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Interrogative Words & Modal Verbs

In this article, we will be learning about the Interrogative words and Modal Verbs as per the guidelines of Primary 5 English. We will be focusing on the following subtopics:

  • Interrogative Words
    • Understand the use of common interrogative words
    • Practice questions with interrogative words
  • Modal Verbs
    • Identify and understand the differences between modal verbs
    • Identify the tenses used in modal verbs
    • Practice questions using modal verbs

 We will also be going through the topic of Prepositions to get a better handle on this topic. 

Prepositions

  • Prepositions can come before nouns or objects and they can be used to connect an idea to another word.

They are normally used to show direction, time, place, or location.

Examples:

She drove to the store.

He was born in 2015.

She was waiting next to the supermarket.

He will find her at the library.

  • Prepositions can also come after verbs, where it does not change the meaning of the verb. 

Examples of Verb + Preposition

She often worries about her future.

Bears belong to the family of mammals.

  • When a verb + preposition is used together and produces a different meaning, we call them phrasal verbs.

Examples of Verb + Preposition (Phrasal Verbs)

We will get through this test together.

‘get through’ means overcoming or dealing with a difficult situation.

  • Prepositions can sometimes appear after adjectives to complete or elaborate on the ideas, emotions, or nouns the adjective describes.

Examples of Adjective + Preposition 

The kitten was afraid of the loud noise.

My cousin is dedicated to her studies. 

Practice Questions - Prepositions

Let’s do a quick recap of prepositions!

Question 1:

“Who is that lady in pink walking __________ us?” asked Jane.

  1. over
  2. on
  3. up
  4. towards

Answer: 

4) towards

Explanation:

Option 4 is the correct answer.

 

Question 2:

The hot air balloon rose  __________ the trees and went out of sight.

  1. above
  2. up
  3. out
  4. onto

Answer:

1) above

Explanation:

Option 1 is the correct answer

 

Question 3:

How much does a train ticket cost __________ Zurich to Belgium?

  1. for
  2. by
  3. from
  4. to

Answer:

3) from

Explanation:

Option 3 is the correct answer.

 

Question 4:

Dinner has been served __________ almost an hour now. The food must be cold.

  1. during
  2. for
  3. in
  4. at

Answer:

2) for

Explanation:

Option 2 is the correct answer.


Question 5:

I sent my cousin the letter today, so they should receive it __________ Monday.

  1. in
  2. at
  3. by
  4. for

Answer:

3) by

Explanation:

Option 3 is the correct answer.

 

What are Interrogative Words?

Interrogative words are also called question words.

Example:

  • WHAT

It is used to ask for information about something or ask for repetition or confirmation.

What is your name?

Pardon me, but what did you say?

It can also be phrased to ask for a reason or ask why.

What did you do that for?

 

  • WHEN 

It is used to ask about time.

When did she leave?

When did the incident happen?

 

  • WHERE

It is used to ask about a place or position.

Where do they live?

Where did you put it?

 

  • WHICH

It is used to ask about a choice.

Which colour did you like?

Which do you prefer, this game or that game?

 

  • WHY

It is used to ask for a reason. It is similar to the interrogative what……for.

It can also be used to make a suggestion. 

Why do you attend class?

Why don’t I help you?

 

  • WHO

It is used to ask about a person.

Who did this?

Who was that on the phone?

 

  • WHOSE

It is used to ask about who owns an object/ ownership.

Whose book is that?

Whose turn is it?

 

  • WHOM

It is used to ask or find out which person received an action.

Whom are you going to ask to the party?

Whom did they choose as the team captain?

 

  • HOW

It is used to ask about the manner, the way something is carried out, or the quality of an object.

How does this work?

How did you do in the test?

How long will it take?

 

Practice Questions - Interrogative Words

Let’s test our understanding of interrogative words!

Question 1:

 __________ did you last feed your pet crayfish?

  1. When
  2. What
  3. Which
  4. Why

Answer:

1) When

Explanation:

Option 1 is the correct answer.

 

Question 2:

 __________ pencil did you borrow?

  1. Who
  2. Whose
  3. Whom
  4. What

Answer:

2) whose

Explanation:

Option 2 is the correct answer.

 

Question 3:

__________ were you not in school yesterday?

  1. Why
  2. Who
  3. Where
  4. What

Answer:

1) why

Explanation:

Option 1 is the correct answer.

