Modal Verbs – Exercises

First, in the exercise on the left, choose the correct modal verb in the present tense, in order to construct a text that makes sense. Then, replace the modal verb in the sentences on the right with the correct alternative form in the past tense.

display incorrect answers

Exercises

  1. Tom tidy his office today because he find anything anymore.
  2. His boss tells him that he be tidier.
  3. Otherwise he work in his department anymore.anymore is a signal word for negation
  4. When customers want information, he be able to help them immediately.
  5. He keep them waiting.Don’t forget:|need not = doesn’t have to|must not = isn’t allowed to
  6. If he sorts the files now, he panic when a customer calls.Don’t forget:|need not = doesn’t have to|must not = isn’t allowed to
  7. Instead, he help them immediately.
  1. Tom tidy his office last month because he find anything anymore.must → had to|can → be able to (could is also possible here)
  2. His boss told him that he be tidier.ought to → be expected to/be supposed to/be to
  3. Otherwise he work in his department in the future.can → be allowed to/could|To note: since this sentence is referring forward to the future from its standpoint in the past, we have to use the conditional (would not be allowed to|could not)
  4. When customers wanted information, he be able to help them immediately.ought to → be expected to/be supposed to/be to
  5. He to keep them waiting.must not → be not allowed to
  6. As he had sorted the files that morning, he panic when a customer called.need not → don’t have to
  7. Instead, he help them immediately.can → be able to (could is also possible here)