Modality: other verbs

Apart from the core modal verbs, some other common verbs express modal meaning.

Verbs expressing possibility

These verbs express possibility and likelihood:

appear

feel

know

reckon

suppose

believe

gather

look

seem

tend

expect

guess

promise

sound

think

I expect to be back home by 6.

I think the meeting is about to start.

I suppose we’d better go.

I promise you that I will continue to listen and, where I can, I will do my best.

Appear, feel, look, seem and sound with it

We often use it with appear, feel, look, seem and sound when the following clause is the subject of the verb. It anticipates the subject:

It appears that they won’t be able to sell the house.

It seems like I was dreaming.

It feels more comfortable in here than in the kitchen.

Verbs expressing obligation

These verbs express obligation, permission and necessity:

allow

force

make

permit

require

demand

involve

mean

prohibit

want

forbid

let

oblige

There aren’t any flights that allow smoking.

Millie made us walk back.

Do you want him to come and work here?

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