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Grammar: Modal Verbs and theirEquivalents


necessity, obligation


must (n’t), (don’t) have to, be to, should (n’t) –должен


ability, possibility

способность, возможность

can (‘t), could, be able to – мочь, уметь




may, be allowed to – мочь, иметь разрешение


a) obligation

You must (have to, should) do this work carefully (должен).

You had to do this work yesterday (должен был).

He is to visit our country next summer (должен, планирует).

You mustnt copy (не должен списывать, запрещается).

You shouldn’t tell lies (не должен).

b) possibility, ability

He can (is able to) translate the text himself (может).

He could (was able to) translate this text at the last lesson (мог).

c) permission

I may (am allowed to) work in the laboratory (могу, имею разрешение).

You will be allowed to work in the laboratory next week (разрешат).

3.18 Choose the English equivalents.

a) Я должен

1. I can

2. I have to

3. I am able to

b) Он может

1. He must

2. He has to

3. He may

c) Она должна была

1. She was able to…

2. She had to…

3. She was allowed to …

d) Мы могли

1. We had to…

2. We could…

3. We were to …

e) Они должны были

1. They are allowed…

2. They were able to…

3. They were to …

f) Я смогу, сумею

1. I will be able to…

2. I will be allowed to …

3. I will have to …

3.19 Translate the sentences.

1.The student has to prepare carefully his homework. 2.Our University is to train many specialists for the shipbuilding industry. 3.At the last lesson I was able to tell a long story in English. 4.The students of all the faculties are allowed to work at the University or at any other office and plant. 5.My friend was to defend his diploma project in March but he fell ill. 6.I had to carry out experiments with electricity in the physics laboratory yesterday.

3.20 Complete the sentences with the proper modal verb. A) Permission

1. Janet: Can I smoke in the house?

Mrs Jones: Well, you can smoke in your room but you can’t smoke in the kitchen.

2. Janet: … I make a call?

Mrs Jones: Yes, you can, but you have to pay for the calls you make.

3. Janet: … I keep a cat?

Mrs Jones: No, I’m sorry you can’t. I don’t want animals in the house.

b) Ability

1.George has traveled a lot. He … speak four languages. 2.Tom … drive but he hasn’t got a car. 3.He can’t play tennis very well now but he … play quite well when he was younger. 4.She can’t run very fast now but when she was at school she … run faster than anyone else. 5.I looked very carefully and I … see a figure in the distance.

3.21 Obligation and advice. Choose the best for these sentences.

1.It’s very early. We must / don’t have to leave now. 2.We can go to the cinema tonight. I must / don’t have to work. 3.You look tired. You should / mustn’t have a holiday. 4.That’s a great film. You don’t have to / should see it. 5.His leg is broken. We should / must phone the doctor. 6.These windows are dirty. You must / should clean them more often. 7.Peter drives too fast. He should / must drive more carefully. 8.He owes you a lot of money. You shouldn’t / mustn’t lend him any more. 9.I’m sorry I couldn’t come yesterday. I should / had to work late. 10.Many children in Britain have to / should wear uniforms when they go to school.

3.22 Say what we must and mustn’t do at table.

1.We … speak with our mouth full. 2.We … put the table napkin on our knees. 3.We … reach across for the salt.4.We … use the fork and knife properly. 5.We … put our elbows on the table. 6.We … wave the knife or the fork in the air. 7.We … lift a soup bowl to our mouth. 8.We … eat noiselessly.

3.23 Choose the correct preposition.

1.Hurry up! Our bus leaves on/in an hour. 2.In the picture Jerry is sitting among/between Alex and Ted. 3.The postman is in/at the door. He’s got some letters for us. 4.Father goes to work in/by car every morning. 5.I’m meeting Peter for coffee on/at Tuesday. 6.Be careful as you walk across/along the street. 7.I go to the University on/by foot.


Read the text about Russian Nobel prize winners and say if the statements are true or false.

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