English modals of deduction

For other uses, see Deduction.

The English modal verbs "must", "have to", "have got to", "can't" and "couldn't" are used to express deduction and contention. Modal verbs are used to state how sure the speaker is about something.


"Must" can be used when the speaker feels sure that something is real because he sees strong evidence of it.

"Must have" is used with a past participle when the speaker is not totally sure about something.

Have to

Have got to


"Can't" is used to say that the speaker thinks something is not right.

"Can't have" + past participle is used for things that the speaker is sure did not occur in the past.



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