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Use Modal Verbs and Adverbs to Show Degrees of Possibility

In this worksheet, students practise combining modal verbs and adverbs to express degrees of possibility.

'Use Modal Verbs and Adverbs to Show Degrees of Possibility' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  English

Curriculum subtopic:  Grammar: Nouns, Verbs & Tenses

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Modal verbs are used to show how likely things are to happen. This can be called expressing degrees of possibility.

It might rain today.

The parcel should arrive tomorrow.

Kevin's brother must come first in the race – he's such a fast runner!

rain cloud

Some adverbs can also be used to express degrees of possibility.

Perhaps it rained last night.

The parcel probably arrived yesterday.

Kevin's brother certainly has a good chance of winning the race – he's such a fast runner!

 

Sometimes both modal verbs and adverbs of possibility can be used in the same sentence for emphasis.

He probably ought to do it.

It definitely must be below freezing. I can see ice on the windows!

 

In this worksheet you can practise using modal verbs and adverbs to express degrees of possibility.

Read the following sentence. Does it use a modal verb or an adverb to express possibility?

 

Maybe I'm going to Jayden's party tomorrow.

Modal verb

Adverb

Both

Read the following sentence. Does it use a modal verb or an adverb to express possibility?

 

I ought to finish my homework before I watch television.

modal verb

adverb

both

Read the following sentences. Does the first sentence use a modal verb or an adverb to express possibility?

 

Perhaps it might snow soon. What do you think?

modal verb

adverb

both

Read the following sentences. Does the first sentence use a modal verb or an adverb to express possibility?

 

I certainly can't jump off the top board at the swimming pool. I'm terrified of heights!

modal verb

adverb

both

This time, decide whether the event in the first sentence is likely to happen or not.

 

Obviously Freya is coming to my party. She's my best friend!

not very likely

equally likely or unlikely

very likely

Again, decide whether the event in the sentence is likely to happen or not.

 

Maybe Freya will come to my party.

not very likely

equally likely or unlikely

very likely

This time, look at the adverbs in the list and put them in order of how likely something is to happen.

 

probably

certainly

possibly

Column A

Column B

not very likely to happen
certainly
very likely to happen
probably
will definitely happen
possibly

Now look at this list of adverbs. Which two are almost the same as each other in meaning?

 

maybe

definitely

probably

certainly

maybe and probably

certainly and definitely

probably and certainly

This time, two of the adverbs in the list could be used to complete the sentence. Tick them.

 

I may __________ go to Paris next year, but it is very expensive so we might stay in Britain.

possibly

definitely

surely

perhaps

probably

This time, match up the adverbs and modal verbs that are most likely to be used together.

Column A

Column B

may
certainly
must
possibly
should
probably
  • Question 1

Read the following sentence. Does it use a modal verb or an adverb to express possibility?

 

Maybe I'm going to Jayden's party tomorrow.

CORRECT ANSWER
Adverb
EDDIE SAYS
Glad to see you having a go! The adverb \'maybe\' suggests that the speaker is not sure whether to go to the party or not.
  • Question 2

Read the following sentence. Does it use a modal verb or an adverb to express possibility?

 

I ought to finish my homework before I watch television.

CORRECT ANSWER
modal verb
EDDIE SAYS
Great effort! The use of the modal verb \'ought to\' suggests that the speaker knows that finishing the homework is the right thing to do but that he or she is tempted to watch television instead!
  • Question 3

Read the following sentences. Does the first sentence use a modal verb or an adverb to express possibility?

 

Perhaps it might snow soon. What do you think?

CORRECT ANSWER
both
EDDIE SAYS
Well done for having a go. In this sentence the use of both a modal verb (might) and an adverb (perhaps) emphasises how uncertain the speaker is. Keep going!
  • Question 4

Read the following sentences. Does the first sentence use a modal verb or an adverb to express possibility?

 

I certainly can't jump off the top board at the swimming pool. I'm terrified of heights!

CORRECT ANSWER
both
EDDIE SAYS
Again, using a modal verb (can\'t) and an adverb (certainly) in the same sentence helps to emphasise the point the speaker is making.
  • Question 5

This time, decide whether the event in the first sentence is likely to happen or not.

 

Obviously Freya is coming to my party. She's my best friend!

CORRECT ANSWER
very likely
EDDIE SAYS
Remember if you are unsure about any meanings you can use a dictionary to look them up. The adverb \'obviously\' suggests that Freya will come to the party.
  • Question 6

Again, decide whether the event in the sentence is likely to happen or not.

 

Maybe Freya will come to my party.

CORRECT ANSWER
equally likely or unlikely
EDDIE SAYS
The use of the adverb \'maybe\' suggests uncertainty. We can not say for sure whether she will come or not.
  • Question 7

This time, look at the adverbs in the list and put them in order of how likely something is to happen.

 

probably

certainly

possibly

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

not very likely to happen
possibly
very likely to happen
probably
will definitely happen
certainly
EDDIE SAYS
\'Possibly\' suggests that although something might happen it is not very likely. If you say \'Grandad may possibly come over tomorrow\' then you are not really expecting him to. \'Probably\' suggests that he is likely to come over. \'Certainly\' is the option which suggests that it will definitely happen. Your doing great keep going!
  • Question 8

Now look at this list of adverbs. Which two are almost the same as each other in meaning?

 

maybe

definitely

probably

certainly

CORRECT ANSWER
certainly and definitely
EDDIE SAYS
You getting the hang of this now? The adverbs \'certainly\' and \'definitely\' both suggest that the event is going to happen. You can do this!
  • Question 9

This time, two of the adverbs in the list could be used to complete the sentence. Tick them.

 

I may __________ go to Paris next year, but it is very expensive so we might stay in Britain.

CORRECT ANSWER
possibly
perhaps
EDDIE SAYS
The other adverbs in the list suggest that the speaker will go to Paris, but it isn\'t that certain because of the expense. Fantastic effort.
  • Question 10

This time, match up the adverbs and modal verbs that are most likely to be used together.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

may
possibly
must
certainly
should
probably
EDDIE SAYS
\'May\' and \'possibly\' suggest that it might happen, but you can not be sure. \'Must\' and \'certainly\' both suggest that it is going to happen and the subject is sure about it. \'Should\' and \'probably\' suggest that it is likely to happen and that the subjects believes it will.
---- OR ----

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