English Grammar Step by Step
UNIT 22 - Page 3
Insert the appropriate modal verb in the spaces provided.
When there is a verb in brackets, put it into the correct
You must come to the opera tonight. You’ll love it.
Must can express strong advice. Should and ought to are
possible instead of must, but the advice is not so strong.
Compare these sentences:
You mustn’t smoke. You’ve got lung cancer. (strong advice
You shouldn’t/oughtn’t to smoke. It’s not good for
a You __________ take one of these pills before going to bed.
b We __________ give our son a birthday party.
c You __________ go on a diet: you’re putting on weight.
d We __________ set up some scarecrows to prevent birds from
eating our crops.
e We __________ buy her a rag doll for her birthday. It’ll make
28 Revision exercise.
a She __________ have been adamant in her refusal, but she is
always willing to help.
b ‘__________ you clear the dishes away, darling?’
c They __________ have paid him off, otherwise he would have
squealed on them to the police.
d Someone __________ have slept in this bed recently, as it
is unmade. We made it the last time we came here.
e The government (not) __________ undercut spending power.
(I am totally against it.)
f ‘__________ you tell me if there is a cashpoint near here?’
‘I’m afraid there isn’t one near here.’
g The stable is in ruins. We __________ repair it straight away.
h ‘The FBI knows everything.’
‘It (not) __________ have found everything out!’
‘Our telephone __________ have been bugged.’
i Department stores (not) __________ undercut small shops. I
don’t think this is just.
j You __________ grasp the nettle and tell her that you are
going out with another girl.
k You (not) __________ panic. There’s nothing to be afraid
of. Everything’s under control.
l We (not) __________ afford further delay; we __________ act
m From now on, you __________ work to earn your own living. I
think it’s about time you found a job, got married and settled
n Only two people __________ enter that place without being
seen, namely you two. So you have no choice.
o We __________ rove the country next summer. Everything will
depend on the money we __________ get by then.
p You (not) __________ wash your hands of the whole matter.
You’re heavily involved in it.
q ‘You (not) __________ have prepared anything for dinner.
We’re going out to dinner with the Kings.’
‘You __________ have told me earlier!’
r She (not) __________ make anything for lunch, as we were going
out to a restaurant.
s ‘__________ I ask Sophie over to my birthday party?’
‘Yes, you must, love.’
t You (not) __________ play with matches, darling. You
__________ burn yourself.
u Guests (not) __________ take the key with them when they go
It __________ be left at the reception.
v ‘__________ they will play a dirty trick on us?’
‘I hope not.’
w ‘You (not) __________ bring this stray dog home, sweetie. It’s
got fleas all over.’
‘Please, mummy, let me have it.’
x She (not) __________ study a lot to pass an exam. She’s
incredibly brainy. As a matter of fact, she’s doing
two degree courses at the same time.
y They __________ give him the boot because he was becoming a
real problem for them.
z My finals were very hard, but I __________ pass them.
You might/could study. You’ve got an exam tomorrow.
Might and could suggest that you are not doing the proper
thing. Should (or ought to) would also be possible here,
but it would sound more like a bit of advice than a
a You __________ do the chores instead of lying on the
settee watching TV all day.
b You __________ take exercise; you need to lose weight.
c You __________ practise for your next perfomance. You’re
still a little green.
d They __________ scold their child for mocking at people.
He is running wild.
e You __________ at least be frank with me!
There’s nobody in. We should/ought to have called to tell
them we were coming.
We shouldn’t/oughtn’t to have given him the money.
The first sentence means that it was silly not to give them a
ring; the second, that it was foolish to give them the money.
Both should (not) + have + a past participle and ought (not)
to + have + a past participle are used to regret something we,
or other people, did or did not do.
a I (not) __________ have nodded off in his class, but I hadn’t
got a wink of sleep the previous night, and felt very tired.
b You (not) __________ have driven so fast. You could have
had an accident.
c ‘What the devil are you doing here? You __________ be at home.
It’s almost midnight.’
d You (not) __________ have hatched a plot to murder the
ambassador: it was a crazy idea.
e ‘What in thunder did you give her?’
‘You stupid fool! You (not) __________ have given her a beer.
She’s only a child.’
