AN INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH GRAMMAR & LANGUAGE
PAST/INDEFINITE TENSE For example,
Singular Plural I can help you.
1st Person I was We were I can swim across the river.
2nd Person You were You were Could is used to denote polite request.
3rd Person He/She/It was They were For example,
PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE Could you pass me the salt?
Singular Plural Could is often used without reference to past
1st Person I was being We were being time.
2nd Person You were being You were being For example,
3rd Person He/She/It was They were being I think, I could help you (can).
being Could have denotes a past possibility not ful-
PAST PERFECT TENSE
1st Person I had been We had been You could have done the sum with a little more
2nd Person You had been You had been attention.
3rd Person He/She/It had been They had been May, Might
May is used in expressing doubt or in asking or giving
PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE permission.
Singular Plural For example,
1st Person I had been being We had been being He may catch the train (doubt).
2nd Person You had been You had been being
May I go out? (asking permission).
You may sleep now (permission).
3rd Person He/She/It had been They had been being
May is used to express possibility in affirmative sen-
FUTURE INDEFINITE TENSE For example,
Singular Plural It may rain tomorrow.
1st Person I shall be We shall be He may be at home.
2nd Person You will be You will be May is also used to express a wish.
3rd Person He/She/It will be They will be For example,
FUTURE CONTINUOUS TENSE May you live long!
Singular Plural May success attend you!
1st Person I shall be being We shall be being Might is the past tense of may and is used to express
2nd Person You will be being You will be being a degree of dissatisfaction or reapproach.
3rd Person He/She/It will be being They will be being For example,
FUTURE PERFECT TENSE He cried aloud so that his friends might hear
Singular Plural him.
1st Person I shall have been We shall have been You might see me tomorrow.
2nd Person You will have been You will have been You might pay a little more attention to your appear-
3rd Person He/She/It will have They will have been ance.
been Might is also used in polite request.
FUTURE PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE
Might I have your umbrella for a day?
Note : (i) Could and Might are used as the past equiva-
1st Person I shall have We shall have
lent of can and may.
been being been being
2nd Person You will have You will have
been being been being I could draw scenery when I was young (ability).
3rd Person He/She/It will They will have He said I might/could sit (permission).
have been being been being He thought he might be at home (possibility).
He wondered if it could be correct. (possibility).
MODAL (ii) Could and might are also used as less positive
Modals are the auxiliaries which express attitudes like per- versions of can and may.
mission, possibility, necessity etc. such as : For example,
Can Could May Might Shall Should I could attend the party.
Will Would Must Ought Need Dare Might/Could I borrow your pen?
They are also called Modal Auxiliaries. It might be sunny tomorrow.
Uses of Modals (iii) May not denotes denial of permission or improb-
Can, Could ability.
Can is a Principal Verb followed by an Infinitive with- For example,
out ‘to’. Its Past tense is could but it, has no Past Parti-
Outsiders may not use the similar gate.
ciple. It means ability or capacity.