Using modal verbs

Learn how to use modal verbs.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos

  • three activities


Modal verbs are a special type of verb that impact other verbs in a sentence. Words like can/could, may/might, will/would, shall/should and must are modal verbs.

Watch this short clip to remind yourself all about modal verbs.

Learn about modal verbs.

Watch this video to understand more about how modal verbs can be used in your writing.

Understanding modal verbs.

Modal verbs

Modal verbs can be used to show:

  • Possibility (might, should).
  • Ability (can, could).
  • Obligation (must, have to).
  • Give permission (can, may).


  • The Sea Monster must go away.
  • We should celebrate the work of our healthcare heroes.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Can you highlight the modal verbs in this piece of text?

Complete this quiz to test your modal verbs knowledge.

Activity 2

You can either print out this activity sheet or write your answers on a piece of paper.

Give this task of completing these sentences with modal verbs a try.

Complete the sentence worksheet

Top tip!

Using modal verbs in your writing can help the person reading your work to understand if the action you are writing about is either possible or impossible, needed permission or had to be done.

Activity 3

Try this modal verbs activity to extend your knowledge even more.

Modal verbs activity sheet

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about modal verbs.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand more about writing:

There's more to learn

More Year 5 and P6 lessons
Bitesize Daily lessons
KS2 English
Primary games
New children's books
Writing to grandparents