Future possibilities, obligations and abilities

So, due to COVID-19, we won't be able to have any face-to-face English classes in October. However, we might be able to attend a light festival during Thadingyut, although we will have to wear a face mask and keep social distance. It's likely that in the near future, many civil servants in Naypyitaw won't have to go to work as the government will need to impose some more stay at home regulations.

The verbs in bold above are modal verbs - they are extra verbs we add to a sentence to describe

  • possibilities in the future (might)

  • obligations in the future (will have to)

  • abilities in the future (could)


Listen to the recording of two people, making travel plans during COVID-19. Answer the questions:

  1. Where do they want to go?

  2. How do they decide to travel? (What means of transport do they decide to use?)

  3. Where do you think they are?

Listen again and complete the gaps in the transcript below

Well, we need to travel as soon as possible because the conference will start tomorrow evening. So, how are we going to get to Yangon?

We _____ get a car, it’d be the quickest way, and the most convenient.

No, we _____ go by car because I get car sick.


Yes, really.

Wow, I never knew that. What about if we stop regularly and take breaks?

That _____help, I'd rather not risk it. So, are we ______ get a bus tonight?

No, I’ve already checked that. They’re all booked up, so we _____ go by bus, I’m afraid.

Well, there’s no train, so it looks like we ________ go by plane, then. Any idea how long that takes?

Last time I took the plane, it was about 1 ½ hours, but it _______ take that long now because there’ll probably be fewer passengers because of the virus.

Okay, let's do that. Taking the plane is better anyway, because it means we ________ spend a long time travelling

Enter you answers below and match the modal verbs with their use


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