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What are modal verbs of degree?

Modal verbs of degree tell us the degree of certainty of something. They state if a situation is certain, probably or possible.

 

What do they mean?

We use modal verbs of degree to state what we expect to happen and to deduce the future state of something.

 

Which modal verbs do we use?

We use different modal verbs for present and past situations.

 

Present modals

When we talk about a present or future state or situation.  

% OF DEGREE MODAL VERB
100% MUST/WILL
70% SHOULD
50% MAY/CAN
0% CAN´T/WON´T

I will be back home by 9pm.

I should pass the exam as long as it all goes to plan.

I may get a good grade if the teacher is feeling generous.

I won´t pass without a miracle.

 

Modal verbs of degree often form part of the second conditional

Past modals

When we talk about a past state or situation. We normally use the modal perfect for past situations

% OF DEGREE MODAL VERB
100% WOULD
70% SHOULD
50% MIGHT/COULD
0% COULDN´T/WOULDN´T

I would have been the champion if I hadn´t fallen at the last hurdle.

I should have won the race.

I might have got a better grade if things had gone differently.

It couldn´t have gone worse to be honest.

 

Modal verbs of degree often form part of the third conditional

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