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Grammar: Expressions For Modal Auxiliaries

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The past and future tenses of the modal auxiliaries  can, must (in the meaning of obligation) and may (in the meaning of  permission) are expressed via the following expressions:

CAN:  be able to + verb

She will be able to do it tomorrow.

They were not able to come.

Will you be able to bring it next week?

MUST: have to + verb

We will not have to go there.

I had to buy new curtains.

Did you have to go there?

MAY: be allowed to + verb

We are allowed to stay out until 8 p.m.

Will we be allowed to go to the cinema?

They were not allowed to buy anything.

Note:

These expressions can be also used in the present tense.

I am able to win the tournament.

Is he allowed to buy a dog?

You have to send the letter today.

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