The Power of Modality
- 28th September 2016
- Posted by: Elizabeth
- Category: Tips
I find that using modal verbs gives students a really easy way, of sounding suitably proficient in French. Modal verbs are really simple to use and add an extra je ne sais quoi to written expression.
As a general rule, a modal verb is usually followed by the verb in the infinitive. However, the verbal structure can change, according to what you want to say, or the idea you wish to be conveyed.
The following are the most commonly used modal verbs:
Pouvoir – to be able to/can
Je peux concevoir que – i can see or understand that
Devoir – to have to / to owe
Je dois admettre que la situation … i must admit that the situation…
Je dois €5 à marie – i owe €5 to marie
Vouloir – To wish or to Want
Je veux parler de … i want to look at / i am talking about + topic to be discussed.
Je veux parler de l’expansion de la démocratie – i am talking about the spread of democracy.
Savoir – to know or to know how to do something
Je sais nager – i know how to swim
Falloir – to be necessary/ to need – impersonal verb used in the “il” form
Il faut trouver un moyen de résoudre… it is necessary or we must find a way to resolve…
Valoir – to be worth or to apply to something
Il vaut la peine de … it is worth (note that valoir is usually linked with mieux or la peine to give emphasis to what you are trying to say).
Il vaut mieux – it is better to…
Please refer to our Grammar Section for more useful tips! https://frenchnotes.ie/