Friday, 16 September 2022







A group of words that makes a complete sense is called a sentence.

          John helps Mary.

Who helps Mary?

Help Mary.

What a great help!


Kinds of Sentences


A sentence that makes a statement or an assertion is called Assertive or Declarative Sentence.

          He wrote his exam yesterday.

          They are admitted in the hospital.


A sentence that asks a question is called an interrogative sentence.

          Where did he go?

          Will he attend the meeting?


A sentence that expresses a command, request or an advice is called an imperative sentence.

          Come here.

          Don’t smoke.


A sentence that expresses a strong feeling is called an exclamatory sentence.

          What a lovely place is this!

          Alas! Our leader is no more.




In a meaningful sentence, we have a subject to speak about and a predicate, something about that subject.  Usually the subject comes first.  But in imperative sentences the subject is left out.

          The Earth revolves round the Sun.

          The dancing of the peacock delights us.

          Sit down.

          Please, help me.




A group of words, that makes sense, but not complete sense is called a phrase.

          It was a sunset of great beauty.

          He left the house in the early morning.


A group of words that becomes a part of a sentence, and contains a subject and a predicate is called a clause.

          He gave her a chain of gold. (Phrase)

          He gave her a chain which is made of gold. (Clause)

          I think that you have learned everything. (Clause)

-----Thulasidharan V






Monday, 22 August 2022

Proficiency in English language - Part - 17 - Verbs-5 - Modal Auxiliaries (can, could; may, might....)


Verbs – 5 – Modal Auxiliaries (can, could; may, might.....)



‘can’ expresses ability or capacity. (be able to do something)

      I can lift this box.

     She can drive very well.

     Can you speak Russian?

 ‘can’ is used in the sense of ‘may’ to give permission. (may is, no doubt, more correct)

      You can go now.

You can take one of these cakes, if you like.

Can I come in, Sir?


‘could’ is used as the past tense of can in reported speech.

      He said, ‘I can’t do this work’

     He said that he couldn’t do that work.

     They said ‘we can help them’

     They said that they could help them.

 ‘could’ is the past tense of ‘can’.  So it is used to indicate ability that existed in the past.

 Till last year my grandfather could walk without walking stick.

Why couldn’t you attend the function, last night?

They realized that they couldn’t catch the train.

‘could’ is used to express possibility or uncertainty in the unreal conditions.

        You could get good marks, if you              worked hard. (Possibility)

    If I had enough money, I could buy  this property. (Uncertainty) 

‘could’ is also used to ask polite questions. 

Could you please, take me to your manager?

Could you lend me your phone to make a call?  



‘May’ is used to express permission.


May I come in, please? (Yes, you may.)

May I leave this place, now? (No, you may not)


‘May’ is also used to express possibility.


    They may accept or they may not

    You may catch the train if you leave now.

‘May’ is used to express a wish


    May God bless you!

   May his soul rest in peace!


‘May’ is used in subordinate clause to express a purpose.


Obey and love your parents that you may prosper in your life.

 Eat that you may live; don’t live that you may eat.


‘Might’ is used as the past tense of ‘may’ in reported speech.


        She said, ‘I may meet him there’

 She said that she might meet him there.

 They said, ‘she may have said so.’

 They said that she might have said so.

‘Might’ is used to denote a more doubtful possibility than ‘may’


         He may pass – He might pass.

         The patient may recover – The patient might recover


‘Might’ is used to express a gentle reproach.


Actually, John, you might have told me about this before. 

In my opinion, she might have paid the fee on time.



‘Must’, can be used in present, past and future tenses.  When it is used in past, it is with the present perfect of the main verb.


You must see the manager now. (Present)

We must reserve a seat in advance. (Future)

They must have sent their application before the last date. (Past)


‘Must’ is used to express a strong obligation of compulsion.


     We must be loyal to our country.

     We must help the needy and the poor.

    ‘Must’ also expresses necessity.

 We must get up early and complete everything in time.

They must build up a strong army to defend their country.


‘Must’ expresses probability or likelihood.


The calling bell rings.  That must be the post man.

He must be mad to do this.


‘Must’ also expresses strong determination.

You must insist on being given your full share.

I must go to that place and help him.


‘Ought’ is not as forceful as ‘must’ but it is stronger than ‘should’.  It is actually the past tense of ‘owe’.  It is followed by ‘to-infinitive’.  It points out present and future tense.

