In this chapter we are going to discuss the following topics:

  • Modal Verbs
  • ‘Be To’ Verbs or Infinitive
  • ‘ing’ Verb or Gerund
  • ‘ed’ Verbs or Participle
  • Participle Clause


Like the other auxiliary verbs (be, have and do), modal verbs are important in negatives, questions, tags and so on.

Necessity: must, have (got) to, needn’t and mustn’t

When we talk about necessity in the present or the near future, we can use either must or have (got) to. But there is a difference in meaning. We normally use must when the speaker feels the necessity and have to when the necessity is outside the speaker.

  • You must buy your ticket before starting your journey.
  • I have to buy the ticket before I get on the train.

You must… is a way of ordering someone to do something. You have to… is a way of telling them what is necessary in the situation.

  • You must fill in a form. (I’m telling you.)
  • You have to fill in a form. (That’s the rule.)

Must has no past tense, no perfect or continuous form and no infinitive or ing-form. We use have to instead.

  • I had to pay Rs 1200/- for this membership card last week.

Many other ‘have to’ Verbs as Modal Verbs are given below.


English Modal Verbs Table

Modal verbUsageExample
canAbilityI can do several things
at the same time.
 when something is possibleMiracles can happen.
 PermissionYou can go now.
 informal requestsCan you come for a minute?
couldpast form of “can”She said she could pay
for us as well.
 polite requestsCould you move
your bag, please?
 PossibilityIt could be that he
missed the train.
mayPossibilityIt may rain tomorrow.
 ask or give
permission (formal)
May I speak?
mightpast form of “may”He said he might
change his mind.
 PossibilityThis might fail.
mustyou have to do itYou must obey the law
 it’s very logical or
very likely to happen
They left so early, they
must be home by now.
must not/
you are not
allowed to do it
You mustn’t smoke in here.
shallfuture for “I” and “we”I shall see him tomorrow.
 questions and suggestions for “I” and “we”Let’s continue, shall we?
shouldthe right thing to doShe should call the police.
 advice– What should I do?
– You should stop
thinking about it.
 what is likely or
expected to happen
We should be
back by midnight.
willfuture action or states
(not plans)
Prices will go up
next summer.
 promises and intentionsIt’s alright, I’ll pick it up.
wouldpast form of “will”He told me he would come.
 imagined situationsWhat would you do
if you were him?
 for polite requests, offers and invitations– Would you please sit down?
– Would you like some tea?
– We are meeting with Sarah
next Saturday, would you like to come along?
 to say what you
want to do or have
I would like a piece of cake.
ought tothe right thing to doYou ought to apologize.


 English Modal Verbs – Situations Table

SituationModal VerbExample
MayMay I sit down?
CanCan I sit down?
CouldCould I sit down?
WouldWould you mind if I sit down?
MayYou may sit down.
CanYou can sit down.
MustYou must tell the
police the truth.
ShouldYou should tell
your friends the truth.
obligation (partial)
(less common)
ought toYou ought to tell
your friends the truth.
logical conclusions
(stronger than “should”)
MustHe left an hour ago, so he must be there already.
logical conclusions
(weaker than “must”)
ShouldHe left half an hour ago,
I believe he should
be there already.
CanIt can rain sometimes.
(weaker than
“may” and “might”)
CouldIt could rain, but it is
not very common in this
part of the country.
(weaker than “may”)
MightIt’s not very cloudy yet,
it might rain.
(stronger than “might”)
MayIt starts getting cloudy –
it may rain soon.
future actions/states/intentionsWillLook at the sky!
It will rain soon.


Joke Time

Here’s a frequently quoted joke that illustrates the consequences of using shall and will incorrectly:

“A foreign tourist was swimming in an English lake. Taken by cramps, he began to sink. He called out for help:
“Attention! Attention! I will drown and no one shall save me!”
Many people were within earshot, but, being well-brought up Englishmen and women, they honored his wishes and permitted him to drown.”

The knowledge of ‘will and shall’ will save the life of learnt person. Won’t it?

Will and shall conjugation with pronoun is shown below.


First-person pronouns:

  • I shall attend the meeting.  (Simple future tense)
  • I will attend the meeting.  (Simple future tense but with an added sense of certainty or determination)
  • Regardless of the weather, we shall go to the city.  (Simple future tense)
  • Regardless of the weather, we will go to the city.  (Simple future  tense but with an added sense of certainty or determination)


Second-person pronoun:

  • You will receive a refund.  (Simple future tense)
  • You shall receive a refund.  (Simple future tense but with an added sense of certainty or determination)


Third-person pronoun:

  • It will be done on time.  (Simple future tense)
  • It shall be done on time.  (Simple future tense but with an added sense of certainty or determination)

Conclusion: We use modal verbs to show what we believe is certain, probable or possible (or not). We also use modals to do things like talking about ability, asking permission making requests and offers, and so on.

Now, equal knowledge is expected from us regarding ‘be to’ verbs, ‘ing’ verbs and participle forms of verbs.


Be to or Infinitive is commonly used to talk about events that are likely to happen in future.


  • Police are to visit every home
  • Metro railway line is to be opened by next week. ( Passive Form)
 Bare Infinitive
SimplePlayTo play
PerfectHave playedTo have played
Continuousbe playingto be playing
Perfect+ Continoushave been playingto have been playing

For the passive, e.g. to be played.


A simple infinitive refers to the same time as in the main clause.


  • I’m pleased to meet you.

(The pleasure and the meeting are both in the present.)

  • You were lucky to win.

(The luck and the victory are both in the past.)

In the negative, not comes before the infinitive.


  • I’d prefer not to sit at the front.


An infinitive clause can be just an infinitive on its own, or there can be an object or adverbial.


