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Ex. 50. Express ability with can(could), be able to in the Present, Past or Future

1. … you stand on your head? – I … when I was at school but I (not) … now. 2. When I’ve passed my driving test I … hire a car from our local garage.

3. At the end of the month the Post Office will send him an enormous telephone bill which he (not) … pay. 4. I (not) … remember the address. – (not) … you even remember the street? 5. When the fog lifts we … see where we are. 6. You’ve put too much in your rucksack; you’ll never … carry all that. 7. When I was a child I (not) … understand adults, and now that I am an adult I (not) … understand children. 8. When you have taken your degree you … put letters after your name? 9. Don’t try to look at all the pictures in the gallery. Otherwise when you get home you (not) … remember any of them. 10. When I first went to Spain I … read Spanish but I (not) … speak it. 11. … you type? – Yes, I … type but I (not) … do shorthand. 12. I’m locked in. I (not) … get out! – (not) … you squeeze between the bars?- No, I (not) … ; I’m too fat.


Ex. 51. Fill in the gaps with could or was/were able to, or both.


1. He was very strong; he … ski all day and dance all night. 2. The car plunged into the river. The driver … get out but the passengers were drowned. 3. I was a long way from the stage. I … see all right but I (not) … hear very well. 4. We … borrow umbrellas; so we didn’t get wet. 5. … you walk or did they have to carry you? 6. I had no key so I (not) … lock the door. 7. I knew the town so I … advise him where to go. 8. When the garage had repaired our car we … continue our journey. 9. At five years old he … read quite well. 10. When I arrived everyone was asleep. Fortunately I … wake my sister and she let me in. 11. The swimmer was very tired but he … reach the shore before he collapsed. 12. The police were suspicious at first but I … convince them that we were innocent.


Ex. 52. Fill in the gaps expressing ability in the correct form.

1. You … run much faster when you were younger. 2. On entering the house I … smell something burning in the kitchen. 3. If you work quickly, you … finish on time. 4. Ann (not) … read yet though she’s almost six.

5. When we lived on the coast, we … swim in the sea every day. 6. Gordon survived because he … find his way out of the jungle. 7. Last week he … arrange a meeting with the Prime Minister. 8. I’m not usually very good at tennis, but yesterday I … beat my brother. 9. Tom (not) … finish his work for three days. Something’s gone wrong. 10. He (not) … fix the tap so he called a plumber. 11. He read the message but he (not) … understand it. 12. Our baby … walk in a few weeks. 13. Although the pilot was badly hurt he … explain what had happened.

Ex. 53. Translate into English.

1. Можно я сяду за ваш столик? – Да, пожалуйста. 2. Я не умел кататься на велосипеде в детстве. 3. Если вы будете упорно работать, вы сможете получить прибавку к зарплате. 4. Могу я помочь вам? – Да, отнесите эти книги на третий этаж в комнату 312. 5. Хотя он потерял на войне ногу, он смог не только научиться ходить, но даже танцевать. 6. Боюсь, я не смогу вам помочь. 7. Он не смог объяснить нам, почему он отказался от этой работы. 8. Если вы окончите эти курсы, вы сможете получить повышение. 9. Я не знал, что она не умеет водить машину. 10. Когда вы сможете приступить к работе?



I. The modal verb must expresses duty, obligation, necessity to do sth. This meaning is obvious in the 1st or 2nd person in statements and in questions, e.g.

I must study hard. ( = I realize how important it is.)

Must I do it today? (asking for instructions) – Yes, you must do it

now. (giving instructions)


NOTE: Mind that to express absence of duty, obligation or necessity we use another modal verb – need not. (The form need is usually found in questions.)The negative form must not (mustn’t) expresses prohibition (in the 2nd person statements and in the 3d person notices), e.g.

Must I (Need I) do it today? – No, you needn’t. You can do it


Я должен сделать это сегодня? – Нет, (не надо / не

обязательно) ты можешь сделать это завтра.


You mustn’t speak to your seniors like that.

Ты не должен (Нельзя) так разговаривать со старшими.


(notice) Passengers must not smoke on the train.

(объявление) Пассажирам не разрешается курить в поезде.

II. In the 2nd person statements it is also used to express strong recommendation, when we strongly advise sb to do sth, e.g.

You (really) must see this film! I’m sure it’ll be awarded at least

one Oscar.

Вы обязательно должны посмотреть этот фильм!

III. The verbs must and need are only used in the Present. For the Past and the Future you should use their equivalents (which are used in the Present as well)

(1)have todo sth (= duty, obligation, necessity caused by circumstances), which forms negatives and questions like an ordinary verb, e.g.

DoI have to tell him the truth? – Yes, you do. (No, you don’t.)*

Я должен сказать ему правду? – Да, должен. (Нет, не надо / не должен.)

We have to put some petrol in the car.

Нам надо залить в бак бензин.

Did she have to look after her mother? – Yes, and she had to take

care of her family as well.

Она должна была / Ей пришлось ухаживать за мамой? – Да, ей

также пришлось заботиться и о своей семье.

I’m sure you’ll have to do both jobs.

Я уверен, тебе придется выполнить обе работы.


(2)be to do sth (= duty, obligation, necessity due to arrangement, plan, instruction or order), which is only used in the Present or Past Simple, e.g.


You are to go there immediately.

Ты должен отправиться туда немедленно.

What arewe to do next?

Что мы должны сделать затем?

I am not to tell her my name. (I’m not) **

Я не должен называть ей свое имя.


IV. When we report direct speech in the Past, we can often use either the same modal verbs or their equivalents, e.g.

“I must go to bed”, she said. → She saidshe must go to bed.

She said she had to go to bed.

He said ”You needn’t wait.” → He said that I needn’t wait.

He said that I didn’t have to wait.



* There’s no difference between the negative forms needn’t and don’t/doesn’t have to, e.g.

He needn’t go to work today. = He doesn’t have to go to work



** When we speak about the Past, the forms had to and was/were to have a different meaning. Compare:

I had to tell her the truth. = I actually told her the truth. The circumstances made me.

I was to tell her the truth. = I was supposed to tell her the truth. That was the arrangement. You do not know if I actually did.


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