Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Fixed Modal Expressions: Easy English sentences to memorize and use!

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Oh, you can say that again.

[Laughs] No, no.

I'm sorry, I can't help it.

Next week?

No, I would if I could, but I can't.


I have to do a thing here.





Oh, hey, everyone.

I'm Alex.

Thanks for clicking, and welcome to this lesson on "Fixed Modal Expressions".

So, in this lesson I am going to improve your speaking skills and specifically your ability

to use some very common conversational expressions that use modal verbs.

In case you don't know, modal verbs are verbs like: "can" or "could", "would", "should",

"will", "might", "may", etc.

And a modal verb is always followed by a base verb, so for example: "can" plus a base verb,

so: "can do", "can make", "can play", "can see", "will play", "will do", "will make",

"will see".

It doesn't matter what the subject is.

All right?

So, for example: "I can play", "You can play", "He can play", "She can play", etc.

For, you know, a deeper understanding of modal verbs and their rules, we have tons of videos

on engVid for you to check out.

For this video, though, I'm just going to give you a whole bunch of different fixed

expressions, expressions that are fixed, meaning that you cannot change the order of the words

and that they are very commonly used in conversations.

So I've divided them into, you know, expressions with "can", with "would", with "should", and

with "will".

Obviously there are tons more than this, but these will get you started.

So: "can".

"You can say that again!"

When you use this expression it means that, you know, you want a person to repeat what

they said because you strongly agree with them.

So if your friend says: "This is impossible.

It's impossible."

Like: "Yeah, you can say that again."

If you really think and agree the person that whatever they're talking about really is impossible,

if I say: -"Oh, he really, really, really needs to get a new job."

-"Yeah, you can say that again", because I know he's very stressed or something like


Okay, next: "I can't help it."

or "I couldn't help it."

For this one you can use different subjects: "He can't help it.", "She can't help it.",

"They can't help it."

This means they have no control; they have an impulse, an instinct, a habit of doing


So, if you are laughing at your friend and your friend thinks you shouldn't be laughing,

it's a bad situation to laugh, but you can't stop laughing, say: "I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

No, I can't help it.

It's really funny."


And your friend's like: "Hey.

Why are you laughing at me?"


So, if you can't help it, it means you can't control yourself.

So if you're laughing, if you...

I don't know.

If you like to eat ice cream and you can't help it because you want to eat a whole tub,

it's like: -"Slow down, slow down."

-"I can't help it.

It's so good.

It's so good."


Next: "I can't" or "I couldn't"-in the past-"believe it".


I think you guys know what this means.


And you probably use this in your life already as an English speaker: "I can't believe it",

similar to: "I don't believe it."

or "I couldn't believe it."

It means that you don't believe what the person is saying or you don't believe what you are

seeing in front of you.

So if you can't believe it, you think that there is no way that this is true or this

is real.

"I could use a break."

This can be used with other subjects, too.

So, if you have a friend, for example, who is very busy all the time or who has a stressful

life, maybe they're constantly working or they're constantly with their family, or you

know, something else takes up a lot of their time, and you look at that...

At that person, at your friend and say: "He could use a break."

or "She could use a break."

This means that they should go on vacation or they should...

They deserve to have a break, they deserve to, you know, have some free time to relax

and to recharge their batteries, basically.

Not, like, real batteries; that's an idiomatic expression, but you know, get their energy

back to rest and relax.

Okay, so just for pronunciation, now that I've explained them, repeat these expressions

after me: "You can say that again!", "I can't help it.", "I can't believe it.", "I could

use a break."


Next we have "would".

So, first expression: "I would if I could (but I can't!)"

The reason I put "but I can't" in parenthesis is because this expression is usually used

in two ways.

One, some people just say: "I would if I could."

And if you want to say something more complete: "I would if I could, but I can't."


So this means you want to do something.

Let's say that your friend invites you out to see a movie and you want to see the movie,

but you can't see the movie because: A) maybe you don't have enough money, or B)

maybe you have an important test tomorrow, or C) you have other plans already.

So you tell your friend: "I want to see the movie, but I can't see the movie."

So: "I would if I could, but I can't."

So here you're using the second conditional, something that is not real because you're

not going to see the movie so it's not a real situation for you, so: "I would go if I could

go, but I can't go."

All right?

Next: "I wouldn't do that if I were you."

So this also goes with the second conditional.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

I am not you.

It is impossible for me to inhabit your body and your brain.


But if I were you, I wouldn't...

I wouldn't do that.


So this is when you want to give advice to someone, for example, and you want to tell

them: That's a bad idea.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

So he says: "I'm thinking about quitting my job today."

