Esta semana desde la Academia Inglés Bilbao School te explicamos la forma gramatical “The modal perfect” y te damos unos ejercicios para completar.




(Modal verb + have + past participle)



When we combine modal verbs with the past perfect (HAD + PAST PARTICIPLE) we form the modal perfect:




It is similar to using a modal verb with the present perfect.  Modal verbs are used to express possibility, ability, expectation, probability and criticism.  We form the modal perfect with a modal verb have in the infinitive and another verb in the past participle.



Could have, may have and might have all give the idea of possibility in the past.  May have and might have can be positive or negative but could have can only be positive when we use it to show possibility.

-John looks worried. He could have had another fight with his boss.

-She may have forgotten to come to the meeting.

-I wish you had come to the party, you might have liked it.


Could have can also show ability. When we use could have to show ability we can use it in the positive or negative.

-My dog was inside all day. It couldn’t have taken your newspaper.

-The boys were so hungry they could have eaten two pizzas!


When we want to express expectations, obligations or criticisms, we can use should have or ought to have.  We can use them in the negative or the positive.

-You should have said sorry yesterday. Today is too late.

-We ought not to have fought with them.


We use must have or must not have to show a strong probability in the past.  In negative informal sentences we can also use can’t have but we cannot use can have.

-He was there all day. They must have seen him.

-I heard it rained all weekend. They can’t have had much fun camping in the mountains.

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