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THE FUNCTIONS OF MODAL AUXILIARIES

IN TIME MAGAZINE ARTICLES


By :
Andi Jaihutan Silitonga, S.S, M.Hum
Senior Lecture of English and Linguistics
Faculty of Letters
University of Darma Agung, Medan

Abstrak
Artikel ini menganalisa empat jenis Modal berdasarkan fungsi. Modal Can dapat
digunakan untuk menunjukkan kemampuan, kemungkinan, ijin, dan permintaan. Modal
Could dapat digunakan untuk menunjukkan kemampuan, kemungkinan, ijin, dan juga
permintaan. Modal May dapat digunakan untuk menunjukkan kemungkinan dan ijin. Modal
Might juga dapat digunakan untuk menunjukkan kemungkinan dan ijin. Modal ini kemudian
dicari penggunaannya pada majalah Time edisi bulan Januari sampai Februari 2007. Hasil
analisa menunjukkkan bahwa Modal dengan fungsi kemungkinan adalah yang paling
dominan digunakan pada majalah Time dalam kurun waktu tersebut (55.39 %). Hasil analisa
juga menunjukkan bahwa Modal May dan Might yang menunjukkan ijin tidak ada
digunakan.
Keywords : Can, Could, May, Might
1. The Background
The magazine is one of the indirect forms of communication that takes information
from all over the world. The topic of a magazine may deal with social problem, law, criminal,
sport, and some others.
To write a report on magazine, the writer usually uses standard language that must be
clear and can be understood by the readers. They use standard language because it is of high
prestige in community.
"The Time Magazine" is an International Magazine that spreads almost all over the
world. It is written in English. In order to be able to understand the topics presented in this
magazine one has to master English language.
If someone wants to master English, one thing that should be known is modal
auxiliaries because they are often used in a sentence. This is one way to master English. In
English, we can find some modal auxiliaries such as: can, could, may, might, shall, should,
will, must, had to, and ought to.
Modal is one term that is difficult to study because of the form of modals and their
various meaning or uses such as: obligation, necessity, ability, permission, request,
possibility, etc.
In this article, the writer chooses the topic "The Functions of Modal Auxiliaries as
Found in the Time Magazine" as the object of his research. To be more specific, he is eager to
find out the function of some modal auxiliaries and meaning or implied in the modals on
which he wants to make a deeper analysis.
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2. The Problem
Based on the background of the research, the writer formulates the problems of this
article as the following:
1. What function of modal auxiliaries are found in the "Time Magazine articles"?
2. What function is dominantly used in the Time Magazine articles?
3. Scope and Limitation
By reading "Time Magazine" the writer discovers something interesting to be
discussed such as about the function of modal auxiliaries as found in the Time magazine
and what function is dominantly use in the Time magazine during the period of January
until February 2007. Before going any further, it is important to know about journalism
language because in general the magazine uses journalism language. Beside it is important
for us to know what are the main characteristics of journalism language and also what are the
functions of modal auxiliaries.
4. The Definition of Journalism Language
Press Journalism is the process of activities to seek, to dive, to collect, to prepare,
and to spread the news through the newspaper, magazine, tabloid etc, to common people in
the world or journalism language is a daily activities related with note book, the report days.
Journalism is an activity that is possible to press or mass media to work and confess well
(Drs. As. Haris Sumadiria, M.Si, 2005:5-6, Journalism : Indonesian book).
According to Indonesian Encyclopedia Journalism is a profession that give
information about the event or daily life using the facilities (Suhandang, 2004:22).
5. The Main Characteristics of Journalism Language
The Main Characteristics of Journalism
Language are: simple, short, solid,
unadorned, clear, pure, interesting, democracy, and using active sentences. As par as possible
avoid the using of technical words of terms and submit to the rule and ethnics of standard
language.
6. The Functions of Modal Auxiliaries
Modal auxiliaries are verbs like words which typically attitude towards the factual
content of an utterance, such as uncertainty, possibility, and necessity (may, could, ought to,
etc). (Crystal , 1992:257).
Scamper (1992:94) states that modal auxiliaries are verbs that express a wide
meanings (ability, permission, possibility, advisability, prohibition, request) and modals have
more than one meaning. Krohn (1990:109) says that the modal auxiliaries do not change their
form for third person singular (she/he).
Wishon and Burks (1980:230) say that when the function only as auxiliaries and do
not change grammatical form in the way verbs do, called modal auxiliaries. Some of them do
function as the past tense form of some of the others. May changes to might, will changes to
would, and can changes to could under the influence of a past tense verb in the main clause of
the sentence or occasionally as with could, under the influence of a past adverbial.

