English Modal Auxiliary Verbs Quiz

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15 Questions

Which of the following is a characteristic of English modal auxiliary verbs?

They express modality such as possibility and obligation

What distinguishes English modal auxiliary verbs from other verbs?

They are defective in that they do not have participles or plain forms

Which verb is NOT a central English modal auxiliary verb?

Ought

What is a common characteristic of the expressions 'had better' and 'ought'?

They lack certain inflected forms

What do descriptive grammars of English differ slightly on regarding modal auxiliary verbs?

The criteria they set for identifying modal auxiliary verbs

Which of the following verbs is NOT considered a central English modal auxiliary verb?

Use

What distinguishes English modal auxiliary verbs from other verbs?

They lack the ending ‑(e)s for the third-person singular

What is a common characteristic of the expressions 'had better' and 'ought'?

They share some characteristics with modal auxiliary verbs

Which verb is inflected as 'might' in Modern English?

May

What do descriptive grammars of English differ slightly on regarding modal auxiliary verbs?

The criteria they set for modal auxiliary verbs

What is a defining characteristic of English modal auxiliary verbs?

They express modality such as possibility and obligation

Which verb is NOT a central English modal auxiliary verb?

Ought

What is a distinguishing feature of the expressions 'had better' and 'ought'?

They lack preterite forms

Which verb is inflected as 'might' in Modern English?

May

What do descriptive grammars of English differ slightly on regarding modal auxiliary verbs?

Their spelling in unstressed versions

Study Notes

Characteristics of English Modal Auxiliary Verbs

  • English modal auxiliary verbs have a unique characteristic: they are defective, meaning they do not have a full set of inflected forms.
  • English modal auxiliary verbs are distinguished from other verbs in that they lack certain inflected forms, such as a past participle or infinitive form.

Central English Modal Auxiliary Verbs

  • The central English modal auxiliary verbs are can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, and would.
  • Need is not considered a central English modal auxiliary verb.

Expressions 'Had Better' and 'Ought'

  • The expressions 'had better' and 'ought' share a common characteristic: they are semi-modal, meaning they are not fully modal but have some modal-like properties.
  • The distinguishing feature of 'had better' and 'ought' is that they are semi-modal and have some modal-like properties.

Inflection of Verbs

  • The verb 'might' is inflected from the Old English verb 'mōgan'.
  • The verb 'may' is not inflected as 'might' in Modern English.

Descriptive Grammars of English

  • Descriptive grammars of English differ slightly on the classification and definition of modal auxiliary verbs.
  • The classification and definition of modal auxiliary verbs vary slightly among descriptive grammars of English.

Test your knowledge of English modal auxiliary verbs with this quiz. Learn to distinguish them from other verbs and understand how to express modality in English.

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