Modals & conditionals
- 'can' and 'could'
Afreen in India asks, 'what is the difference between 'can' and 'could'?
- 'can't' and 'unable to'
Catherine explains the difference
- 'hope' or 'wish'?
Why do we' wish you a merry Christmas', but 'hope you get well soon'?
- 'if' and 'whether'
Catherine Walter explains that you can't always use these two words in the same way
- 'if I was' and 'if I were'
Find out which form is more colloquial: 'if I was' or 'if I were'
- Inversion in conditional sentences
Is it correct to say 'Hadn't it been for...'?
- Mixed conditionals
Why don't all 'if' sentences follow the normal conditional sentence patterns?
- 'must' for deduction and obligation
You must read Roger Woodham's explanation of these two uses of 'must'
- 'must', 'have to' and 'have got to'
Do you know the difference between 'must' and 'have to'?
- 'mustn't' and 'don't have to'
Susan Fearn explains the difference between these easily confused forms
- 'needn't have' and 'didn't need to'
Elodie Carpentier from France wonders when to use 'needn't have' and didn't need to'
- 'perhaps', 'maybe', 'may' and 'might'
Katinka Raupenstein from Germany thinks there might be slight differences between these words
- Polite requests
Roger explains how to make polite requests using 'would you ...' and 'could you ...'
- 'should' or 'if'
Can you sometimes use 'should' instead of 'if'?
- 'should have' and 'must have'
George Pickering explains how to refer to the past with these modal verbs
- 'should', 'would' and 'could'
You really should learn about the differences between 'should', 'would' and 'could'
- 'should have' and 'if only'
Hani Al-Shoulah from Saudi Arabia wants to talk about regrets and mistakes in the past
- Talking about general truths
Roger Woodham explains why some conditional sentences don't use 'will' or 'would'
- Third conditional
Elena from Russia is puzzled by the third conditional
- 'unless' and other alternatives to 'if'
Roger Woodham presents some alternatives to 'if'
- 'used to' or 'would'
Julie from Belgium asks if this is correct: 'Did you used to play tennis?'
- Using 'if' with 'will'
Is it ever possible to say 'If you will do something'?
- 'what if', 'suppose' and 'supposing'
Supposing you're not sure about 'what if', what should you do? Read this!
- 'when', 'if' and 'in case'
If you're not sure about when to use 'in case', read Roger Woodham's explanation
- 'when', 'if' and 'whether'
Harry from Germany wonders whether it makes a difference when we use these words
- 'will' or 'shall', 'would' or 'should'
Roger Woodham covers some of the major aspects of usage of will and shall, would and should
Discover five different uses of 'would'
- 'would' and 'going to' for future actions
Definite plans vs. slight possibilities
- 'would' and 'will' for refusals and insistence
Roger Woodham discusses these slightly unusual uses of 'will' and 'would'