Modal verbs

Modal verbs used without another verb

Although modal verbs frequently appear in connection with another verb, they can also stand on their own. This is often the case in colloquial phrases: Ich kann nicht mehr. I can’t go on anymore./ I’ve had enough. Wir müssen jetzt nach Hause. We have to go home now. Wir wollen in die Stadt. We want to go/drive into town. Er kann das sehr gut. He can do this very well. Das darfst du nicht. You are ... »

Formation in different tenses

Modal verbs are quite irregular in German. Here is a summary of their forms in different tenses. Present tense In the present tense only sollen doesn’t change its stem vowel in the ich, du and er/sie/es forms. Note also that the first and third person singular (ich and er/sie/es) have identical forms and don’t have their usual present tense endings. Present perfect tense The past participle of the... »

Modal verbs – expressing ability, necessity etc.

Modal verbs modify an action or situation by expressing the idea of ability, obligation, permission etc.: Sie kann sehr gut schwimmen. She can swim very well. Wir müssen jetzt gehen. We have to go now. Hier dürfen Sie rauchen. You are allowed to smoke here. Modal verbs in German In German there are six modal verbs: dürfen may/to be allowed to können can/to be able to mögen to like (to) (also used ... »