wont'

b shouldn't

c might not

2 _______ pick up some vegetables on your way home this evening?

a Must you

b You would

c Would you

3 "Bill is a terrible pitcher."

"You _______ criticize the other players, Tim. Try to be more positive."
a mustn't

b couldn't

c might not

4 You ______ win the lottery if you buy a lot of tickets, but the chances are still pretty

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a should

b might

c must

5 "Why isn't Jason here yet? It's past six o'clock."

"There ______ be a problem on the freeway."
a must

b should

c can

6 "I can read Spanish, but I'm having trouble understanding when people talk."
" You ______ to listen to tapes and watch TV in Spanish."
a should

b ought

c must

7 "Are you coming to the party on Friday?"

"I ______ be able to come, but I'll do my best to be there."
a should not b must not

c might not

8 "What do you think of Cathy's skills?"

"She ______ be the best player on the team."
a may

b should

c can

5a Read. Should climatologists be the next fashion gurus?

NEW York submerged (Photo at:

Have you noticed the unusually warm weather during normally non-warm seasons?
People dont need to buy coats and sweaters in November and December as they used
to. Instead they need to make room in their wardrobes for lightweight jackets and
tropical-weight cashmere. Global warming is also affecting the fashion industry. Should
we ask the weather forecaster about what to wear for the coming season? They might
help us save some money on useless apparel!
Global warming has proved disastrous for the fashion industry, which has historically
created designs relying on predictable weather. Fashion experts say companies should

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invest money in making seasonless fabric that may go well with unseasonable
weather.' They should also consult climatologists before making the new collections,
and shouldnt rely only on fashion designers opinions and ideas. The fashion industry
needs to work with a climate team these days to avoid losing millions of dollars each
What might happen in the future? The photo above shows a couple sunbathing on a
rooftop in a submerged New York, an ad launched by apparel-maker Diesel, raising
awareness of global warming. Would you like to go back to the old days when any living
soul could guarantee wintertime started in winter ?
5b Write four questions about the text. Use modals.
1 ________________________________________________________________?
2 ________________________________________________________________?
3 _________________________________________________________________?
4 _________________________________________________________________?

6 Grammar brief


Ability/lack of ability

I can speak Portuguese


I cant speak Portuguese

Your examples

Can you speak Portuguese?


It may rain tomorrow.


The doctor may not come on

time today.
The situation could get even


I might get the job, but there

were many qualified
She might not come after

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what happened.
High probability

This must be expensive.

Its imperative NOT TO
Its a good idea

Liz mustnt forget her

They should clean their room
before the guests arrive.
They shouldnt eat sweets if
they are on a diet.
Should I stay or should I leave
the room?

Its necessary/not

My brother needs to study

with a classmate.
You dont need to wear
special clothes to come to
our party.

Making an offer

Ill fix something for dinner.

Asking a favor

Would you turn off the


Scroll down for the answer key.

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Answer key Grammar Modals

Subject + modal+ verb + object
Example: Sue might come back home later.

1 Tom must be in Spain right now.
2 I 'll help with your project.
3 You don't need/have to buy a ticket. I have an extra one.
4 You should / ought to renew your passport before it expires.
5 Dave, could / would you answer the phone for me?
6 I may / might move to a bigger apartment soon.

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1 He should / ought to be careful. He might get hurt.
2 He should / ought to / shouldn't change his hairstyle.
3 They / The people who own / live in the house must be rich.
4 He should / ought to drink plenty of water. He must be thirsty.
5 They need to / ought to paint the wall.
6 You shouldn't / mustn't go out without an umbrella.
7 They must be going to get married.

3 [suggested answers]
1 ... talk to your parents or a school counsellor.
2 You must know someone who can help you. Maybe you could find another student
who is good at algebra and who might do lessons with you.
3 You ought to join a gym or a weight loss group. You could try hanging out with people
who eat healthy food. You might learn how to change your habits.
4 You mustn't rule out the idea of a college education. It might make your life better
even if you don't use it for your work.
5 You should teach yourself to respect others' privacy. Your partners must get very
frustrated with you, so you ought to imagine how they feel and act accordingly.
6 You should find a sport or hobby that you really enjoy. It might give you more energy
for your daily life.


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5b per students

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