5.4.7 A note about contractions and modal verbs: while we usually contract the negative forms, we cannot contract all modal verbs:
Modal verbs are function words and as such are not usually stressed. The table below shows (with Clear Alphabet) how modal verbs can be pronounced with weak forms:
See also the free worksheet List of Contractions and Mega Contractions:list-of-contractions-and-mega-contractions
5.4.8 Read more about each modal verb and their most common uses below:
The past form of ‘can’ is ‘could’: ‘I can swim’ (present) – ‘I could swim’ (past). We can also say ‘I used to be able to swim’ (see below).
The future form of ‘can’ is ‘will be able to’.
Modal perfect: ‘could have’ means an action that was possible in the past, but did not happen: ‘I could have learned to swim, but I didn’t.’
The past form of ‘will’ is ‘would’: ‘I will help you’ (present) – ‘He said he would help me.’ (past).
Modal perfect: ‘would have’ means an action that you were willing to do in the past, but did not do: ‘I would have made dinner, but she didn’t want me to.’
We use ‘will’ to make the tense ‘future simple’: subject + will + infinitive = I will go shopping later.
See also the free worksheet pack and podcast: 26 Past, Present, and Future Uses of Would:26-past-present-and-future-uses-of-would-complete-pack
Free Podcast: 26 Past, Present, and Future Uses of Would (MP3, 25 MB):