PAST MODALS: Might've, Could've, Should've, Would've, Must've....


Today we've got an advanced English lesson we're going to look at using modals in the





It's a lot to study in one lesson, really

a lot. really a lot it's like 12 hours of grammar that we're going to to in about 10

minutesSo prepare yourself, get yourself a cup of coffee  switch

off your phone,  go to the bathroomsit comfortably, whatever and pay attention. This

requires investigationloud rock music.

Hello and welcome to LetThemTalk the channel that goes deeper into everything about the

English language. Before we get into the grammar a word about pronunciation.



WOULD HAVE to WOULD'VE. You can say them and write them too.

You might also hear some informal contractions

that are spoken but not written.

MAY'VE. COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA, MUSTA...I won't say anything more about that in this video

because we already have 2 videos that coverthis subject I'll put a link to them in the description.

So let's get straight into the grammar

So MAY HAVE and MIGHT HAVE are used to speculate about the past. So what's the difference

between MAY HAVE and MIGHT HAVE.  Essentially MAY HAVE has a slightly higher level of

probability but they are interchangable in most sentences but not always there is an

exception to this which I'll explain in a moment.

Let's look at some examples. “Why isn't Karen at work yet it's half past nine?

“I don't know, she might have missed

her train.”(You can also sayshe MAY have missed her train”)

“I can't find my keys anywhere, I may have left them in the kitchen” (And you can also use MIGHT HAVE)

Now when you talk about a probability in the past that DIDN'T happen. You have to use MIGHT HAVE you

cannot use MAY HAVE. For example.  “The car came round the corner so fast,

might have been killed.” (but fortunately I wasn't). So in these type of sentences you

about possibilities that didn't happen you must use MIGHT HAVE.

You can use MAY HAVE or MIGHT HAVE with a continuous verb just by adding BEEN + verb

+ INGThey don't yet know why he crashed the

car but they say he might have been drinking. “ For the negative just add NOT after the modal

verbQuinoa is a wonderful, healthy food that

you might not have heard of. “ So in all these sentences we are discussing

a probability in the past. These are maybe yes, maybe no situations about the past.

- Now it's your turn can you give an answer to these questions?

Why has she been vomiting?”

She might have eaten some dodgy seafood

(dodgy just means of suspicious quality)

Why is she crying?”

She might have been arguing with her boyfriend."

Did you get that?

And finally to ask a question just use "Do you think you may/might have"

She's not here do you think she might have forgotten the appointment?”

You say you can't find the document anywhere. Do you think you might have lost it?”

So COULD HAVE is sometimes similar to MAY HAVE and MIGHT HAVE and in some cases you can use both but while MAY/MIGHT HAVE speculate

about the past COULD HAVE refers to ability or capability in the past. Let's look at some

examples.  "I could have become a professional footballer

but I broke my leg." So we are looking at what you were capable of doing in the past

that didn't happen.  "You could have passed your exams, if you had studied

harder". So you had an ability in the past.

"Why isn't he here today, is he sick?"

"Not at all, he could have come but, he decided to stay at home and play the ukulele".

So he was able to come but he chose not to do so.

for the negative to talk about an impossibility use COULDN'T HAVE + past participle.

So remember MIGHT NOT HAVE and MAY NOT HAVE mean possibly not COULD NOT HAVE means definitely

not. For example.

Even if I had studied for 1000 hours I couldn't have passed that it exam. It was

really impossible.”  “Wow! I 100% congratulations. You couldn't have done

any better. “ You can also use COULD HAVE to offer gentle

criticism. For exampleYou're an hour late - you could have called me"

So that's gentle criticism if you want it to be a bit stronger use

SHOULD HAVE. “You should have called me"

Now as you know MUST in the present is used to talk about obligation. "I must buy some

bananas", "You mustn't smoke in here. "But to talk about obligation in the past you use

HAD TO "Yesterday, I had to buy bananas", for a negative use wasn't allowed to. "We

weren't allowed to smoke". A common mistake is to use MUST HAVE to talk about obligation

in the past but, as we have just seen, it isn't.

So when do we use MUST HAVE + past participleWe use MUST HAVE + PAST PARTICIPLE to talk

about what we believe is certain in the pastSo if we go back and look at the examples

for MIGHT HAVE and MAY HAVE we can use the same sentences with MUST HAVE if we believe it was a certainty

so for exampleWhy isn't Karen here it's already half

past 9?” “She must have missed her train” - there

can be no other explanation.  “Where are my keys? I must have left them

in the kitchen” - there is no other possibility.

Now it's your turn can you make a sentence with MUST HAVE

Last week he was poor but I just saw him driving a brand new Ferrari

He must have won the lotteryyou could have said. Or you could sayhe must have stolen it

Anyway whatever you believe is certain is ok.

Be careful though we don't usually use MUST HAVE with a negative. Instead use COULDN'T HAVE to

talk about a negative certaintyWhy isn't he here? He couldn't have forgotten

- he never forgets our reunions!”

We use  SHOULD HAVE + past participle to talk about past mistakes and to criticize

past behaviour. The negative is SHOULDN'T HAVE. Let's have a look at some examples.

“I should have won the gold medal instead of the silver but I didn't because of my stupid mistake. “

Where have you been you should have been here an hour ago. “

You shouldn't have said that to her. She was very upset. “

They shouldn't have allowed him to drink the wine. He was only 15. “

We use WOULD HAVE + past pariciple". As

a past conditional to talk not only about a past possibility but also the consequences

of that action. How it affects the time afterwards.  “If I had passed my exams I would have become

a doctor. “ “I would have been here an hour ago but

I missed my train. “ The negative is with WOULDN'T HAVE

He wouldn't have crashed if he hadn't drunk all that whisky. “

She wouldn't have slapped him if he hadn't been so rude.”

That's it. I hope you learnt something. You can practise this by leaving some sentences in the comments usingMIGHT HAVE,

SHOULD HAVE, MUST HAVE, WOULD HAVE.....  Thank you for watching

As always stay mellow and see you in the next video....