‘Ought’ expresses duty, necessity, moral obligation etc.

They ought to attend the office regularly. (Duty)

We ought to help the poor. (Obligation)

We ought to buy the necessary medicine for him.

When ‘ought’ refers to past time, it is followed by perfect infinitive.

     He ought to have helped his brother.

They have done things that they ought not to have done.


‘Need’ is used both as a principal verb and as an auxiliary. 

It means ‘require’ when it is used as a principal verb.

     She needs your help.

They needed some more time to finish the work.


‘Need’ as an auxiliary is uninflected and is always used with ‘not’

     He need not wait any longer.

They need not make such a fuss over it. 

Sometimes, ‘need’ is used with ‘hardly’

I need hardly add that you are always welcome.

I need hardly say that I am very grateful to you.

Similarly, ‘need’ is also used with ‘only’

She need only say where she wants to go and we will take her there.

You need only sign this paper and I will do the rest.

‘Need’ is also used in questions without ‘not’

     Need I wait any longer?

     Need he come again?

     He need not pay any fine, need he?

(If the answer is ‘no’, he need not’ it is allowable.  But if the answer is positive, it must be ‘Yes, he must’.  The opposite of ‘need not’ is not ‘need’, but ‘must’.) 

When a past time is referred, ‘need’ is followed by the perfect infinitive.

You need not have come all this way to see me.

He need not have waited for the reply.


‘Dare is used both as a principal verb and as an auxiliary. 

It means ‘defy’, ‘challenge’ or ‘face boldly’ when it is used as a principal verb. 

     He dares you to the fight.

     She dared to call him a liar.

There is nothing that John does not dare.


As an auxiliary, ‘dare’ is uninflected and is used with ‘not’.  But in questions it is used without ‘not’.

    He dare not do so.

     I dare not take such a risk.

     How dare he do such a thing?

The expression ‘I dare say......’ is now used with the meaning ‘perhaps’

         I dare say he will agree to our proposal

         ‘Do you think he will come?’ 

‘I dare say, he will.’

Some equivalents of Modal Auxiliaries


1.          Be able to

He is able to do this. (Can do)

They were able to help him. (Could)


2.   Had better

  You had better have some rest.     (Should)

  She had better consult a doctor.   (Should or ought to)


3.   Have to, Have got to 

   I have to be there at 10 O’clcok. (Must)

   Do you have to go there? (Is it necessary?)

   I have got to help them. (Must)


ப்ரொஃபிசி'யன்ஸி இன் இங்கிலிஷ் லாங்குவேஜ் - தமிழில் விளக்கம் - பகுதி - 17 - VERBS - 5

---Thulasidharan . V



Monday, 27 June 2022

VERB - 4 - The Auxiliaries (Primary and Modal Auxiliaries)

        He is helping her.

       The door was opened.

       I have to be there at 5. P.m.

       It may rain tomorrow.


An auxiliary is a verb that is used to form the tenses, moods, voices etc of other verbs.


The Auxiliary verbs in English

‘Be’ and its forms : am, is, are, was, were

‘Have’ and its forms : has, had

‘Do’ and its forms : does, did

Shall, should : Will, Would

Can, could : may, might

Must, ought (to) : need, dare.


Among these be, have, do are used to express statements of fact.  So, they are called Primary auxiliaries.

       He is writing a novel.

       They were soldiers.

       She didn’t do it properly.

All other auxiliaries are used to express the conceptions of the mind such as wishes, expectations, possibilities, probabilities, possibilities etc (Mood or Manners).  So, they are called Modal Auxiliaries. They are actually coloured by the speaker’s feelings (Hopes, fears, expectations etc)

She may come : She must come.

She need not come : She dare not come.

She will come : She can come


A.            The Primary Auxiliaries


The primary auxiliaries, be, have and do are used both as Principal verbs. (main verbs) and as Auxiliaries. (Helping verbs)


John is a good teacher. (Principal verb)

Mary was cleaning the room. (Auxiliary)

She has a bad back pain. (Principal)

She has taken a pain killer. (Auxiliary)

He did his work well. (Principal)

Where did you put the book. (Auxiliary)


‘Be’ as a principal verb


Vivek is a lawyer (linking the subject with a noun)

She is very beautiful. (linking the subject with an adjective)

Your book is there. (linking the subject with an adverb)

He is to retire next year. (linking the subject with an infinitive)

       Be quiet. (expressing a command)

       Be a good boy. (giving an advice)


‘Be’ as an Auxiliary verb


·                  He is painting the wall. -

·                  They were standing at the gate. – (both these sentences form present and past continuous)

§    The dinner is being cooked

§    They were questioned.