Like: -"Don't you have a family?"


They'll understand."

-"Bad idea.

Bad idea.

I wouldn't do that if I were you."

Okay, and the next two: "You would have loved it!"

So imagine, going back to the movie, you saw a movie and you wish your friend had gone

to the movie with you, say: "Oh, the movie was so great.

You would have loved it."

You weren't at the movie with me, but if you had gone to the movie-I'm using the third

conditional here-you would have loved it.

So this is third conditional.

"You would have loved it."

And finally: "Oh, you would've died!"

Now, this doesn't mean officially, literally you would have died.

Usually when you say: "You would have died", you mean that you would have laughed so much.

"You would have died!" or "You would have died laughing!"

So you saw something very funny at the theatre, or you noticed something or saw something

in the street that really made you laugh or was entertaining for you, and you tell your

friend: "You would have died if you had seen that."


And, again, for a review of conditionals to make sure you know what's happening here grammatically,

check out any number of the engVid videos on second conditional and third conditional.


I'm expecting that you already have some familiarity here.

So before we continue, once more, pronunciation.

Ready to listen and repeat?



So, first one: "I would if I could."


And let's say the second part: "...but I can't".

Okay, next: "I wouldn't do that if I were you."

Try to get the intonation, make it playful, have fun.

All right, next one: "You would've loved it!"

And finally: "You would've died!"


If you said "laughing", good for you.

I just thought it was funny to make you say one word like that.


Next: "should".

So, first one: "You shouldn't have."

This is when someone does something nice for you, and you want to say thank you, but it

wasn't necessary.


Like, you think: "Oh, you got me like $100 for my birthday.

Well, that's a really big gift.

I wasn't expecting it.

You shouldn't have.

It wasn't necessary."


So when someone does something nice for you, gives something to you and you want to say

thank you, but you want to express that: "Whoa.


It's a lot."


"I don't deserve this.

It's not necessary."

You can say: "Oh, you shouldn't have."


And next: "You should have told me." or "You should have told someone."

If you are mad at your friend or someone in your family because they didn't tell you something

that, you know, you think is important information, you could say: "Why...?

Why didn't you tell me?

You should have told me."


"You should have told me."

Or your friend is in trouble, and their situation gets worse and worse and worse, and they don't

tell anyone about their situation until something really bad happens, you could say: "Oh, you

didn't tell anyone.

You should have told someone."


All right, and finally: "Oh, you should have been there!"

So if you went on a vacation or you went...

You had a really good night with your friends or your family, and you're talking to another

friend who wasn't at the party, wasn't at the vacation...

On vacation.

I say "on vacation", most people say "on vacation" and you want to tell your friend: "I wish

you had been there": "Oh, you should have been there."


"You should have been there.

You would have loved it."


"You should have been there.

You would have loved it."

All right, finally: "will".

Oh, you can...

I erased it with my jacket.


Number one, very easy: "I will let you know."


I'll go through these quickly because they're pretty simple.

"I'll call you back."

Call you back.

Next: "I'll be there."

You're making a promise.

And the last one is the one I'll explain after: "He'll never go for it."

Okay, so when you're having a conversation with a friend and: "I will let you know"...

If your friend asks you to make a decision or wants to know if you can go somewhere with

them, or wants to know if you can do something and you're not sure because maybe you have

to check with your husband or your wife, you can say: "I'll let you know."

You're not sure if you can do it, but you want to tell them: "I promise, I will let

you know".

"I'll call you back."

Very simple.

"I got to go.

I'll call you back."

I will return your phone call.

"I'll be there."


So if you want to confirm your attendance at, like, a party or at any event, really,

where you are invited: "Yeah, I'll be there."


And the last one: "He'll never go for it."

Now, if you want to lie...

If you and your friend, you want to lie to another friend or you want to trick another

friend, or you want to convince another friend of something and you think this person, this

friend will not believe it...


Or that they will not believe your story or you're explanation, say: "No, no, he'll never

go for that.

He'll never go for it."

He'll never believe our story or he'll never believe our reason for wanting him to come

with us, or to do whatever we want to do.

So, I forgot to do the pronunciation for "should" and "will".

I see the cameraperson shaking their head, too.

We won't say his or her name.

You don't know who it is.

All right, "should": "You shouldn't have."

You were supposed to repeat.

Did you repeat?

Just in case, let's do it one more time.

"You shouldn't have.", "You should have told someone.", "You should have been there!"

And next for "will": "I'll let you know.", "I'll call you back.", "I'll be there.", "He'll

never go for it."


So, if you want to test your understanding of all of these fixed modal expressions, beautiful,

fixed modal expressions, you can check out the quiz on

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