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Quiz 1: beginning – intermediate

Quiz 2: intermediate – advanced 

Degrees of Certainty

polar bears

Polar bears will perish. (100% certain)

They might not survive in the arctic. (< 50% certainty)

Intent – Future & Past


I will win this singing contest!
I am determined to win this singing contest!

The judges won't let me sing another song. 
The judges were unwilling to let me sing another song. 

I would have done better, but my voice cracked
I hoped that I would do well, but my voice cracked.


I am going to text Brad the news.
I will call Jill tomorrow to see how she is. 

We are going to go to the movies.
We are going to come home.

Future Progressive


We will be working in this area.
We are going to be working in this area.
We can be setting up a support here.
We should be getting a revised set of plans soon.

Will you leave now?  request or inquiry?
Will you be leaving now? polite

Do you intend to be staying long?
Are you planing on staying long?

Scheduled Events – Present & Future


On Thursday, I assist the librarian at the Public Library. (routine)

I am working at the preschool on Wednesday. (near future, personal plan)

I will get there around noon. (scheduled/ estimated)

empty board room

By 9:00, we will have finished our meeting.

By 9:15, everyone will have left.

Preference and Request


Would you like some coffee?
Would you rather have tea or coffee?

On Sundays, we would visit our relatives

I would have stopped smoking, but it was too difficult.
I would rather have found an easy way out, but I didn't.

walk to work

We would rather walk to work than drive. (X and not Y)

We walk to work rather than drive. (X and not Y)

We walk to work rather than get caught in traffic.  (choosing X to avoid Y)


mail in movies

The movie should be available next week.
The movie will be available next week. (expectation)

Should we wear black pants to work? (convention)
Are we supposed to wear black pants to work?(convention)

You should try ordering your movies online.(suggestion)
She ought not to talk on her cell phone when she's with you. (advice)

We were supposed to receive a replacement.
The movie would have been available last week, but the stores ran out of it.

Options & Advice

lost wallet

You could look where you saw it last. (option)

You should cancel your credit cards. (advice)

Titanic Lifeboats

Passengers could have taken other smaller transatlantic ships.
The captain could have chosen a more southern transatlantic route.

The owners should have supplied enough lifeboats for everyone.

Degrees of Advisability

Wind turbine

We should protect the environment. It makes good sense.  

We had better protect the environment. It makes good sense.  

We must protect the environment. It's necessary.

We have to do more.

We don't have to drive all the time.

Conclusion & Inference


The car driver might have tried to pass between two buses.

The bus passengers must have heard a crunch. (sound)

The insurance company had to total the car.


Contestants in Jeopardy

"Watson" can access 200 million pages of information in seconds. (physically able)

Ken Jennings can speak on a wide variety of subjects.  (knows how to)

IBM engineers were able to design a computer that uses "natural language". (managed)

One day, IBM could build a computer with cognitive power. (potentially)


cigarette butt

May I smoke here?
Can I smoke here?informal

Would you mind if I smoke(d) here?
Is it a problem if I smoke here?

Could you smoke outside please?
Why don't you smoke outside.

Why do they let people smoke inside?  (allow)
sit outside. (Shall we?)


Clause Agreement


Apple said that it would introduce more functionality with the newer software.




You could try to be a little nicer.  (an idea, an option)
You ought to try to be a little nicer.  (mild suggestion)
You should try to be a little nicer.  ( suggestion)
You had better try to be a little nicer. (strong suggestion)
You must try to be a little nicer. (strong suggestion)
Be a little nicer.  (order)


He ____ be crazy to do that. 
  may  might   could  can  must

  • possibility
  • expectation
  • advice
  • permission
  • necessity
  • conclusion
apartment hunting

Finding an apartment in San Francisco ____ be very difficult.

Related Pages

Dish washing in the 1950s

We would go to the beach after school.
We used to go to the beach after school. (earlier stage of life)

She used to have a surf board.  (state of possession)
She would have an amazing tan by the time summer ended.   (conditioned outcome)



By the time I leave work, the sun will be setting. (ongoing)

By the time I leave work, the sun will have set. (completed)


If I were/was you, I wouldn't get involved.

Were I you, I wouldn't get involved.

Had I known, I would have said something.

Should you see him again, call me immediately.