Lamberts (1972: 234) states that auxiliaries in English are not limited to simply one
style. Be, have and do are auxiliaries with precise function. They are among other things fully
inflected. On the other hand, modal auxiliaries like must, can, shall, might, should do not
"show action or state of being", and in general they are completely uninflected. There is no
infinitive " to must or third person singular " George Shalis" or present participle "knighting"
or past participle " we have would. It is said should, would, and might to express past time "of
shall, will, can and may".
Quirk, et al (1985:120) consider that auxiliary or helping verbs are the primary verbs
be, have, and do and the modal verbs are can, may, will, shall, could, might, would, should,
must, had to and ought to. Since they can function only as auxiliaries, the modal verbs will
generally be referred to as modal auxiliaries.
Auxiliary verbs are "helping' verbs that add structural meaning or a semantic coloring
to verbs carrying the full burden of lexical meaning. All auxiliaries share the ability to be
directly followed by not in negatives (Frank, 1972:95-96). He states that modal auxiliaries
generally have no "s" suffix for third person, no infinitive or participle form and they have
only two formal tenses, the present and the past which used with the simple form of the
lexical verb (may offer, might offer), the perfect from (may or might be offering), the perfect
form (may or might have offered), or the passive form (may or might be offered).
Meanwhile Quirk, et. al (1985:219) say that modality may be defined as the manner in
which the meaning of a clause is qualified so as to reflect the speaker's judgment of the like
hood of the proposition it expresses being true. Halliday (1985:86) says that modality is the
possibilities which are not limited to a choice between yes and no and there are intermediate
degrees: various kinds of determinacy that fall in between, like "sometimes' or "maybe' and
these intermediate degrees between positive and negative poles.
As stated in previous page, the writer only focuses his analysis on modal auxiliaries
can, could, may, and might that can be found in the "Time Magazine". So, the rest of modal
auxiliaries will not be explained in detail in this article.
Can, could, shall, should, must, will, would, ought to, may and might are classified as
modal auxiliaries that are often used in the sentences, but the writer just studies a part of
them, they are can, could, may, and might. The writer chooses the modal can could, may and
might because these modals have similarities and differences. They are similar in the
functions to show possibility, permission or request and it can be changed to be able to. The
differences are : modals can and could can be used to show ability, but modals may and
might cannot be used to show possibility, may or might are more formal or polite than can or
could is used to show permission, but might is more formal than may, can or could to show
permission. In request, can or could is most common than may or might. May or might are
rarely used to show request. It is often used to ask permission. Can as the ability, be able to
can be used to change can or could.
From all the theories the writer decides to choose Scamper statement as his analysis
theory. In this case, the writer tries to describe the uses or the meanings of can only. The uses
deal with the sentences (positive, negative, and interrogative).
6.1. The Function of "Can"
6.1.1. Can
Can is probably the most common of the modals. The modal can is used to show
ability, request, possibility, and permission. It can also be used in the affirmative, negative or
interrogative sentences. The past form of can is could.
Hayden et al (1956: 110) states the pattern of can as the followings:
Affirmative: s + can + main verb + object
Example: I can take this book.
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Negative: s + cannot + main verb + object


