Certainty and deduction

Examples of modals expressing certainty and deduction

Usage Modal Verb Example
Certainty (positive) Will Crime will increase unless stricter penalties are introduced.
Highly likely (positive) Must It must be terrible for people who have to spend time in prison for crimes they did not commit.
Likely (positive) Should/ ought to Stricter penalties should/ought to reduce crime.
Possible (positive) Might / could / may Education opportunities in prison might/may/could encourage prisoners to behave differently when they are released.
Possible (negative) Might not / may not Prisoners might not/may not re-offend if they are given rehabilitation counselling in prison.
Unlikely (negative) Should not / ought not to Crime levels should not/ought not to increase if the Government intervenes.
Highly unlikely (negative) Cannot / must not Current laws on crime cannot be/must not be working as crime levels continue to increase.
Certainty (negative) Will not The problem of crime will not be solved unless the Government introduces stricter penalties.

 

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