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can / can't

Traducción: Poder. Uso: Habilidad, saber hacer algo.

"Can" expresses:

  1. Ability: "I can swim."

    • Indicates capability or skill to perform a particular action.

  2. Request: "Can you help me?"

    • Asks for assistance or favor.

  3. Permission: "Can I borrow your pen?"

    • Seeks approval or consent to perform an action.

"Could" is the past and conditional or "can". It expresses ability, polite request and polite permission.

  1. Ability in the past: After training for six months, I could compete in the tournament.

  2. Polite request: Could you open the door, please?

  3. Polite permission: Could I use your cell phone, please?

may / may not

Traducción: Poder. Uso: Posibilidad.

"May" expresses:

  1. Possibility: "It may rain later."

    • Indicates the likelihood or possibility of an event occurring.

"Might" is the conditional of "may".

  1. I might finish the project today if they sent the documents over. 

2. may

must / mustn't

Traducción: Deber. Uso: Obligación interna.

"Must" expresses internal obligation or necessity.

  1. Internal Obligation: "You must finish your homework."

    • Indicates a requirement or necessity to perform an action.

  2. Necessity: "I must go to the store."

    • Conveys the idea of something being essential or required.

"Mustn't" expresses prohibition.

  1. Prohibition: "Your friends mustn't smoke at home."

    • Indicates that smoking is not permitted in the specified area.

have to

Traducción: Tener que. Uso: Obligación externa.

"Have to" expresses:

  1. External obligation: "I have to finish this report by next Tuesday."

    • Indicates a requirement or duty to perform an action.

"Have to" needs a modal auxiliary to make the affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences. 

  1. I don't have to work tomorrow.

  2. Isabella didn't have to go to school last Friday.

3. musthaveto


Traducción: Debería. Uso: Sugerencia desde una perspectiva personal. 

  1. You should practice more.

  2. You shouldn't buy that car.

Ought to

Traducción: Debería: Uso: Sugerencia con un sentido de obligación ético-moral o por presión social.

  1. You ought to give your best effort if you want to be a fine student in this school.

  2. Schools ought to teach students to be a good citizens.  

It is used to express something which is either correct ethically or correct according to society’s point of view.

Had better

Traducción: Debería o sería mejor que. Uso: Sugerencia con un sentido que si algo se hace, o no, habrá consecuencias.

  1. She had better get here soon or she’ll miss the opening ceremony.

  2. You had better take an umbrella or you will get wet.

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