May 3, 2017

Auxiliary Verbs and their Equivalents

The phrase ‘Be able to’ can be used in place of ‘Can’

Usage of ‘Can’ instead of ‘Be able to’

  • He can make toys with soil – He is able to make toys with soil.
  • I am unable to figure this out – I can’t figure this out.
  • They were able to catch the killer – They could catch the killer.

‘is/am/are to’ instead of ‘will or shall’

The structure is/am/are+ to can be used to express simple futurity.

  • He is to leave tomorrow – He will leave tomorrow.
  • The prime minister is to visit America next year – The Prime Minister will visit America next year.
  • They are to get information from rats – They will get information from rats.

‘is/am/are + to’ instead of ‘must’

The structure ‘is/am/are + to’is also used to give commands. Therefore, it can be used in place of must.

  • I am to write a blog in an hour – I must write a blog in an hour.
  • He is not to wait for more than an hour – He must not wait for more than an hour.

Had better instead of should or ought to

  • You had better asked him – You should ask

Had better may also express a threat.

  • He had better be wary.

Have to instead of must

  • I have to finish food – I must finish food.