Example: I cannot take this book.
Interrogative: can + subject + main verb + object
Example: Can I take this book?
According to Wilson and Burks (1980) there are four kinds of meaning of modal can,
they are: to show ability, possibility, permission, and request.
6.1.2 To Show Ability
In this sense, the modal can is followed by the simple form of verb to express ability
in the present tense, for examples:
(1) I can finish this work tomorrow, but I cannot finish it today.
(2) She cannot reach the top shelf of the cupboard.
In sentence (1) can shows the ability and inability, while in sentence (2) can shows
inability because can is followed by not.
Wishon and Burks (1980; 23 1) state that we use can to talk about ability and
the negative of can is cannot (contraction: can't) and it expresses inability. It can also be used
interrogative sentence, for examples:
(3) I can't open this bottle.
(4) Can you go to a party tomorrow morning?
In sentence (3) can shows the inability, while in sentence (4) can shows the ability in
interrogative sentence.
We can use be able to instead of can. It can be used in all the tenses and which been
can be used, for examples:
(5) He'll be able to see you in a few minutes.
(6) She hasn't been able to see that picture yet.
(7) He is able to against the challenges.
In sentences (5) - (7) be able is followed by to infinitive. Be able to in the three sentences
substituted by can.
6.1.3 To Show Request
In this request sense, the modal verb can is followed by the simple form of verb to in
the present.
Wishon and Burks (1980:231) say that modal can be used for request and permission.
It is usual in the interrogative form to express request, for examples:
(8) Can I use the telephone, please?
(9) Can you open the window, please?
(10) Can I have a drink of water, please?
(11) Can you cash this check, please?
In sentence (8) - (11), we can see that can is put in the beginning of the sentences and
is followed by subject. It shows the request or permission (8, 10) or asks someone to do
something (9, 11).
6.1.4 To Show Permission
In this sense, the modal verb can is followed by the simple form of verb to express
permission in the present
Wishon and Burks (1989: 23 1) state that modal can be used for request
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and permission. Here, cannot expresses prohibition, for examples:


(12) You can stay as lonely as you want.
(13) You can play football on Sundays.
(14) Can I sit near the blackboard?
(15) Can I use the telephone, please?
(16) You can not stay as long as you want. (Prohibition)
(17) You can not play football on Sundays.
In sentence (12) and (13) can shows (prohibition) or permission giving, while in
sentence (14) and (15) can shows request or asks for permission and in sentence (16) and (17)
can shows the prohibition. Can is also often used to express permission, especially in
colloquial speech.
6.1.5 To Show Possibility
In this sense, the modal can is followed by the simple form of verb to express
possibility in the present tense.
Wishon and Burks (1980: 23 1) state that modal can express possibility. They cannot
expresses impossibility, for examples:
(18) Something can go wrong.
(19) It can snow in April.
(20) Can this be true?
(21) It can not be true. (Impossibility)
In sentence (20) can shows the possibility that there is still doubt about something,
while in sentence (20) can shows the impossibility because can is followed by 'not'.
6.2. The Function of Could
Can has a present or future significance. The past form is could. The modal could can
be used to show past ability, request past possibility and permission. It can also be used in
affirmative, negative or interrogative sentences.
Hayden et al (1956:110) propose the patterns of modal could as the followings.
Affirmative : subject + could + main verb + object
For example : We could eat a whole cake.
Negative
: subject + could + not + main verb + object
For example : We could not eat a whole cake.
Interrogative : could + subject + main verb + object
For example : Could we eat a whole cake?
According to Wishon and Burks (1980) there are four kinds of meaning of modal
could, they are: to show past ability, possibility, permission, and request.
6.2.1. To Show Past Ability
In this sense, modal could is followed by the simple form of verb to express past
ability in general.
Wishon and Burks (189:63) state that could can be used to say that someone had
ability to do something in the past here could + not expresses inability, for examples:
(22) When he was younger, be could swim under the water for more than a
minute.
(23) He could not come yesterday.
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In sentence (22) could shows the ability in the past, but in sentence (23) could shows
inability in the past because it is followed by 'not'.
Besides, could can be used when we want to say that someone has the ability to do
something and that he/she did it. In a particular situation, we must use was/were able to
(could is not possible) to show the certain ability, for example:
(25) Even though I had hurt my leg. I was able to swim back to the boat.
(not..... I could swim back)
Wishon and Burks (1980:231) state that could +have + a past participle refers to ability that
for some reason was not used. For examples:
(26) I could have passed, but I did not study.
(27) He could have joined us, but he did not get our invitation in time.
In sentence (26) and (27) could is followed by have and past participle to show the ability in
the past.
6.2.2. To Show Request
In this sense could can be followed by the simple form of verb to express request.
Tracey (1989:166) says that modal could can be used for a request. It is more
persuasive than modal can. To show request, could is more formal than can. It is usual in
interrogative form to express request, for examples:
(28) Could you open the window, please?
(29) Could you lend me your money for one week?
(30) Could I turn in my paper tomorrow?
(31) Could I borrow your car?
(32) Could you cash this check, please?
In sentence (30) - (32) could shows the request. Could is put in the beginning of the
sentences to show the request. Could is more formal or more polite than can, even in the
sentences do not use 'please'.
6.2.3. To Show Permission
In this sense, the modal could is followed by the simple form of verb to express
permission.
Digby (1989:65) says that could is less direct and more polite than can. Here, may is
more formal (and some people think it is more correct) than can or could, but can and could
are more common, for examples:
(33) You could have an appointment tomorrow.
(34) Could I leave the room?
(35) He could work tomorrow
In sentences (33) and (35) could shows permission or permission giving to someone,
while in sentence (34) could asks for permission to someone.
6.2.4. To Show the Past Possibility
In this sense, the modal could is followed by simple form of verb to express past
possibility, for examples:
(36) She could be still at the station.
(37) Something could go wrong
(3 8) it could be rain.

