The use of Modal Verbs in English explained Beginners Course. Lesson 21

Lesson 21


This tutorial is focusing on the modal verb, “may”.

The modal verb, “”will””  and the use of the future simple, with “”will”.


1/Sentence Practice

John will finish work in twenty minutes time. He will meet Peter at the entrance to the Cinema.

They will go for something to eat. They are going to eat in London. Peter sees John and they leave the building together.

May I suggest an Indian Restaurant in “Baker Street”? You may, I love Indian food. We will take a Taxi.

It’s not raining, we will walk. Good idea Peter we can burn 200 calories. We will only eat 2000 calories at the restaurant.

Will you order the food, I know you are an expert? I am not an expert but I know what I like.

We will eat well. They will arrive in 20 minutes, it is drizzling rain and the pavements are clear.

They arrive on Baker Street and the food must be good because all of the restaurants are full of Indian clients.

They choose a restaurant and ask for a table for two. They must wait for a quarter of an hour.

The place is full and they are waiting for someone to leave.

May I take your order, asks the waiter. Can I pour some water? You may, thank you.


2/ Vocabulary Practice

  • He will finish
  • in 20 minutes time
  • He will meet
  • at the entrance
  • They will go
  • something to eat
  • to leave
  • the building
  • together
  • May I…?
  • to suggest
  • restaurant
  • Indian restaurant
  • You may
  • to love
  • Indian food
  • to take a taxi
  • we will walk
  • good idea
  • to burn calories
  • to order the food
  • an expert
  • to know
  • drizzling rain
  • pavement
  • clear
  • it must be good
  • full of
  • indian clients
  • to choose
  • to ask for a table
  • they must wait
  • a quarter of an hour
  • The place is full
  • for someone
  • to leave
  • to take an order
  • to pour
  • water


Modal verbs

Let’s learn about 2 modal verbs today!


“may” is a very useful verb. It is a modal verb which means that it is used to denote the mood of a verb, giving it more nuance, more subtle meaning(s).

“May” can be used to express:

  1. a request or permission: May you pass me the salt?  You may eat in here (you are allowed to do that)
  2. possibility: It may rain tomorrow. He may be right.
  3. prohibition: You may not eat in here (you are not allowed to do that). You may not repeat this to him.
  4. a wish: May the Force be with you! (Star Wars quotation) / May the New Year bring you happiness!

“may” has two forms. It does not have a short form:

  • may
  • may not

“may” is very similar to another modal verb, “might”. They can normally be interchanged as there is no significant difference in meaning between the two. 

“might” simply implies a smaller chance of something happening (when expressing possibility) than “may”:

It may snow. (high chance)

It might snow. (lower chance)


1. Requests or Permission

May I sit here?

May I ask you a personal question?

2. Possibility 

I may leave tomorrow.

I may not leave until Tuesday.

3. Prohibition

You may not leave that there.

You may not leave early.

4. A Wish

May you have a safe trip!

May this year bring you happiness!


The modal verb “will” enables us to create the future simple tense:

subject + will + verb + object.

I will leave tomorrow morning.

I will learn English this year.


  • I will learn

I’ll learn

I will not learn

I won’t learn

Will I learn?

Will I not learn?

Won’t I learn?

  • You will learn

You’ll learn

You will not learn

You won’t learn

Will you learn?

Will you not learn?

Won’t you learn?

  • He will learn

He’ll learn

He will not learn

He won’t learn

Will he learn?

Will he not learn?

Won’t he learn?

  • She will learn

She’ll learn

She will not learn

She won’t learn

Will she learn?

Will she not learn?

Won’t she learn?

  • It will learn

It’ll learn

It will not learn

It won’t learn

Will it learn?

Will it not learn?

Won’t it learn?

  • We will learn

We’ll learn

We will not learn

We won’t learn

Will we learn?

Will we not learn?

Won’t we learn?

  • You will learn

You’ll learn

You will not learn

You won’t learn

Will you learn?

Will you not learn?

Won’t you learn?

  • They will learn

They’ll learn

They will not learn

They won’t learn

Will they learn?

Will they not learn?

Won’t they learn?

The modal verb “will” is also used to express:

  • a request: Will you help me with this? / Won’t you lend me the car?
  • an offer: I will drive you home. / We will help you with the move.
  • a refusal: I will not let you down. We won’t accept these terms.
  • a conditional: If it snows, I will cancel the trip. I won’t arrive on time if there is traffic.

Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

What time will John finish work?

He will finish work at 5 o’clock.

Will he meet Peter at the entrance?

He may meet Peter at the entrance, of that I am not sure.

Will they eat Indian food?

I am not sure, they may eat Indian food.

Will they take a taxi?

No, they will walk.

Why will they not take a taxi?

Because it is not raining.

May I have your phone number?

No, you may not but you may have my email address.

Will you help me with this?

Yes I will help you.

Won’t you lend me your car?

No, I won’t lend you my car.

May we order some food now?

Yes, we may order some food.

May I suggest a dish?

Yes you may.

Exercises Lesson

Comprehension Practice

Vocabulary Practice

Grammar Practice