Hi. I'm Vicki and welcome to the first of two videos about how to use the verbs 'may', 'might' and 'could' to talk about possibilities. We're also going to tell you a story.
A strange and creepy story. You'll love it.
There are two main ways we use modal verbs in English. One is when we want to try to control the world and what people do.
For example, we can use modal verbs to talk about permission. We've made another video about that and I'll put a link here.
And the other way we use modal verbs is to express our attitude and opinions. So for example, if we want to say we're not certain, we often use these modal verbs.
They're really useful when we want to talk about possibilities. So permission — possibility.
Modal verbs often have more than one meaning. In today's lesson you'll learn how we use these three modal verbs to talk about possibilities.
Let's see them in action. Oh. Sit Carter.
Good boy. Hello everyone.
Jay here. I'm traveling on business this week.
This hotel is very old. It might be two hundred years old.
Or three hundred? I don't know but it's dark and cold… . and there's a strange smell in this room.
It may be the kitchen downstairs. It could be cabbage.
I'm not sure. I didn't want to stay in this hotel but it's the only place that would take Carter.
Such a good boy. I didn't want to leave him at home.
Anyway, I'm going to stop now and take Carter for a walk. It's windy tonight and it could rain soon.
I hope not because we might get wet. And then after our walk, we may just go to bed and have an early night.
I'll speak to you all tomorrow. Did you hear Jay say 'may', 'might' and 'could'?
He used them all to talk about possibilities, and they express the idea that we're not certain. We use them when we don't know something for sure.
This hotel might be two hundred years old. Or three hundred?
It may be the kitchen downstairs. It could be cabbage.
I'm not sure. Could, may and might mean the same thing here, it doesn't matter which word you use.
我不确定。could，may 和 might 在这里的意思是一样的，不管你用哪个词意思都不变。
They all indicate you're not certain. We can use them to talk about the present, and also to talk about the future.
The structure is exactly the same. So how can we tell if someone's talking about the present or the future?
Well, it doesn't matter normally. We look at the situation and the context and we know.
And if it's important to be clear we can use adverbs or time expressions. It could rain soon.
After that, I may just go to bed. So if you're not sure if something's true now, or not sure if it will happen in the future, use may, might or could.
之后，我可能就去睡觉了。所以，如果你不确定某件事现在是不是真的，或者不确定它将来会不会发生，就可以用 may，might 或 could。
Now what about negative sentences? What if we think something might not be true, or we think things might not happen.
Let's hear some examples and see how Jay is getting on. Hello everyone.
Well, we're still here but we might not stay in this hotel for long. Last night was terrible.
The window in this room was rattling. It was so noisy we couldn't sleep.
This morning I got up and I slammed it shut. But it may not work.
I think it might rattle again tonight. I've asked the hotel if we can change our room.
They're going to try but they don't have many rooms so they might not be able to help. But the worst thing last night was I had a nightmare.
I dreamed there was a little girl at the end of my bed and she wanted to kill me. I couldn't see her very clearly because it was dark and she was hiding her face.
But I knew she was evil and I was terrified. I may not be able to sleep tonight.
Carter doesn't like this hotel either. He's behaving very strangely.
He keeps staring at the door like someone is outside. But when I open it and look, nobody's there.
It's really weird. Carter may not sleep tonight either.
Poor Jay, and poor Carter. Let's look at some of the things Jay said.
He used the negative form of may and the negative form of might. We might not stay in this hotel for long.
他用了 may 的否定形式和 might 的否定形式。我们可能不会在这间酒店住太久。
I've slammed the window shut but it may not work. The hotel might not be able to help.
I may not be able to sleep tonight. And Carter may not sleep tonight either.
With modal verbs we use 'not' to form the negative. Did Jay use contractions here?
在情态动词中，我们用 not 来构成否定形式。杰在这里用了缩写吗？
No. He didn't say mayn't of mightn't.
没有。他没有说 mayn't 或 mightn't。
With may and might, say may not or might not. OK, now what about could?
对于 may 和 might 的否定形式，用 may not 或 might not。好，那 could 呢？
Well, could is different in several ways. Let's see what Jay said.
It was so noisy we couldn't sleep. I couldn't see her very clearly because it was dark.
Did Jay use a contraction? Yes, we generally say couldn't. Could not — couldn't.
杰用的是缩写词吗？是的，我们通常会说 couldn't。 could not 缩写为 couldn't。
But something else is different here and this is important. The meaning is different to may not and might not.
但这里还有一些不同，这很重要。couldn't 与 may not 和 might not 的意思不同。
Have a look. Is he talking about present and future possibilities here?
NO! He's talking about that past, and things that didn't happen.
They wanted to sleep but it was impossible. He wanted to see the girl but it was too dark.
So here's the thing. We use may not and might not to talk about things we're not sure about, but couldn't means something different.
区别是这样的。我们用 may not 和 might not 来谈论我们不确定的事情，但 couldn't 表示不同的意思。
We use it to talk about things that didn't happen in the past. We know they didn't happen so there's no uncertainty.
我们用 couldn't 来谈论过去没有发生的事情。我们知道这些事没有发生，所以没有不确定性。
So if you're not sure and you're feeling uncertain, don't use couldn't. It's not the same as 'may not' and 'might not. '
那如果你不确定，或者你感觉不确定，你就不要用 couldn't。couldn't 和“may not”与“might not”不一样。
So let's summarise. When you want to talk about possibilities, use could, may and might.
我们总结一下。当你想谈论可能性时，可以用 could、may 和 might。
They all mean the same thing and we use them all to talk about things that are possibly true now and things that will possibly happen in the future. If you think things are possibly NOT true or NOT certain, say 'might not' or 'may not'.
它们的意思都是一样的，我们用它们来谈论现在可能是真的事情，以及将来可能会发生的事情。如果你认为事情可能不真实或不确定，就说“might NOT”或“may NOT”。
Don't say 'could not' or 'couldn't'. We use that to talk about impossible things.
不要说“could not”或“couldn't”。我们用“could not”或“couldn't”来谈论不可能的事情。
Great. Now you know how to use these modal verbs to talk about the present and the future.
But what about the past? Come back next week and we'll show you how to do that.
But before we stop, let's see how Jay and Carter are getting on? Well as you can see, I couldn't change our hotel room so Carter and I are still here.
Carter's not happy. He's not eating much and he seems nervous.
The phone rang everal times last night and he went crazy. I don't know who called.
I couldn't hear very well because Carter was barking. But it sounded like a young girl's voice.
She didn't say anything but she was laughing. Or could be she was crying.
I'm not sure. Do you think this hotel could be haunted?
What do you think? Might it be haunted?
And what might happen to Jay and Carter next week? Write and tell us in the comments.
Please share this video with your friends, and see you all next week for part two of the story. Bye.