In sentence (36) - (38) could shows the possibility in the past. The event had
happened, but it is still in doubt. In sentence (36) it means that it is possible that she is still at
the station. In sentence (37) it means that it is possible that something go wrong, and in
sentence (38) it means that it is possible that it is rain.
6.3. The Function of "May"
6.3.1. May
The modal may can be used to show permission and possibility. It has a past form that
is might. It can be used in negative and interrogative sentences.
Hayden et al (1956:113) propose the patterns of modal may as the followings:
Affirmative : subject + may + main verb + object
For example : You may go now.
Negative
: subject + may + not + main verb + object
For example : You may not go now.
Interrogative : may + subject + main verb + object, for example: May I go now?
According to Wishon and Burks (1980) there are two kinds of meanings of modal
may, they are: to show possibility and permission.
6.3.2. To Show Possibility
Hall (1992:197) states that may expresses possibility. It is also used for permission in
formal usage. It refers to present or future time. In this sense, the modal may is followed by
the simple form of verb to express possibility. Here, may + not expresses lack of possibility,
for examples:
(39) It may rain, according to the weather report.
(41) You may get a train set for your birthday.
(42) I may not go after all. (lack of possibility)
(43) The report may not be true. (lack of possibility)
In sentence (39) and (40) may shows the possibility, while in sentence (41) and (42)
may shows the lack of possibility because it is followed by 'not' .
6.3.3. To Show Permission
Hall (1992:197) states that the modal may express possibility. It is also used for
permission in formal usage. It refers to present or future time. In this sense, modal may is
followed by the simple form of verb to express permission.
Wishon and Burks (1980: 232) say "may also express permission. It is more formal
and polite than can and could. May can be used in requesting permission, although may and
can are used interchangeably in making requests here are some people who consider can is
unacceptable. Meanwhile, Tracey (1989:163) states that modal may is used to ask for
permission. Here, may + not expresses that permission is not given, for examples:
(44) May I smoke in your class?
(45) May I use your telephone, please?
(46) May I speak Mr. Law?
(47) You may not leave now.
(48) You may come back at 5. 30.

