We know the basic modals – may, can, should, have to
These are used for the present or the future. But how do you use these modals in the past. In the past time, we use the following simple rules.
“May (v1)” becomes “might have (v3)” “May (be)” becomes “might have (been)”
“Can (v1)” becomes “could have (v3)” “can (be)” becomes “could have (been)”
“should (v1)” becomes “should have (v3)” “May (be)” becomes “should have (been)”
Note: Be careful to always use the third form of the verb for modals in the past. Also when the verb is not there, add “been”.
1. He might have gone to the station (probability) He might have been in the station.
2. You should have studied harder (duty) You should have been studious.
3. You could have helped him (ability) You could have been helpful.
Follow the golden rule. When the verb is there use the 3rd form. When there is no verb use “been”.
Activity – 1
A man is remembering his life and he feels the following of how things should have been. Use the following clues and use “should have (v3)” or “should have been”.
1. I rich.
2. I study hard.
3. I marry early.
4. I take Government job.
5. I hard working.
6. I not waste so much time in youth.
7. I not make bad friends.
8. I not get habbit of smoking.
9. I go abroad.
10. I not spend so much.
11. I buy house.
12. I better father.