  • A ride on a London bus is the best way to see the city.
  • We need to act quickly.


A preposition comes in its normal place, usually after a verb or adjective.


  • Your meals are all you have to pay for.
  • There’s nothing to get excited about.
  • I need a vase to put these flowers in.


A to-infinitive clause can express purpose.


  • Laura has gone to town to do some shopping.
  • I’m writing to enquire about activity holidays.




  • The pattern was easy to write the letter

A common pattern is it + linking verb + adjective + to-infinitive clause.


  • It is difficult to solve the problem.
  • It is rare to see a horse and cart nowadays.

It felt very strange to be watched by so many people.


A simple gerund is the ing-form of a verb, e.g. meeting, dancing, jogging.


  • It was nice meeting you.
  • Dancing is not allowed.


An ing-form can be a gerund or an active participle, depending on how we use it in a sentence.

Gerund: Jogging is good for you.

Participle: We watched the students jogging round the campus.

But in some contexts it may be difficult to say whether an ing-form is a gerund or participle, and it is not always important to know the difference. Remember that using the form correctly is more important than naming it.


We use a perfect gerund (HAVE + ING + PAST PARTICIPLE) for something before the time of the main clause.


  • Sarah remembered having visited the place before.  (The visit was before the memory.)


But we do not need to use the perfect if it is clear from the context that the time was earlier.


  • Sarah remembered visiting the place before.


In the negative, not comes before the gerund.


  • It’s difficult not smoking for a whole day.
  • I can’t help not being amused by these silly jokes.



1) Gerund clause as subject


  • Digging is hard work.
  • But choosing the colour won’t be easy


2) Verb + object + gerund


  • I hate people laughing at me.

We can use an object + gerund after these verbs:

avoid (not), forget, love, prefer, risk, can’t help, hate, mean, prevent, save, dislike, imagine, mention, remember, stop, dread,involve, mind, resent, tolerate, enjoy, justify, miss, resist, understand, excuse, like



a A gerund often comes after a verb + preposition, an adjective + preposition or a noun + preposition. We do not use a to-infinitive in these patterns.


  • We believe in giving people the freedom to choose.
  • My husband isn’t very good at cooking.

We can use a gerund after these prepositional verbs:

admit to, benefit from, get on with, rely on, (dis)agree with, care for,  insist on, resort to, aim at, confess to, object to, succeed in, apologize for, count on, pay for,  think of, (dis)approve of ,depend on,  put up with,vote for, believe in,           feel like


b Gerund can follow an adjective + preposition.


  • I’m nervous of saying the wrong thing.
  • What’s wrong with borrowing a little money?




  • I still feel tired in spite of having slept eight hours.
  • Despite your reminding me, I forgot.



is playingcontinuousbeing played
having playedperfecthaving been played


2)  A passive or past participle is a form such as covered, annoyed, broken, left.


  • Although covered by insurance, Tom was annoyed about the accident.
  • I stepped on some broken glass.
  • There were two parcels left on the doorstep.


3) A passive participle can be simple or continuous.


Simple: They wanted the snow cleared away.

Continuous: We saw the snow being cleared away.


4) A participle can also be perfect.


  • Having waited an hour, the crowd were getting impatient.
  • Having been delayed for an hour, the concert started at nine o’clock.


5)  In the negative, not comes before the participle.


  • He hesitated, not knowing what to do.
  • Not having been informed, we were completely in the dark.


There we have taken only forms of Verbs like, helping verbs, modal verbs, troublesome modal verbs, infinitive, gerund and participles. So, don’t be lethargic by seeing the verb it comes in different structure and tone. BE CAUTIOUS with Verbs. Since we have completed Verb Forms, why not take few minutes to learn the clause of Verbs -Participle Clause and Conditional Clause.

From placement point of view, the test takers are confused and mesmerized to accept the sentence to be correct. We have already seen clauses in Modifier as Modifying Clauses (Dangling/Misplaced).

And, here we give the detailed section of these clauses (Participle and Conditional).


A participle can sometimes have a subject.


  • The lights having gone out, we couldn’t see a thing.


If there is no subject, then it is understood to be the same as in the main clause.


  • The men sat round the table playing cards.

(The men were playing cards.)


The understood subject is usually the same as in the main clause.


  • Walking across the field, we saw a plane fly past.

(= As we were walking…, we saw…)

We cannot use a main clause without we, the understood subject of the participle.

  • NOT Walking across the field, a plane flew past.

This suggests that the plane was walking across the field, which is nonsense.



a) A clause with an active participle (e.g. playing, serving) means an action at the same time as the action of the main clause.


  • Mike hurt his hand playing badminton.
  • We were rushing about serving tea to everyone.

Note: For conjunction + participle, e.g. Mike hurt his hand while playing badminton.


b)The participle clause can come first, but this is rather literary.


  • Coming up the steps, I fell over.

We can also use a participle clause when two short, connected actions are close in time, even if they do not happen at exactly the same time.


  • Taking a note from her purse, she slammed it down on the counter.
  • Opening the file, the detective took out a newspaper cutting.



We can use an active or passive participle after when, whenever, while, once, until, if and although.


  • You should wear gloves when using an electric saw.
  • Once opened, the contents should be consumed within three days.
  • Although expecting the news, I was greatly shocked by it.




  • Crowds were waiting at the airport, hoping to see Madonna arrive.



We can use a participle clause in some idiomatic phrases which comment on a statement or relate it to a previous one.


  • Strictly speaking, you can’t come in here unless you’re a club member.

Conclusion: That contributes a lot about participle and usage of participle. Since, in the above example we have spoken about idioms, why not to gather the detail of idioms as it is again an error type in Sentence Correction.