Modal Auxiliary Verbs: Should, Could, Would

Verb ActionShould, would, and could are modal verbs that often confuse second language students.  They are similar in nature, yet they are very different in their essential meanings.

Should is used to give advice: “You should wear that shirt because it makes you look thinner.”  Could is used to ask permission: “Could I borrow that shirt for a party tonight?”  Would is used when referring to an unlikely situation that may or may not happen: “Would you give me that shirt for one million dollars?”

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