Yellow Level

Lesson Twelve:

Perfect Modal Verbs

modal verb + have + past participle

Perfect Modal

could have _____

couldn’t have _____

past ability
doing the dishes
The boy could have done the dishes himself, but his father decided to help.

should have ____

shouldn’t have ____

You did or didn’t do something that was a good idea.
dizzy girl

The girl shouldn’t have spun around so many times. She got dizzy and fell down.

spin: turn around many times.

spin / spun / spun

would have ____

wouldn’t have ____

past condition /

past situation

house of cards
This house of cards would have fallen over if the person who built it hadn’t been so careful.

may have _____

may not have _____

past possibility
old camera
My grandfather may have used this camera when he was a young man, but I’m not sure.

might have ______

might not have _____

past possibility
woman eating
Her mother might have put mustard on her sandwich. She hopes not.

must have ____

must not have ___

past probability.

This indicates that something probably happened in the past.

rock band
They must have practiced a lot because they’re very good musicians.


Let’s not forget…

The Future Perfect Tense

Unlike all the other modals above, will is used for the future:

Subject + will + have + past participle

I will have lived
We will have lived
You will have lived
You will have lived
He will have lived
She will have lived
They will have lived
It will have lived

This is a difficult tense to use. It describes an action that will be completed in the future.

For example:

I moved to Minnesota in 1991. The year now is 2008.

By 2011, I will have lived in Minnesota for 20 years.


Click here for a quiz

Next: Lesson 13