Exercise 1

Choose the correct modal verbs of deduction for each gap below.

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1Paul is behaving in a very unusual way. I think he ______ again.

a.
b.
c.

2I think there ______ a mistake in your tax return. You should check it. Choose TWO correct options

a.
b.
c.

3If Suzan said that, it ______ true. She never lies.

a.
b.
c.

4Sorry, but I'm not Connor. You ______ me for someone else.

a.
b.
c.

5I'm not sure I trust Peter. He ______ the person we think he is.

a.
b.
c.

 

 

Modal verbs of deduction – summary chart

 
Modal verbs of deduction – must, might, could, can’t
 

may, might

 
We use may and might to talk about things that are possibly true, but we don’t know for sure.

  • He’s more than 2 meters tall. He might be a basketball player. (=perhaps he is)
  • He says Betty is his friend, but I think she may be his girlfriend.

We use may not or might not to talk about things that are possibly not true, but we don’t know for sure.

  • You should call her. She might not know where you are. (=perhaps she doesn’t know)

 

can

 
We don’t use can as a modal of deduction.

  • He might/may be at home now. (NOT He can be at home now)

 

must, can’t

 
We use must when we are sure, or quite sure, that something is true.

  • You must be tired after the long journey. (=I’m sure you are tired)
  • I’m sure I had the keys when I left. They must be in the car.

But we use can’t (NOT mustn’t) when we are sure, or quite sure, that something is not true.

  • We’ve been walking for hours. It can’t be far from here. (NOT It mustn’t be far)
  • They’ve lived here only for a couple of months. They can’t know many people.

 

+ be -ing

 
After may, might, must or can’t we can use be + -ing, when we are talking about actions in progress.

  • They’ve gone to Ibiza, and right now they must be having a great time.
  • Call him. He might be waiting for us.

 


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