In sentence (44) - (46) may shows permission or ask for permission, while in sentence
(47) may shows prohibition or permission is not given because it is followed by 'not' and
sentence (48) may shows permission or permission giving.
6.4. The Function of Might
The modal might can be used to show permission and possibility. Might is the past
form of may. It can also be used in negative and interrogative form. Hayden, et. al (1956:113)
propose the patterns of modal might as the followings:
Affirmative: subject + might + main verb + object
For example: He might tell his wife.
Negative: subject + might + not + main verb + object
For example: He might not tell his wife.
Interrogative: might + subject + main verb + object
For example: Might he tells his wife?
According to Wishon and Burks (1980) there are two kinds of meaning of modal
might, they are: to show past possibility and permission.
6.4.1. To Show Permission
In this sense, the modal might is followed by the simple form of verb to express
permission.
Wishon and Burks (1980:232) state that might is used to ask permission. It is more
formal and more polite than may, can, or could, for examples:
(49) Might I be excuse early?
(50) Might I borrow your money, please?
(51) You might come whenever you want.
In sentence (49) and (50) might shows permission or asks for permission, while in
sentence (5 1) might shows the permission or permission giving.
6.4.2. To Show Possibility
In this sense, the modal might is followed by the simple form of verb to express
possibility.
Wishon and Burks (1980: 232) state that might express possibility which is
considerably slighter or weaker than expressed by may. Here, might + not expresses lack of
possibility, for examples:
(52) I might accompany you, but it does not appear very likely.
(53) It might snow in October, you can never be sure.
(54) They might not be able to come.
(55) I might not accompany you.
In sentence (52) and (53) might shows possibility, while in sentence (54) and (55)
might shows lack of possibility because it is followed by 'not'.
Might is used to express possibility in reported speech or in other direct object noun
clauses when the verb in the clause is in the past tense. Hall (1992: 197) says that might is
also used for possibility in the present or future. Generally, the possibility when might is used
is weaker than when may is used. With might there is often a strong implication of doubt that
the action will take place especially when the auxiliary is stressed, for examples:
(56) The newspaper said it might rain tomorrow.
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(57) We thought that the new director might like to change the book.
(58) It might rain, but I do not think it will.
In sentence (56) - (58) might shows doubtful possibility.
Wishon and Burks (1980:232) state that the compound or perfect form of might (might +
have + a past participle) expresses past possibility or speculation, for examples:
(59) We did not speak to him; he might have become angry.
(60) You might have been hurt. (passive form)
(61) Dany might have said that.
In sentence (59) and (61) might shows past possibility and it is followed by past participle,
while in sentence (60) might shows the past possibility even though it is in passive form.
6.5. The Function of Will
6.5.1. Will
The modal will can be used to show agreement and request. It has the past form
would. It can be used in negative and interrogative sentence (Wishon and Burks, 1980; 234)
propose the pattern of modal will as the followings.
Affirmative : Subject + will + main verb + object
For example : I will do it for you tomorrow
Negative
: Subject + will + not + main verb + object
For example : I will not do it for you tomorrow
Interrogative : Will + subject + main verb + object
For example : Will I do it for you tomorrow
According to Wishon and Burks (1980) there are two of function of modal will, they
are: to show agreement and request.
6.5.1.1. To Show Agreement
In this sense, the modal will is followed by simple form of verb to express agreement,
for example:
(61) I will do whatever you think best
(62) I will act in the play if you will
Except to show agreement the modal will also can be used to express strong
determination and express refusal. For example :
(63) I will pass this course
(64) My uncle will not be there tonight (Simple future negative)
(65) They think I will accept the decision, but I wont
6.5.1.2. To Show Request
In this sense the modal will is followed by the simple form of verb to in the present.
Thomson and Martinet (1968:138) say that modal will can be used for request. For examples:
(66) Will you type this, please?
(67) Will you give him this letter?
(68) Will you come to tea tomorrow?
In sentence (66-68) we can see that will is put in the beginning of the sentences and
it is followed by subject. It shows the request or ask someone to do something.
6.6. The Function of Would

