15.  Modal verbs for possibility (2)

15. Modal verbs for possibility (2)

Has Tim see a UFO?

Main Practise:  Modal Verbs for Possibility (2)
Revision:           Present Perfect - probably 

The speaker is certain (present):
can't + bare infinitive (something is not possible)

  • You can't be tired: you slept ten hours last night.
-  He hasn't got the job.
-  You can't know that: he hasn't phoned you yet.
-  I just feel it.

must + bare infinitive (something seems true) 

  • This is a lovely vase. It must be very valuable. 
  • You must love your job: you always look so happy when you talk about it.

    Something is possible:
    may / might / could  + bare infinitive  (something will possibly happen)
    - He may come to the party but he might be too tired after working all day.
    - I might take a train; the bus journey is cheaper but it takes a lot longer. 
    - It could rain later; look at those clouds.


I admit  -  I accept something, i.e. 
  • I admit that I didn't play as well as I usually do. 
  • She admits taking Lynne's jacket but says she believed it was hers; the two jackets are very similar.
  • The Prime Minister admitted lying to the parliament.

    I'm afraid  -  here it means to politely express regret, being sorry something is not case, i.e.
    - I'm afraid we have to cancel the picnic because of the weather.
    - If your daughter continues to behave so badly I'm afraid we shall have to ask her to leave      
   the school.
- I'm afraid I can't help you this afternoon: I've got to *pick up my son at the airport.
*Phrasal Verb: to collect someone (usually) in a car, (other meanings too).

I suppose  -  I think, ('suppose' can suggest a reluctance to do someting) i.e.
  • I suppose we should start cleaning the house. I don't really want to but we have to.
  • I suppose you want to rest after your long journey.

incredible  -  amazing, wonderful, i.e. 
- The movie was incredible.
- She's an incredible writer; you must read her novels.

probably  - likely, i.e. 
  • The government will probably win the vote, but it's not certain.
  • It'll probably rain later.

Tim looks out of his living room window and thinks he sees a UFO.

Complete the sentences.

   Hey, Mum, look at this.

Sam:    What is it?

Tim:    A  light in the sky. It   a UFO.

Sam:    I don't think so. It a plane.

Tim:     No, it a plane. They always have lights on the  wings and this is just one huge

Sam:    It does look a bit strange, I admit. I suppose it a UFO. 

Tim:     Just think, Mum, if it is a UFO then we're looking at a machine that has travelled 
               through space from an alien world. 

Sam:    Well, yes, that would be incredible. But I doubt that it is a UFO. It's probably a…

Tim:     Wait, it's getting nearer. Are we going to see aliens?

Sam:    No, Tim, I'm afraid it looks like a balloon with a light in it.

Tim:    What? Oh no…. you're right: it is a balloon with an LED light. 

Sam:   Sorry, Tim. Maybe next time it'll be a UFO.


Complete the sentences with the language you've practised.

must be  - could be  -  can't be
* must be and can't be are each used twice.

1.  This right: our food was twenty two pounds, I gave the waiter thirty pounds
     and he's only given me three pounds change.

2.  You crazy if you think I'm coming mountain climbing with you: you're not
     responsible enough to do such a dangerous sport.

3.  - Why is she so late?
     - I don't know. She lost.
     - No, she lost: I emailed her a clear map showing how to get here.

4.   - How old's John?
      - Oh, he at least sixty now.
      - No, he sixty: his sister's fifty nine and I know she's older than him.