I ought to give up smoking, but I love it, so I don’t think I
Ought to carries the idea of objectiveness; and should,
of subjectiveness. The above sentence means that this
would be the right thing to do, that is, it does not
depend on my opinion. Still, this difference is not
normally very important, and either of them is usually
a I don’t understand. He __________ be walking on thin air,
as you don’t win the lottery every day.
b We (not) __________ have lost to Mexico by four goals: we were
much better than them.
c I __________ do these exercises every morning, but I
detest exercising, so I never do them.
d Your feelings (not) __________ have been pent up for so long.
e You __________ be more optimistic about the situation. Things
will look up.
What should/shall I wear? (Could you advise me what to wear?)
Should we buy her a present? (Do you think it would be a good
thing to buy her a present?)
Shall we buy her a present? (How about buying her a present?)
How should I know that? (How the blazes do you expect me to
I don’t see (any reason) why you should think I’m lazy. (I
think there is no reason to believe that.)
I should/would say he’ll come. (This is my opinion.)
Whom should I come across on my last holidays, but my
parents-in-law! (I would never have expected to find them
a Why __________ I tell you that?
b We went to a nudist beach thinking nobody knew us, and
who __________ come to say hullo to us, but our neighbours.
c I __________ think so too.
d I can’t think why he __________ have lied to me.
e What __________ we do now?
He should/ought to have arrived here an hour ago. (He
generally arrives at seven o’clock, and it is already
eight o’clock. He will be here any minute now, I think.)
He should/ought to be here any minute now. (He always
gets home at six o’clock, and it is ten past already,
so I expect him to be here any minute now.)
a They __________ be Stella’s place by now. They arranged to
meet there at half past nine, and it is ten o’clock.
b They __________ have got there by now. Why don’t you ring
them up now?
c He __________ have finished his work by now; I’ll go and see
if he has.
d She __________ come back in less than no time.
e She __________ be ready in a jiffy.
34 Revision exercise.
a ‘We __________ arrange a big party on Saturday evening.
If so, would you like to come?.’
‘We (not) __________ tell you for sure now, as we __________
go skiing next weekend. If we stay here and you decide to
celebrate your party, we would be very pleased to attend.’
b ‘You __________ say grace tonight!’ (a suggestion)
‘Me! I’m a confirmed atheist!’
c You __________ learn from your mistakes, otherwise you’ll
never become a wise person. (a piece of advice)
d You (not) __________ leave anything unsaid. (= You had better
tell us everything.)
e She (not) __________ have indicated right, or I’d have noticed
f This suit __________ be ironed inside out. (= We advise you to
iron this suit inside out.)
g He father told her that he (not) __________ give her a ride on
his shoulders, as they ached terribly.
h They (not) __________ be telling the truth! They __________
be kidding us!
i You __________ be right, but if you don’t ask you don’t get.
j You (not) __________ play with your catapult. It’s very
k I have no money, so I __________ make a reversed-charge call.
l ‘I told her to get out of my way, as I didn’t have x-ray
vision, and she got angry with me.’
‘You (not) __________ have said that to her. She’s very
sensitive, you know.’
‘Well, I know, but she was just in front of the television,
and I (not) __________ watch anything.’
‘Anyhow, there are many ways to tell people things.’
‘OK! OK! I won’t do it again.’
m What in heaven’s name did you tell them? You __________ have
kept your mouth shut!
n They __________ only do two things, viz wait or continue.
They agreed to take the second alternative.
o He __________ be here in no time at all. He just went round
p He said that they (not) __________ have nicked my scooter,
since they had been with him the whole afternoon.
q If you have no head for heights, you (not) __________ go
r Why __________ I help you? You’ve never done anything for me.
s You (not) __________ overtake now. There’s an unbroken line.
t I reckon you’ve gone too far. You (not) __________ have
shouted at me.
u ‘__________ we shack up or get married?’
‘Well, this is up to you.’
v You (not) __________ pay me back now. You __________ do
w ‘__________ I go to school today, mum? I’m not feeling very
‘No, you needn’t, darling.’
x We __________ go jogging every morning, but we always get up
late; so we don’t have time to do it.’
y There __________ be mice in the outbuilding. Some corn-cobs
have been nibbled.
z You (not) __________ invest in that firm, as your account
would be overdrawn by ten thousand pounds.
