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Conclusions: Must,

11 Have (got) to, May,

Might, Could, Can’t

A Visit to the

Focus on Grammar 3
Part VIII, Unit 37
By Ruth Luman, Gabriele Steiner, and BJ Wells
Copyright © 2006. Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Am I OK?

So, what
There are
Well, I have seems to be
What could We’ll
the need to
terrible pain
the problem take some
in my
be? X-rays and
do some
tests to find
We often make guesses and draw conclusions about
present situations using the information we have.

Positive 100% Certain Negative

must can’t, couldn’t
We use modals to show how
have (got) to
certain must not we are
or uncertain
may aboutmay
our conclusions.
might, could might not

0% Certain
Affirmative Conclusions
When we are almost 100% certain, we use must, have
to, or have got to to state affirmative conclusions.

Mr. Jones
I looked must
at all have
the test
anI ulcer.
results, and talked to the
patient. I believe that…
He has to be in pain.

He’s got to be very

When we are less certain about our conclusion, we use may,
might, or could to express that something is possible.

I see something Mr. Jones could have

unusual. an ulcer.

He may have an

He might be very
Look at each part of the photograph one

Practice 1 at a time. Try to guess what it is.

Increase the certainty of your guesses by
using the appropriate modals.

100% Certain
This might be …
have (got) to
might, could

0% Certain

An X-ray of the heart

and lungs.
Negative Conclusions 1
Use can’t and couldn’t when you are almost 100% certain
that something is impossible. Use must not when you are
slightly less certain.

It can’t be an
The X-rays
look good.
The patient couldn’t
have heartburn.

It must not be
Negative Conclusions 2
Use may not and might not when you are
even less certain.

Your illness might not

be serious.

You may not need to

stay in the hospital.

Use can and could in questions.

What can the

The test results
problem be?
are not clear.

Could the patient

need surgery?
Look at the objects under a
microscope. Ask and answer
Practice 2 questions about possibility. Use
positive and negative modals.

1. 2.
It may be a It can’t be
What could
must be
it be?
cotton fibers.
3. 4.

stomach of a spider (#5) eye of an insect (#2) a feather (#3)

cotton fibers (Example) tongue of a snail (#4) skin (#1)
Short Answers

In short answers, use a modal alone.

Does the
He may not. patient
need a
The surgeon have
He has to. cast?a
might broken
He was in a
operate first. bone?
Be Careful!

Use be in short answers to questions that

include be.

Could that Ohnot

wait. It
I’m sure.
be an image has to be.
It might be.
of my brain? I see the
brain stem.
Ask and answer questions
Practice 3 about the X-rays. Use
short answers.
Possible Questions Possible Answers
Could that X-ray
Could X-ray # ___ be a ___? It has to be./It’s got tobe.
be a knee? It might
Can X-ray #___ be a ___? It may/might/could be.

1. 2.


knee shoulder brain


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its licensors. All rights reserved.