Publication Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Kathleen Graves


Modal auxiliary verbs are a neglected group in the lexicon, especially in the EFL classroom. Due to the nature of the nuances they are used to convey, their misuse can cause not just misinformation but also subtle tones that create unpleasant discord in the flow of communication. Modals are easy sources of errors for students of EFL because they follow no readily discernible patterns. Structurally there are six points explained here which can confuse students and cause modals to change their function. There are two main categories of functions: social interaction, which includes advice, suggestion, obligation, social expectation; and logical probability, which includes inference and probability. I maintain that presenting modals within the function is best for students. Introducing only two modals at a time, in contrast, and function-by-function in a real situation, is a more viable way to help students learn to use modals appropriately in conversation. After giving a brief analysis of all modals, both structurally and functionally, I have chosen to focus on two functions: advice and suggestion. The development of my lesson plans is reviewed and my final plan is presented as a model for the effective teaching of modals in the ESL/EFL classroom.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research