It is annoying that he should never include me on the list
It is annoying that he never includes me on the list of
It is vital that he should sign this document right away.
It is vital that he sign this document right away.
It is vital for him to sign this document right away.
It is vital that he signs this document right away.
It was better that she should take a bus than walk.
It was better that she take a bus than walk.
It was better for her to take a bus than (to) walk.
In the first sentence ‘annoying’ is an adjective that expresses
how we feel about something. In this case, both should (formal)
or a present or a past tense (It was annoying that he never
included me on the lists of players) are possible. As regards
adjectives like ‘vital’, they call for immediate action (as we
think that it is necessary to do something about it); they can
also indicate that we consider something the rightest or wisest
thing to do (‘better’). Here, we have three alternatives: to
use should, to omit it (subjunctive) or to use an infinitive
construction. For may be replaced with to when they are not
followed by an infinitive: Water is vital/essential to/for
life. Adjectives such as ‘vital’ and ‘essential’ may also
take a present or past tense: It was vital/essential that
they kept everything under control.
a It is a shame that you __________ arrive always late to
b It’s essential that any proof __________ be destroyed
c It’s strange that she __________ say that.
d It is advisable that she ___________ be here by noon.
e I’m surprised that you __________ like soap operas/It’s
surprising that you __________ like soap operas.
They suggested that he should spend the night there.
They insisted that she should stay with them.
I have just recommended that he should drink less.
They decided that they should tell everything to the
A verb + that + a subject + should indicates that it would
be a sensible or necessary thing to do.
a The lieutenant ordered that the sergeant __________ train his
men every day.
b Mr Perkins advised that I __________ read more often.
c He proposed that we __________ clear the dishes away while he
did the washing-up.
d We urged that he __________ study for a degree.
e He demanded that the meeting __________ be postponed, as not
all the members were present.
If you should need further details, do not hesitate to
In case you should have a breakdown, telephone this number.
He did not dare to go out lest/in case her pursuer should
He didn’t tell her so that/in order that she should not ask
any questions about it.
a He had a crib in case he __________ need it in the examination.
b He didn’t blab to the press lest they __________ take
c If it __________ hail tomorrow, please take my flowerpots in.
d __________ you require any of our latest models, please let
e He brought some balloons home so that his children __________
play with them.
38 Revision exercise.
a You __________ look on the bright side of things. (a piece
b The weather forecaster said this morning that it __________
snow in some nothern parts of the country.
c ‘Where’s he?’
‘He __________ have slunk away when we were not looking! Let’s
go and look for him.’
‘I guess you’re right!’
d Now you (not) __________ unsay what you have just said. A deal
is a deal.
e ‘I __________ take a laxative, as I’ve got awful constipation.’
‘It’s not surprising that you __________ be constipated, you
never eat fibre or fruit.’
f __________ I put the rubbish bin out now, mum? I’m finishing
my homework. (not) __________ I do it later?
g You __________ do as your heart tells you. (a bit of advice)
h ‘We’ve brought a tray of cakes.’
‘You __________ have brought anything. We bought plenty of
sweets this morning, but thanks anyway.’
i You __________ do it this way. (This is the way I want it.)
j Why __________ it run aground? I think everything will go
according to plan.
k It’s important that she __________ be kept at bay. She
__________ ruin our plans.
l He didn’t go there lest he __________ be discovered.
m This __________ be subject to some changes. (possibility)
n You __________ learn this off right away. (= I reckon that
it is imperative that you __________ learn this off right
o ‘Why __________ we start afresh?’
‘Because we need to forget everything.’
p She __________ have been strangled with a scarf. (= There is
enough evidence to believe this.)
q I __________ burn the midnight oil if I want to finish
it by tomorrow morning.
r ‘Your hair’s sticking up. You __________ comb it this minute.’
s She __________ be fortysomething, as I’m forty and she is
older than me.
t You (not) __________ jump the queue. You __________ join it
as everybody else.
u You (not) __________ stroke our neighbour’s cat. It
__________ scratch you, as it __________ be vicious at times.
v It’s ridiculous that you __________ think that I have a love
affair with my secretary.
w The colonel commanded that the fifth company __________ go
x This meat __________ have gone off; it’s giving off a bad
y He said that he (not) __________ get her out of his mind. (= It
was impossible for him to get her out of his mind.)
z The king directed that the armed forces __________ be put on
full alert in case a war __________ break out.