 

Question 4:

 __________ were they screaming loudly in the classroom for?

  1. Which
  2. Why
  3. When
  4. What

Answer:

4) what

Explanation:

Option 4 is the correct answer.

 

Question 5:

With __________, should I go to the movies later?

  1. Who
  2. Whose
  3. Whom
  4. What

Answer:

3) whom

Explanation:

Option 3 is the correct answer.

 

What are Modal Verbs?

Modal verbs are a type of auxiliary verb that changes or completes the meaning of the main verb. 

They are often used to indicate formality in writing or conversation.

Examples of Modal Verbs

CAN COULD
MAY MIGHT
SHALL SHOULD
WILL WOULD
MUST  

 

How do I use Modal Verbs?

  • CAN

It is used to show possibility or ability. 

In informal situations, it can be used to express permission.

We can arrive in time if we leave now.

You can do that if you want.

Mom, can I go over to my friend’s house?

 

  • COULD

It is used to identify possibilities in the present or to show ability in the past.

It can be used to identify a possibility in the future that is dependent on a present action.

Until he grew taller than me, I could run faster than him.

We could go out for dinner, or we could just eat leftovers.

If she practised more, she could sing beautifully.

 

  • MAY

It is used to express possibilities in the present or future. 

In formal situations, it can be used to express permission.

He may do well if he studies hard.

May I be excused from the class?

 

  • MIGHT

It is used to express possibility in the past, present, or future.

He might have seen the movie before he read the book.

She might be your teacher next year.

 

  • WILL

It is used to talk about the future with absolute certainty.

It can be used to show willingness or interest.

He will do well in the race as he has been training every day.

Will you come with us?

 

  • WOULD

It is used to talk about the future in the past.

It can also be used to express a situation, dependent on another action (using a conditional).

I knew it would be cold, so I packed sweaters and a coat.

If I had a million dollars, I would buy a fancy car.

 

  • SHALL

It is used to indicate a possible promise in the future.

It can also be used to make suggestions or offer help.

The package shall be delivered tomorrow.

Shall I help you with your bags?

 

  • SHOULD

It is used to provide a piece of advice.

It can also be used to convey an idea of obligation.

You should have some chicken soup if you are sick.

You should come to class on time so as not to make the teacher repeat himself.

 

Practice Questions - Modal Verbs

Let’s test our understanding of Modal Verbs!

Question 1:

 I __________ get a haircut to look neater for school, but I do like long hair.

  1. may
  2. could
  3. would
  4. shall

Answer:

3) would

Explanation:

Option 3 is the correct answer. Would suggest the possibility of him getting the haircut but since he likes long hair, he did not get the haircut.

 

Question 2:

Jojo __________ have started his examination revision earlier but he chose not to do so.

  1. should
  2. might
  3. shall
  4. may

Answer:

1) should

Explanation:

Option 1 is the correct answer. There is a strong sense of obligation.

 

Question 3:

When I was younger, my mother __________ make me eat my dinner early each night.

  1. might
  2. could
  3. would
  4. should

Answer:

3) would

Explanation:

Option 3 is the correct answer.

 

Question 4:

You __________ report to the Principal’s office right now as he wants to have a word with you.

  1. must
  2. might
  3. could
  4. would

Answer:

1) must

Explanation:

Option 1 is the correct answerThe situation is of utmost urgency.

 

Conclusion

In this article, we learned about Interrogative words and also Modal verbs as per the Primary 5 English syllabus.

Interrogative Words

Interrogative words are also called question words.

what who
where whose
when whom
why how
which  

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs are a type of auxiliary verb that changes or completes the meaning of the main verb.

can could
may might
shall should
will would
must  

 

Continue Learning
Synthesis & Transformation : Reason Relative Pronouns: Who, Whom & Whose
Vocabulary: Synonyms & Word Substitution Pronouns: Demonstrative, Possessive & Reflexive
Editing: Sharpening Your Understanding Synthesis & Transformation: Reported Speech
Verbs: Modals & Interrogatives Synthesis & Transformation - Active And Passive Voice
Character Development: ALTOS & Creating A Memorable Character Grammar Cloze - Revision
Expand Your Vocabulary: Different Ways To Express Speech, Hearing & Seeing Comprehension & Question Tags
The Difference in Some Clozes Perfect Tense & Common Tense Errors
Interrogative Words & Modal Verbs Prepositions - All Types
Comprehension - Factual Questions Simple, Perfect And Continuous Tenses
Resources - Academic Topics
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