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Modal Verbs

Modal verbs: CAN, MAY, MIGHT, COULD

.A: I see it’s raining again.
B: Yes, but it’s still early. It can may/might/could clear up later.
A: I was planning to go to the sea.
B: Well, the weather couldn’t may not/might not be so bad down there. It’s often better on the coast.
A: Yes. Actually, if I go, could I borrow your new camera?
B: Yes, you could can/may. But be careful with it, please.

Expressar permissão
  • can ou may são usados para formular um pedido polido ou dar/negar permissão. May é mais formal do que can.
    • Can/May I open the window, please? – Yes, of course you can/may. / No, I’m sorry, you can’t/may not.
    • You wanted to borrow my printer. OK, you can/may.
  • could pode ser usado em pedidos, mas não é usado para dar/negar permissão.
    • Could I look at your map, please? – Yes, you can/may (could).
    • I’m sorry, but you can’t (couldn’t) park here. This is private.
Expressar possibilidade e incerteza
  • may/might/could (mas não can) expressam que algo é/será possivelmente o caso.
    • A: The phone’s ringing.
    • B: It may/might/could (can) be for me. I’m expecting a call. [Esta ligação pode/poderia ser para mim...]
    • A: How much will the repair cost?
    • B: I don’t know. But it may/might/could (can) be quite expensive. [Isso pode/poderá ser bastante caro.]
  • may/might not (não can’t/couldn’t) expressa que algo possivelmente não é o caso.
    • A: The phone is ringing. Aren’t you going to anwer it?
    • B: It may/might not be for me. Perhaps it’s for you. [= É possível que a ligação não seja para mim.]
  • Mas:
    • A: Look, the postman’s coming with a big parcel. Are you expecting something?
    • B: No, it can’t/couldn’t be for me. I’m not expecting anything. [= É impossível que o pacote seja para mim.]

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