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Understand Modal Verbs 2

In this worksheet, students practise expressing modal verbs in the negative and the past tense.

'Understand Modal Verbs 2' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Writing: Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation

Curriculum subtopic:   Modal Verb Awareness

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Modal verbs work with other verbs to show how likely things are to happen, to give advice and opinions and to show skills or abilities.

It might rain soon.

You should do your homework now.

Peter can play the piano.

 

When we want to express them as a negative we simply add 'not'.

It might not rain after all.

You should not climb that wall.

Peter cannot play the piano very well. (This is written as one word instead of two.)

 

 

In informal situations we sometimes abbreviate these negatives to mightn't, shouldn't and so on, and then they are written as one word with an apostrophe to show where the 'o' has been left out. Take care with shall and will, as their negatives are not formed in the usual way.

can / can't

could / couldn't

will / won't

would / wouldn't

shall / shan't

should / shouldn't

might / mightn't

must / mustn't

ought to / oughtn't to

May not is not usually abbreviated to mayn't. This sounds very old-fashioned.

 

Modal verbs do not act like ordinary verbs when we put them in the past tense. 'Can' becomes 'could'.

Katie can play the piano.

Katie could play the piano.

 

However, in most cases the modal verb stays the same but the main verb uses 'have' and then the past participle.

I should go to bed at nine o'clock.

I should have gone to bed at nine o'clock. (Or: I should've gone to bed at nine o'clock.)

Andrew might come round this evening.

Andrew might have come round this evening. (Or: Andrew might've come round this evening.)


It is a very common mistake to write 'should of' and 'might of' instead of 'should have' and 'might have', but this is never correct.

 

In this worksheet you can practise putting modal verbs into the negative form and into the past tense.

Read the following sentence and rewrite it in the negative by adding 'not'.

 

I might come tomorrow.

 

Imagine you are in a formal situation, so don't abbreviate it.

Read the following sentence and rewrite it in the negative by adding 'not'.

 

You may go inside now.

 

Again, write the full version, not the abbreviated one.

Read the following sentence and rewrite it in the negative by adding 'not'.

 

You can leave now.

 

Write the formal version.

Read the following sentence and rewrite it in the negative by adding 'not'.

 

You ought to wipe your hands on that towel.

 

Write the formal version.

This time the sentence is already in the negative. Choose the correct shortened form of the modal verb.

 

We would not have won without that penalty.

wouldnot

would'nt

wouldn't

Choose the correct shortened form of the modal verb in the negative.

 

He will not come again.

willn't

won't

wo'nt

Choose the correct shortened form of the modal verb in the negative.

 

I shall not go to bed!

shan't

sha'nt

shalln't

This time choose the correct version of the sentence in the past tense.

 

Sarah might go to London on Monday.

Sarah might of went to London on Monday.

Sarah might have gone to London on Monday.

Sarah might have went to London on Monday.

Sarah might of gone to London on Monday.

This time there are two correct versions of the sentence in the past tense. Tick them both.

 

You should listen to Jamie before starting.

You should of listened to Jamie before starting.

You should've listened to Jamie before starting.

You should have listened to Jamie before starting.

You shouldv'e listened to Jamie before starting.

Again, there are two correct versions of the sentence in the past tense. Tick them both.

 

I could do that!

I could've done that.

I could of done that.

I could have done that.

I couldv'e done that.

  • Question 1

Read the following sentence and rewrite it in the negative by adding 'not'.

 

I might come tomorrow.

 

Imagine you are in a formal situation, so don't abbreviate it.

CORRECT ANSWER
I might not come tomorrow.
EDDIE SAYS
Remember that 'might not' is written as two separate words.
  • Question 2

Read the following sentence and rewrite it in the negative by adding 'not'.

 

You may go inside now.

 

Again, write the full version, not the abbreviated one.

CORRECT ANSWER
You may not go inside now.
EDDIE SAYS
Remember that 'may not' is written as two separate words.
  • Question 3

Read the following sentence and rewrite it in the negative by adding 'not'.

 

You can leave now.

 

Write the formal version.

CORRECT ANSWER
You cannot leave now.
EDDIE SAYS
Remember that 'cannot' is written as one word.
  • Question 4

Read the following sentence and rewrite it in the negative by adding 'not'.

 

You ought to wipe your hands on that towel.

 

Write the formal version.

CORRECT ANSWER
You ought not to wipe your hands on that towel.
EDDIE SAYS
The word 'not' comes between 'ought' and 'to'.
  • Question 5

This time the sentence is already in the negative. Choose the correct shortened form of the modal verb.

 

We would not have won without that penalty.

CORRECT ANSWER
wouldn't
EDDIE SAYS
The apostrophe shows where the 'o' would have gone, so it comes between the 'n' and the 't'.
  • Question 6

Choose the correct shortened form of the modal verb in the negative.

 

He will not come again.

CORRECT ANSWER
won't
EDDIE SAYS
Again, the apostrophe is used to show where the 'o' has been missed out, so it comes between the 'n' and the 't'.
  • Question 7

Choose the correct shortened form of the modal verb in the negative.

 

I shall not go to bed!

CORRECT ANSWER
shan't
EDDIE SAYS
This is a tricky one. Strictly speaking there should be another apostrophe to show where the two l's have been missed out, but this is never put in.
  • Question 8

This time choose the correct version of the sentence in the past tense.

 

Sarah might go to London on Monday.

CORRECT ANSWER
Sarah might have gone to London on Monday.
EDDIE SAYS
The correct past tense is 'might have gone'.
  • Question 9

This time there are two correct versions of the sentence in the past tense. Tick them both.

 

You should listen to Jamie before starting.

CORRECT ANSWER
You should've listened to Jamie before starting.
You should have listened to Jamie before starting.
EDDIE SAYS
The correct shortened form of 'should have' is 'should've' with the apostrophe between the 'd' and the 'v'.
  • Question 10

Again, there are two correct versions of the sentence in the past tense. Tick them both.

 

I could do that!

CORRECT ANSWER
I could've done that.
I could have done that.
EDDIE SAYS
Remember that the apostrophe should be placed where the letters have been missed out. In this case it replaces the 'ha' in 'have'.
---- OR ----

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