Will has a present or future significance. The past form is would. The modal would
can be used to show request and permission. It can be used in negative and interrogative
sentence.
Thomson and Martinet (1968: 140) propose the pattern of modal would as the
following.
Affirmative : Subject + would + main verb + object
For example : I would like to see Mr. Bean
Negative
: Subject + would + not + main verb + object
For example : I would not like to see Mr. Bean
Interrogative : Would + subject + not + main verb + object
For example : Would I like to see Mr. Bean
According to Betty (1993:7) there are two kinds of function of modal would, they are
to show request and permission.
6.6.1. To Show Request
Thomson and Martinet (1968: 140) states that would express polite request. It is also
used for past equivalent of will when will is used for ordinary future and to express intention.
For examples:
(69) He knows he will be late become
He knew he would be late
(70) I said I will help him become
I said that I would help him
(71) He said I won't lend you a penny become
He said that he wouldn't lend me a penny
In sentence (69) we can see that would is express to the past equivalent of will when
will is used for ordinary future. While (70) and (71) would is similarly is the past equivalent
of will used to express intention
(72) Would you please let me know about this as soon possible?
(73) Would you mind waiting a moment, please?
Both this sentences we can see that it is show the polite request.
6.6.2. To Show Permission
Betty (1993:71) states that modal would express asking permission which use would
you mind If I is followed by the simple past.
For example :
(74) Would you mind If I closed the window?
(75) Would you mind If I used the phone?
It is sentences we can responses by no, not at all, no, of course not, no, that would be
fine or "unh-unh". It shows that we not agree with his/her asking permission.
Except to show permission would also can used to asking some one else to do
something. For example:
(76) Would you mind closing the window
(77) Excuse me? Would you mind repeating that?
In this sentence would you mind is followed by-ing (a gerund) and we can responses
by: no, I'd be happy to, not at all, I'd be glad to, if we not agree with his/her asking.
6.7. The Function of "Shall
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6.7.1. Shall
The modal shall can be used to express a request for agreement or offer to do some
thing for someone, to express future action, it can also be used in negative and interrogative
sentence (Wishon and Burks 1980;233) propose the pattern of modal shall as the followings :
Affirmative : Subject + shall + main verb + object
For example : I shall answer the telephone for you
Negative
: Subject + shall + not + main verb + object
For example : I shall not answer the telephone for you
Interrogative : Shall + subject + main verb + object
For example : Shall I answer the telephone for you
Others examples:
(78) Shall I go now and comeback letter?
(79) Shall I give you a present in your birthday?
(80) I shall leave for Spain tomorrow
(81) We shall return in September
In sentence (78) and (79) shall express a request for agreement while (80) and (81)
shall express future action.
According to Thomson and Martinet (1968: 231) shall can be used to express request
for orders or advise, offers, suggestion for examples:
(82) How shall I cook it?
(83) Which one shall I buy?
(84) Shall I wait for you?
(85) Shall we meet at the theatre
In sentence (82) shall express the request in sentence (83) shall express advice,
sentence (84) shall express offers and in sentence (85) shall express suggestion.
6.8. The Function of Should
The modal should can be used to express duty and to indicate a correct or sensible
action. Should is past form of shall. It can also be used in negative and interrogative sentence
(Thomson and Martinet, 1968: 143) propose the patterns of modal should as the followings:
Affirmative : Subject + should + main verb + object
For example : You should go today
Negative
: Subject + should + not + main verb + object
For example : You should not (shouldn't) go today
Interrogative : Should + subject + main verb + object
For example : Should you go today?
Others examples :
(86) You should pay your debts (duty)
(87) You shouldn't pay tell lies (duty)
(88) Shop should remain open till later in the evening (sensible action)
(89) You've spelt it wrong. There should be another's (correct action).
According to Betty (1992:105) the function of should is to express advice and
suggestion. Thomson and Martinet (1968: 231) say that shall can be used to express request,
for orders, or advise, offers, suggestions. For examples:
(90) My clothes are dirty. I should wash them.
(91) You should have talked to your teacher and gotten some help from her during the
term.
6.9. The Function of "Must"
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6.9.1. Must
The modal must can be used to show obligation. The form must is used for all person
in present and future tense. The negative is must not (mustn't) and interrogative is must I,
must you? etc. Must use no infinitive and no past tense. It is followed by the infinitive
without to. Thomson and Martinet propose the patterns of modal must as the followings.
(Thomson and Martinet, 1968:83)
Affirmative : Subject + must + main verb + object
For example : You must go now
Negative
: Subject + must + not + main verb + object
For example : You must not go now
Interrogative : Must + subject + main verb + object
For example : Must you go now?
Others examples
(92) You must tell the truth
(93) You must visit the national gallery now
According to Betty (1993:75) must express the necessity. It is also can be used to
express prohibition.
For examples:
(94) All applicants must take an entrance exam.
(95) I must talk to her right away
(96) You must not play with matches
(97) You must not use that door
In sentence (94) and (95) must show the necessity, while in sentence (96) and (97) the
modal must express prohibition.
Wren and Martin (1990:14) states that the modal must express necessity or obligation
and fixed determination. For example:
(98) We must obey the laws
(99) One must work or starve
(100) I must have my way in this matter
(101) He must be seventy now
In sentence (98) and (99) the modal must express obligation while (100) and (101)
must express fixed determination.
7.0. Ought / Ought to
The modal ought to have no infinitive and no inflexions. It is used for all person,
ought can be used as a present, past, and future and is followed by the infinitive with to. The
negative is ought not (oughtn't) and interrogative ought I? (Thomson and Martinet 1968:
151). Thomson and Martinet propose the patterns of ought as the followings:
Affirmative : Subject + ought + to + main verb + object
For example : They ought to do it tomorrow
Negative
: Subject + ought + not + main verb + object
For example : They ought not to do it tomorrow
Interrogative : Ought + subject + main verb + object
For example : Ought they to do it tomorrow?
Betty (1993:78) states that ought to and should have same meaning, they express
advisability. The meaning ranges in strength from a suggestion and ought to usually use in
present and future time.
For examples :
(102) You ought to study more
12

