Modal Verbs «can», «may»

The Gerund


Using: Modal verbs are used to show the speakers attcude toward the action or state indicated by the other verb used in the Infinitive form: I can speak English well.

Modal verbs are called defective because:

they have only two forms: present and past: can — could, may — might;

they don´t have Infinitive, Gerund and Participle;

they aren´t used in compound Tenses (Continuous, Perfect, Perfect Continuous) and in Passive Voice;

they do not take the end «-s» in the third person singular:

He can swim.

they are followed by Infinitive without the particle «to»:

You may go home.

they make up the negative and the interrogative forms themselves:

He cannot swim.

Can he swim?

they have two negative forms — a full form and a contracted one:

cannot — can´t

may not — mayn´t.

Table 1

Exercise 1. Make up negative and interrogative sentences:

He can come to the meeting.

We can see this picture at the museum.

My sister can cook very well.

My friend can get tickets to the theatre.

I can help you about the house.

You may ettend the lectures.

You may use the dictionary at the lesson.

You may smoke here.

You make take my umbrella.

You may keep it in the fridge.

Exercise 2. Make up sentences according to the models using the verb can or can´t.


She needs a pen (to get). I can get it to her.

Tom wants to clean the flat (to help).

She likes apples (to get).

He needs a dictionary (to give).

Nick needs a new coat (to buy).

Ann needs a help (to find).


I´m busy now (to meet you). I can´t meet you.

They work hard (to come for a chat).

Her flat is too large (to clean it herself).

These words are new (to spell them).

I have little time (to visit you).

She is unwell (to go to the cinema with us).

Exercise 3. Give permition or prohibition according to the models using may or must not: MODEL 1:

The girl wants to play in your room. - She may play there.

The children want to go to the cinema.

I want to switch off the radio.

He wants to put on your hat.

Tom want to play with his dog now.

Ann wants to bring her friends to the party.


May I open the windows?

No, you mustn´t. It´s very cold today.

May I play the piano now?

May I have a week´s holiday?

May I return your book on Monday?

May I ring you up at 7 o´clock?

May I meet my aunt at the station?

Exercise 4. Translate into English:

Чи можна Ганні піти на концерт?

Він може так гарно співати!

Я не можу зрозуміти це правило.

Чи можна Петру відремонтувати ваше радіо?

Він не може запізнюватися на заняття.

Зараз ти можешь трохи перепочити.

Вона не може працювати понадно


Вона може танцювати, а він — ні.

Ти можеш передзвонити мені пізніше?

Я не можу взяти тебе с собою — я поспішаю.


Formation: VIV or Vt+(-ing) (Paticiple I)

Using: 1) after the verbs: to love/hate, to delay, to injoy, to excuse, to finish, to give up, to go on, to need, to mind, to require, to want, to like/dislike;

2) after the word combinations: to be fond of, to look forward to, to insist on, to be interested in, to depend on, to hear of, to object to, to thank for.

Table 2

Exercise 5. Choose the correct form of the verbs:

We decided (to go, going) to the cinema.

They are interested in (to collect, collecting) stamps.

Ann appreciate (to have, having) this picture.

I am looking forward (to meet, meeting) him again.

Thank you for (to call, calling).

She is not ready (to return, returning) home.

Do you mind my (to smoke, smoking) here?

I hope you won´t object to (to have, having) a snack in a cafe.

Helen thinks of (to visit, visiting) Paris.

Excuse my (to interrupt, interrupting) you.

Exercise 6. Translate into English:

Дякую вам за запрошення на день народження.

Я не проти того, щоб попоїсти у ресторані.

Ви вже почали дотримуватися дієти?

Батько попросив мене зателефонувати вам.

Він думає незабаром повернутися до Києва.

Ви не проти, щоб відчинити вікно?

Вона уникає подорожувати літаком.

Ми не заперечуємо проти його малювання.

Моя сестра дуже полюбляє куховарити.

У неї була можливість поїхати у Львів.