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Modal verbs – 8 of the best examples, activities and resources for KS2 English/SPaG

What is a modal verb? Help children get to grips with this element of grammar with these teaching resources, lesson plans and other ideas for primary...

  • Modal verbs – 8 of the best examples, activities and resources for KS2 English/SPaG

Modal verbs definition

These are verbs that show the possibility or likelihood of something

Modal verbs list

  • Could
  • Would
  • Should
  • May
  • Might
  • Must
  • Mustn’t
  • Can
  • Can’t
  • Will
  • Won’t
  • Ought to

National Curriculum English programme of study links

Using modal verbs or adverbs to indicate degrees of possibility.

1 | Modal verbs KS2 lesson pack

This powerful grammar resources pack provides everything you need to teach a series of five lessons on modal verbs, culminating in an extended writing task where children can use their grammatical understanding in context.

Get this resource here.


2 | Types of verbs KS2 lesson

Verbs are often thought of as ‘doing words’, but can you explain main verbs, auxiliary verbs and modal verbs to your class?

Suzanne Horton and Branwen Bingle from the University of Worcester show you how in this free lesson plan.

Download it here.


3 | Modal verb SPaG challenge

This 15-minute SPaG challenge focusing on modal verbs asks students to put words – ‘might’, ‘can’, ‘can’t’, ‘will’, ‘must’, ‘won’t’ – in order from most to least likely, put modal verbs into the blank spaces in sentences and other similar SATs-style questions.

Get it here.


4 | Modal verbs explained video

If you want something to help introduce students to modal verbs before lessons, or just something they can revisit to refresh their knowledge, then this Khan academy video goes through the grammatical concept with a virtual chalkboard to help clearly explain everything.

Watch it here.


5 | Modal verbs story starters

This teaching sequence has been designed to help children revisit and recall a key grammatical concept from the National Curriculum programme of study for Year 5.

The session provides a motivating and memorable image to stimulate discussion, before introducing the grammar element, which is ‘modal verbs’.

Children have time to practise using this feature, before undertaking a short writing task to apply what they have learnt in the context of creative writing.

Get this resource here.


6 | Modal verbs Year 5 worksheet

This simple three-page worksheet is useful for consolidating learning on modal verbs for Year 5s.

There are two pages of questions and one answer sheet.

Download and print here.


7 | Recognising modal verbs and modal adverbs

This short worksheet with answers features nine questions, each with two parts.

The first features a sentence such as ‘I will call you tomorrow’ and asks students to underline the modal verb.

Then the second asks them to underline the modal adverb in an expanded version of the sentence, in this case ‘I will definitely call you tomorrow’.

Definitions of modal verbs and modal adverbs are included, and answers are provided. There’s also a space for children to write a couple of sentences in the same style using modal verbs and modal adverbs.

The scripty font it’s written in isn’t necessarily the easiest to read, so you may want to copy and paste it all into a document and change it if you think children might struggle with it.

Find it here.


8 | Modal verbs wordsearch

Give students a bit of fun with this interactive wordsearch. They have five minutes to try to find as many modal verbs as they can.

Play it here.

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