Could, should and would in English Grammar – Modal Verbs

Could, should and would – These Verbs are called ‘Modal Verbs’ because they work according to the Mood of the Subject.

Ability in the past:

  • He said he could swim well.
  • He could speak English.


Learn more examples:

  • I wish I could speak English.
  • I wish I could go to Japan.
  • I wish I could buy that guitar.
  • He could not walk any further.
  • No one could solve the puzzle.
  • I’m so hungry that I could eat a horse.
  • I left early so I could get a good seat.
  • Everybody knew she could speak English well.


Request and Permission:

  • Could I help you?
  • Could I change rooms?
  • Could I use your desk?
  • Could you repeat that?
  • Could I use your pencil?
  • Could you do me a favor?
  • Could I park my car here?
  • Could you tell me the way?
  • Could you do this instead of me?

How to use Should?

Should is used to give advice.

  • You should go.
  • You should sleep.
  • You should know it.
  • You should exercise.
  • You should work hard.
  • You should stay in bed.
  • You should take my advice.
  • You should tell the truth.
  • You should obey your parents.
  • Drivers should wear seat belts.
  • I think that we should try again.


Also ‘Should’ is used to request.

  • Should I make a phone call, please?
  • Should I wait?


Learn more examples:

  • How should I know?
  • Where should we go?
  • What should I do now?
  • What should I feed my dog?
  • When should I feed my dog?
  • Should I wait for you here?
  • Should I reply to his letter?
  • When should I return the car?
  • How much should I feed my dog?
  • Do you think I should go alone?
  • Should I wait for her to come back?

Correct use of Would

‘Would’ is used to mean courtesy and casual habits

I would swim.

  • I mean I used to swim but now I don’t. It’s an irregular habit that I used to do but I don’t do anymore. In these cases, we should use ‘would’.

He would smoke.


Would you please lend me some money?

– Using would in a sentence brings a Politeness. Here we could use ‘can’.

Can you please lend me some money?

But can means to be able to do something.

Such as –

  • I can sing.
  • I can play football.

# So, in my opinion it is better not to use can in all these cases.


He would read eight hours per day.

– It is an irregular habit, he used to read for eight hours every day but now he does not read anymore. So we should use Would here.


Polite request:

  • Would you like to buy this?
  • Would you like coffee or tea?
  • Would you like something to eat?


More examples:

  • You would love it.
  • How would you know?
  • Where would you go?
  • Would I lie to you?
  • Would you be quiet?
  • Would you teach me?
  • How would you do it?
  • How would you react?

I tried to teach you how to use them very easily. From now on you can easily use Could, should and would.

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