Purpose of Modals


Modals add to the meaning of the main verb and reflect the writer’s or speaker’s perspective or emotion. As you saw above, modals show prediction, logical probability, or degree of certainty. Here is another example:

Situation: The doorbell rings.

High certainty: That must be the pizza.

Moderate certainty: That should be the pizza.

Low certainty: That could be the pizza.

In addition to those changes in meaning, the following features of modals also confuse English:

I will see the movie.

I want to see the movie.