Had better has a similar meaning: We’d better leave for London
very early in the morning. There’s a long way to go. See unit
6, part 4, section 10.
See section 17 in this unit.
The perfect simple and progressive infinitives refer to the
past; the simple and progressive infinitives, to the present
or future: You should be helping your mother. (= You are not
doing the proper thing.)
See unit 9, section 51.
This structure is not very common in British English.
See the previous footnote.
Notice that the subjunctive does not have -s or -es or a past
form. Observe the subjunctive of the verb be: It is vital
that he (should) be here before the sun sets.
Note that ‘shame’ is a noun, not an adjective.
Other alternatives to the examples given in this section:
They suggested that he spent the night there.
They suggested that he spend the night there. (Observe
the use of the subjunctive here. See the previous section.)
They suggested his spending the night there. (If we
remove the possessive adjective, we would probably
include the speaker as well: They suggested that they
should spend the night there/They suggested spending
the night there.)
They insisted that she stayed with them.
They insisted that she stay with them. (subjunctive)
They insisted on/upon her staying with them.
I have just recommended that he drink less. (subjunctive)
I have just recommended his drinking less. (I have just
said that he should drink less.)
I have just recommended him to drink less. (I have just
told him to drink less.)
They decided to tell everything to the
Should here conveys the idea that something is not very
probable. Should can also precede the subject, and if is,
then, removed: Should you need further details, do not
hesitate to contact us. This is slightly more formal
than the construction with if. See also unit 24,
sections 11 and 14.
In case is normally followed by a present or a past tense,
but should is an alternative to this when we want to
suggest that something is not very likely. See units 24
(section 16) and 27 (section 7).
Might sometimes occurs instead of should: He did not dare to
go out lest her pursuer might find her. It is also possible to
omit the modal verb (subjunctive) or to use a present or past
tense: He did not dare to go out lest her pursuer (might/
should) find/found her. See unit 27, section 7.
Should sometimes occurs after so that or in order that,
although other modal verbs are often used instead: He
didn’t tell her so that/in order that she would not/
could not ask any questions. Might is also possible in
very formal contexts: The government approved a new
law so that/in order that we might have a better
quality of life. If the verb in the main clause is in
a present or future tense, we use may, can or will:
I’ll ring them up so that/in order that they may/can/
will know when my train arrives. See unit 27, section 5.
Author: Miquel Molina i Diez
Pages: 1, 2, 3 and the key
1 Negative and interrogative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
2 Short answers (Page 2 and the key)
3 Question tags (Page 2 and the key)
4 Questions and exclamations (Page 2 and the key)
5 So, neither, nor, either (the key)
6 Be, used to, would, be/get/become used to, dare, have, get, become, grow, go, turn, fall and feel (Page 2 and the key)
7 Verb tenses: forms (Page 2 and the key)
8 Irregular verbs
9 Verb tenses: uses (Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5 and the key)
10 Personal pronouns, possessives and reflexive pronouns (Page 2 and the key)
11 The genitive case (the key)
12 Singular and plural nouns (Page 2 and the key)
13 Gender (the key)
14 A, an, some, any, no, not, none, each, every and the; compounds of some, any, no and every (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
15 Neither, not...either, none, not...any, both and all (the key)
16 A few, few, a lot, lots, a little, little, many, much, no and plenty (the key)
17 Enough, too, so and such (the key)
18 Comparative and superlative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
19 Adjective order (the key)
20 Relative clauses (Page 2 and the key)
21 Do and make (the key)
22 Modal verbs (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
23 Infinitives, gerunds and present participles (Page 2 and the key)
24 Conditional sentences (Page 2 and the key)
25 Passive sentences (the key)
26 Reported speech (Page 2 and the key)
27 Purpose (the key)
28 Word order (the key)
29 Inversion (the key)
30 Connectors (Page 2 and the key)
31 Prepositions (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
32 Phrasal verbs (the key)