(103) The students ought to be reading by now


According to (Wishon and Burks 1980:236) states that ought to can be used to express
desirability, avoidable obligation, or duty. Actually ought to have same meaning with should.
It is relates to present of future time.
For examples:
(104) You ought to study harder
(105) Drivers ought to obey the speed limit
7.1. The Function of "Dare"
7.1.1. Dare
The auxiliary dare same as brave enough to, as distinct from the ordinary verb dare. It
is generally used in negative and interrogative sentences. When conjugated without do, it is
followed by an infinitive without to when conjugated with do, it takes an infinitive with or
without to after it.
For examples :
(106) He dare not takes such a step?
(107) How dare you contradict me?
(108) He dare not do it
(109) He doesn't dare to speak to me
7.2. The Function of Need
The auxiliary need, denoting necessity or obligation, can be conjugated with or
without do. When conjugated without do, it has no-s and -ed forms and is used with an
infinitive without to only in negative and interrogative sentences and in sentences that contain
semi negative words like scarcely, and 'hardly'. Wren and Martin (1990:115)
For examples :
(110) Do you need to go now?
(111) I don't need to meet him
(112) One needs to be careful
7.3. The Function of Used
The auxiliary used (to) express a discontinued habit. Strictly speaking, used (to) is an
anomalous verb in colloquial English, however. Did you, used to, and did not used to usually
replace used to, and used not. Wren and Martin (1990:115)
For examples :
(113) There used to be house there
(114) I used to live there when I was a boy
According to Thomson and Martinet (1968:91) who state that used is the past tense of
a defective verb which has no present tense. It has the same from for all person. The
affirmative is used. The negative is used not (usedn't) and interrogative is usedn't you:
For examples :
(115) His hair used to be black, but it's white now
(116) I usedn't it now
(117) Usedn't she to be a concert pianist?

13

7. THE FUNCTIONS OF MODAL AUXILIARIES IN TIME MAGAZINE ARTICLES


In this chapter the writer discusses the function of modals can, could, may, and might
as found in the articles. All the collected data are analyzed to find out the function of modals
can, could, may, and might in the articles.
Based on the data, there are 139 data of modal can, could, may, and might found,
there are, modal, can (62 data) indicating ability (23 data), possibility (19 data) permission (8
data), and request (2 data) ; Modal could (38 data), indicating past ability (19 data) possibility
(19 data), permission (0 data), and request (0 data); modal may ( 23 data), indicating
possibility (23 data), permission (0 data) ; might (16 data) indicating possibility (16 data) and
permission no data. But, due to the limited time and knowledge of the writer, the writer just
discusses 35 data clearly and other data can be seen in appendix.
To analyze the data, the writer first classifies the sentences based on the function of
modal can, could, may and might available in each italic sentence presented here. Then, from
the analysis it can be seen what are the function of modal, can, could, may and might as
found in time magazine article and also what function is dominantly used in time magazine
article.
7.1 Modal Can
7.1.1 To show ability
The number of modal can as found in the article of Time magazine is 62 data, but
only 33 data indicate ability. See the Data (1)-(5):
Data (1) : It is in this context that U.S. officials argue over whos a friend, whos an
enemy and how can tell them a part.
Basically, the data above uses modal can in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of the modal can in data (1) is ability. Here, it is in this context that U.S. officials
argue over whos a friend, whos an enemy and how can tell then a part. It means that U.S.
officials must be able to compare whos a friend and whos a friend and whos an enemy.
Data (2) : You cant separate narcotics from security, from governance.
Basically the data above uses modal can in negative data. We may know the function
of modal can in data (2) is ability. Here you can separate narcotics from security, from
governance. It means that the first person talk to the second man that the second man not
able to take or loosing narcotics from security, from governance. Or the people dont have
any ability to keep the narcotics away from the security and the governance.
Data (3) : The president absolutely believes this can be done through diplomacy.
Basically, the data above uses modal can in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal can in data (3) is ability. Here, the president absolutely believes this can
be done through diplomacy. It means that the president believes that he has ability to finish
case through diplomacy.
Data (4) : He can neither defend nor explain

