Related Topics

Present

Simple Past

Present Perfect

Past Perfect

Future

Future Perfect

Strong Verbs

"lassen"

Passive

Reflexive Verbs

Subjunctive

Special Subjunctive


Grammar Review Home

Dartmouth German
  Studies Department


The Modal Auxiliaries in English:

English features a group of "helping verbs" that function differently from most others: can, may, must, shall, should, and will. They do not describe an action, but express an attitude toward an action usually represented by an infinitive. Their present-tense conjugations resemble the simple past of strong verbs ("the truth will out"), and they do not use "to" when combining with infinitives ("she can go home"). They form past and future tenses in various ways: "I can," "I could," "I had been able to," "I will be able to"). Note also that "to" is omitted when citing the auxiliary verb itself; we do not say "to must."

The Modal Auxiliaries in German:

Models in the Past Tenses:

Examples of the Simple Past Tense with Modals:

Forming the Present Perfect and Past Perfect Tenses with Modals:


Special Meanings of the Modal Auxiliaries:

"dürfen" has several meanings:


"können" also has a variety of meanings:


"mögen":

 
  One has to do everything oneself
 

"müssen":

 
  We're making our village more beautiful.
 

"sollen":


"wollen":

 
  I want a legal protection that represents my interests, even on the internet.