Certainty and deduction

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Examples of modals expressing certainty and deduction

UsageModal VerbExample
Certainty (positive)WillCrime will increase unless stricter penalties are introduced.
Highly likely (positive)MustIt must be terrible for people who have to spend time in prison for crimes they did not commit.
Likely (positive)Should/ ought toStricter penalties should/ought to reduce crime.
Possible (positive)Might / could / mayEducation opportunities in prison might/may/could encourage prisoners to behave differently when they are released.
Possible (negative)Might not / may notPrisoners might not/may not re-offend if they are given rehabilitation counselling in prison.
Unlikely (negative)Should not / ought not toCrime levels should not/ought not to increase if the Government intervenes.
Highly unlikely (negative)Cannot / must notCurrent laws on crime cannot be/must not be working as crime levels continue to increase.
Certainty (negative)Will notThe problem of crime will not be solved unless the Government introduces stricter penalties.

 


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