§    He was treated badly. (these three sentences – to form passive voice)


‘Have’ as a principal verb.


She has a Benz car. (possession)

He had a head ache. (experience)

I have a message from her. (receiving)


‘Have’ as an auxiliary

(to form perfect tenses)

       You have violated the rules.

       She has turned down their offer.

   She had gone before they entered.

‘Do’ as a principal verb

(performing an act)

       Can you do it by yourself?

       You must do it correctly.


‘Do’ as an auxiliary verb

(to ask questions)

       Do you know where he lives?

       Did you pay the bill?

       Don’t you agree with her?

(To form negative sentence)

       I saw him there – I didn’t see him there.

She gave me the money – She didn’t give me the money

(to emphasise an assertion)

I do admit that I was wrong

They did say that they would pay up.


B. Modal Auxiliaries

       The Modal auxiliaries shall, should; will, would; can, could; may, might; must, ought(to); need, dare; are never used alone, have single form whatever be the person and won’t have the infinitive or participle forms.


       You can win – She can win

       He may pass – They may pass

(We can’t say 'to must' or 'musting' like 'to win' and 'winning')



‘Shall’ expresses the strong possibility or near certainty of an event or action that is to take place in the future.


       When shall we meet again?

       Shall we begin?

(Shall is now used only with ‘we’, that too in seeking permission or in making suggestion)




1.  ‘Will’ is used to express a determination, promise, threat or willingness with the first person (I, We)


I will do it, whatever happens. (determination)

We will thing over it and let you know soon. (promise)

I will teach him a lesson. (threat)

Ok, I will come with you. (willingness)


2.  ‘Will’ expresses the strong possibility or war certainty of an event or action that is to take place in the future with the second and third persons. (you, he, she, it, they)


John will be back in August.

The train will leave the station at 10. P. M.



1.  ‘Should’ is the past tense of ‘shall’ and is used as such in indirect speech. (Reported speech)

Direct: He said, ‘We shall assemble here tomorrow’.

   Indirect: He said that they should assemble there the next day.


2.   ‘Should’ is used to express duty or obligation

You should tell the truth.

He should pay the fee in time.

We should work for the common good.


3.  ‘Should’ is used in conditional clauses to express possibilities or suppositions.

If he should come, ask him to wait. (less possibility than, “If he comes ask him to wait.)

Should it rain, there won’t be an outing today.


4.  ‘Should’ expresses less possibility than ‘shall’

I shall be happy to meet John.

I should be happy to meet John.


5.  ‘Should’ is used in main clauses, expressing unreal conditions.

If I were you, I should accept this offer.

Were I a king, I shouldn’t be happier than I am.

4. ‘Should’ is the only auxiliary that is used after ‘lest’

          The army surrounded the house lest the terrorists   should escape.

   Watch and pray lest you should fall into temptation.


5. ‘Should’ is used to express a polite form of making a statement with ‘should like to’

          I should like to convey my sincere thanks to all of you for your encouragement.

   I should like to congratulate the participants on the high level of the debate we have had.




1.  ‘Would’ is the past tense of ‘will’ and is used as such in indirect speech.


She said, “I will not help him anymore”


She said that she would not help him anymore.


2.   ‘Would’ expresses ‘willingness’ and ‘determination’


They said they would try their best to help me (willingness)


I would help him though many advised me not to do. (determination)

 3.  ‘Would’ expresses a customary action in the past.


After supper we would sit in the drawing room and watch the T.V for some time.

The crows would come and pick up the crumbs from his hand then.


4.   ‘Would’ and ‘would like to’ express a wish


I would like to know what my duty is.

Treat others as you would be treated by others.


5.   ‘Would rather’ express choice or preference.


She would rather die than marry him.

I would rather read a novel than see that boring.


6.   ‘Would’ is used for asking polite questions.


Would you like a cup of coffee.

Would you mind lending me your phone to make a call?


7.   Would is used in main clauses expressing un real and improbable conditions.

If I were a king, I would make you my Queen.


Were I the Prime Minister, I would allot a sizable fund for the development of highways in our state.


------Thulasidharan V