Modal auxiliaries and the perfect tenses

English grammar (See all)

Want to improve your English? Test our online English lessons for free!

Modal auxiliaries and the perfect tenses

The Modal Auxiliary + Have + Past Participle type construction (Modal Auxiliary + Perfect) allows us to speak retrospectively about a completed action in the past:
It must have been hot last summer. I imagine that it was probably hot last summer.
He could not have murdered her, since he was in Chicago. It's impossible that he murdered her, because he was in Chicago.
They may have crossed the border by now. They might have already crossed the border by now.
You might have missed a very good opportunity. It's possible that you have missed a very good opportunity.
She needn't have cleaned the entire house. It wasn't necessary for her to have cleaned the entire house.


Still having difficulties with 'Modal auxiliaries and the perfect tenses'? Want to improve your English? Test our online English lessons and receive a free level assessment!


Do you have smart way of remembering this rule? A tip to avoid making a mistake on 'Modal auxiliaries and the perfect tenses'? Share it with us!