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Let’s Play With English: Level 2 Verb Forms (Negative Form and Modals)

If you are following the blogs entitled “Let’s Play With English,” you have already done several quizzes that help you with simple present tense, simple past tense, present continuous or progressive tense, and simple future tense. There are more tenses, but on this level, you will be dealing with modal and negative forms of the verbs. This level also uses the red verbs and the pink verbs, the same ones you have already been using, but it just expands your use of them. An English teacher asked me why I put modals here because she thought this was too quick. However, I disagree because I have lived in several foreign countries and learned that modals are very, very important. I had to learn them early when I lived in a foreign country to be able to get around. I will now explain modals and the negative form.

Modals express mood or emotion///Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com
  1. What is a modal? A modal is a word that changes the emotion or mood of the verb. It can also express urgency.
  2. What is the difference between a modal and a tense?

A tense tells time. For example, “I will study,” (future tense)

“I studied,” (past tense)

“I study.” “He studies.” (simple present tense)

“I am studying.” “You are studying.” “He is studying.” (present progressive or continuous tense)

There are more tenses, but we haven’t studied them yet, but you can see that all these tenses tell when, time. There is no emotion or mood involved. They are simple tenses.

Negative verbs say “no.”///Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

3. What is the difference between a negative verb and a modal?

A negative verb makes the verb say “no.”

For example: “I don’t study,” “He doesn’t study.” (simple present tense negative verbs)

“I didn’t study.” (simple past tense negative verb)

“I won’t study.” (simple future tense negative verb)

“I’m not studying.” “He isn’t studying.” “You aren’t studying.” (present progressive or continuous tense negative verbs)

These negative verbs above only express “no.” None of them are modals. Making a negative verb in English is not complicated: Use the basic form of the verb and choose “didn’t” to make it past negative. Use the basic form of the verb and choose “don’t” or “doesn’t” to make it present negative. Remember “doesn’t” is for “he, she, or it.” Use the basic form of the verb and put “won’t” with it to make it future. If you are making progressive negative verbs, change the “I am” to “I’m not.” Change the “is” to “isn’t.” Change the “are” to “aren’t.” That is what you do for the state of being verbs to make them negative anyway.

An example of an abstract painting/ You really don’t know what it is. If you want to buy this painting, you can find it on the web under “abstract painting.”


This picture is more concrete. You know it is a ring. It is not abstract.

4. What are some specifics about modals?

Modals are either concrete or abstract (theoretical). If they are concrete, they are a statement of fact. If they are abstract, they are a possibility.

Examples of some modals:

modal category

must concrete

mustn’t concrete/negative

must have theoretical, abstract

have to concrete/ simple present tense

has to concrete/ simple present tense

can concrete/ simple present tense = am able to, are able to, is able to

can’t concrete/negative/ simple present tense= am not able to, aren’t able

to, isn’t able to

could theoretical, abstract/ present tense and concrete/ past tense, In past

tense, it means ” was able to” or “were able to.” In present tense, it is

polite. It can be used to ask permission.

couldn’t concrete/past negative, abstract/ negative/ present

would abstract/ future

wouldn’t abstract/ future/ negative

should abstract. Can mean “must” or “have to,” but is is not as strong as “must”

or “have to.” It is more of a suggestion. “Must” and “have to” are concrete,

but “should” is abstract.

shouldn’t abstract/negative

will have to future/ concrete

won’t have to future/ concrete/ negative

had to past tense/ concrete

didn’t have to past tense/ concrete/ negative

want to concrete

don’t want to concrete/negative/present tense

doesn’t want to concrete, negative, present tense (used with “he, she, and it”)

didn’t want to concrete, negative, past tense

will not want to concrete/future/ negative

5. What are some examples of uses of modals?

She is looking for a book to study. You could say any of the things below about this picture.

I want to study to become a teacher.

I will have to study after class today.

I shouldn’t study all night.

I should study.

I wouldn’t study if I didn’t have to.

If I were you, I would study.

I was sick, so I couldn’t study.

I am so tired that I can’t study.

I can study all the time…everyday!

She has to study. (She must study.)

I have to study. (I must study.)

I mustn’t study because I have studied so long my eyes hurt.

If I want a good grade, I must study.

She must have studied.

If you have any questions, please ask. These are the types of verbs used on the second level of the verb quizzes.

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