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Modal verbs (must, can, will, should, could etc.) can be used to talk about probability.

In which of the following does the modal verb express probability? Tick the boxes.

 1. He must be late. It’s nearly 7 and he hasn’t arrived yet. Modal Verbs
 2. I might go away for the weekend. I really need a break.
 3. You mustn’t drive on the right in Japan.
 4. She could be in her office.
 5. I must get some milk on the way home.
 6. He can’t be earning more than you.
 7. I could play the piano by the time I was 8.
 8. Let’s stay home. I think it may rain tomorrow.
 9. That will be Simon at the door. He said he’d drop in for coffee.
10. Hello. May I speak to the sales department?
11. Will you help me move some furniture on Saturday?
12. If you still feel bad tomorrow, you should go to the doctor.
13. I’ll phone the bank. It’s 8.30, so there should be someone there by now.
14. The neighbours have bought a new Porsche. They must have won the lottery.
15. I should have bought a flat when the prices were lower.

Answers Check your answers.

Read the blog title below.

Why do you think the man hasn’t been outside for 25 years? Read the ideas below and rewrite them using the modal verb in brackets.
Follow the example.

Example: It’s likely that he has something wrong with his legs. (must)

1. Maybe he has agoraphobia (a fear of open and public places). (might)

2. I’m certain he isn’t serious. I’m sure he’s joking. (can’t / must)

3. It’s not possible that the doctor told him to stay at home for so long. (can’t)

4. Surely someone is taking care of him. (must)

5. Perhaps he’s suffering from severe depression. (might)

6. He probably doesn’t have the use of his legs. (can’t)

7. It’s likely that he has a serious illness. (must)

8. I’m pretty sure he’s overweight. (must)

9. It’s possible that he’s afraid of people. (could)

Answers Check your answers.

Now read the ideas again and tick the ones you think seem possible:

1. He must have something wrong with his legs.
2. He might have agoraphobia.
3. He can’t be serious. He must be joking.
4. The doctor can’t have told him to stay at home for so long.
5. Someone must be taking care of him.
6. He might be suffering from severe depression.
7. He can’t have the use of his legs.
8. He must have a serious illness.
9. He must be overweight.
10. He could be afraid of people.

Now read the blog article. Which of your ideas were correct?


Colin Stone weighs an incredible 319 kilos and he is so ashamed of his size that he has not been out of his house for 25 years.

The ex-builder, who has a 203 cm waist, is afraid that drivers will crash their cars staring at him, so he has decided to stay indoors permanently.
However, even though he says he is happy with his lifestyle, his girlfriend of seven years is becoming tired of being at home all day.

'She complains I haven't taken her anywhere,' said 52-year-old Mr Stone at his home in Manchester, England. 'I know I should, but I haven't been out for so long it has become a habit. My sister is always nagging me to take my girlfriend out and I would really love to. But I just don't like going out and I'm happy at home, so she comes round here to see me instead.

'I used to enjoy going out to the pub for a drink at weekends. I might go out again one day. I do miss walking into the city because I've always lived in Manchester, and people tell me it has changed a lot over the last few years.'

Mr Stone last went out in 1990. He went to the pub and he paid only 90p for a pint of beer.
He said: 'I was a sort of celebrity and people would stop and stare at me, but cars would almost crash into each other as drivers tried to get a look at me.'

Doctors have advised him to lose weight and prescribed a walk every day, but he says he just never gets round to it. He weighed 108 kilos at the age of 14 and has just kept on getting bigger since then.

‘I tried to lose weight for about four years, but I just couldn't do it,' he said. 'Now that I’m older I realise I have to be careful.
'I have cut the fat out of my diet but I still eat plenty of food. I have a special plate for vegetables and a different one for meat.
'And if I eat cereal for breakfast, I don't just have one bowl, I have two huge bowls with a litre and a half of full-fat milk.'

Previously, breakfast for Colin comprised of six fried eggs with a mountain of bacon and a whole loaf of bread. A lunch of meat and potato pie or a giant pork salad was always followed by a pudding topped with loads of custard and cream.
For dinner, there was often steak and kidney pudding with boiled vegetables, or his favourite take-away of Indian curry.
The heaviest man in the world at the moment, also an Englishman, is thought to be Paul Mason, from Essex, who weighs 444 kilos.

Adapted from the article: "The Man Too Fat To Leave Home, from the Mail Online,

ashamed = avergonzado, apenado
waist = cintura
crash = chocar
to nag = fastidiar, dar la lata
a loaf of bread = una barra de pan

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