14

Basically, the data above uses modal can in negative form. We may know that the
function of modal can in data (4) is ability. Here, He can neither defend nor explain. It
means the man isnt able to do anything or he isnt able to make resistance to give
explanation.
Data (5) : Even so, there's only so much that can be learned
Basically, the data above uses modal can in affirmative from. We may know that the
function of modal can in data's is "ability" here, even so, there's only so much that can be
learned. It means there's many things that be able to learn.
The five data given above have the same function and other data that have the same
functions can be seen in appendix.
7.1.2. To Show Possibility
The number of modal can as found in the article of Time Magazine is 62 data, but
only 19 data indicate possibility. See the Data (6) (10):
Data (6) : The more money the traffickers make, the more they can give to Taliban.
Basically, data above uses modal can. It is in affirmative form. We make know the
function of modal can in data (6) is possibility. Here, the more money the traffickers make,
the more they can buy and the more dangerous the insurgency becomes. It means that if the
traffickers make more money, they may give more to Taliban.
Data (7) : He has three laptops full of music in his living room but cant work I- tunes
on any them.
Basically, the data above uses modal can negative form. We may know that the
function of modal can in data (7) is possibility. Here, He has three laptops full of music in
his living room but cant work I-tunes on any of them. It means that the three laptops may be
no have complete facilities or none of the three laptops was broken. So cant work I-tunes on
any of them to work I-tunes.
Data (8) : Rubin was worried that he might have to tinker more than unusual with
some of the songs in the singers absence but after listening to the material
again, he decide he was wrong. I dont think Ill need to do much. I mean
how much can I really improve Johnny cash?.
Basically, the data above uses modal can in interrogative form. We may know the
function of modal can in data (8) is possibility. Here, how much can I really improve
Johnny cash? It means that the questioner asks Johnny cash about the possibility improve
with Johnny cash.
Data (9) : This is not to say the hipster writers are bad parents or writers ; their work
can be wise and moving.
Basically, the data above uses modal can in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal can in data (9) is possibility. Here, this is not to say the hipster writers
are bad parents or writers ; their work can be wise and moving. It means that not all of the

15

hipster writers are bad parents or writes but its possible that in any time they will change to
be wiser and make a movement in their work.
Data (10) : Moms and dads can be unique, creative, individual after they have kids.
Basically, the data above uses modal can in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal can in data (10) is possibility. Here, moms dads can be unique, creative
individual after they have kids. It means after the couple has kids, they may be have more
unique, creativities and individuals. That not all of the hipster writers are bad parents or
writes but its possible that in. The five data given above have the same function and data that
have the same function can be seen in appendix.
7.1.3. To Show Permission
The number of modal can as found in article of Time magazine is 62 data, but only 8
data indicate permission. See the data (11) (15):
Data (11) : It makes one wonder when the leadership of the church will wake up and
allow priests to Marry, 50 they can enjoy life with a companion as God
and nature intend.
Basically, the data above uses modal can in positive form. We may know that the
function of modal can in data (11) is permission. Here, it make one wonder when the
leadership of the church will wake up and allow priests to Marry, so they can enjoy life with a
companion as God and nature intend. It means that if the leadership of church gives the
permission to Marry and they can enjoy their life whit their companion so that case will be
call a wonder or curiosity.
Data (12) : You can now access that document securely from any P.C. on Bizhubs
network.
Basically, the data above uses modal can in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal can in data (12) is permission. Here, you can new access that document
securely from any P.C. on Bizhubs network. It means that now days they given allowance
time to access the document securely from any P. C. in all of Bizhubs network.
Data (13) : If this counsel or he wishes pursue any option, they can contact us.
Basically, the data above uses modal can in affirmative form. We may that the
function of modal can in data (13) is permission. Here, if his counsel or he wish to pursue
any option, they can contact us. It means that the person and his counsel is allowed to give
information if they decide to pursue any option.
Data (14) : You can almost hear him pleading to his bosses at ABC network.
Basically, the data above uses modal can in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal can in data (14) is permission. Here, you can almost hear him pleading
to his bosses at ABC network. It means allowance to hear some ones plea to his bosses at
ABC network.
Data (15) : You can help
16

Basically, the data above uses modal can in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal can in data (15) is permission. Here, you can help. It means that you
allowed to help someone.
The five data given above have the same function and data that have the same
function can be seen in appendix.
7.1.4. To show request
The number of modal can as found in the article of time is 62 data but only 2 data
indicate request. See the data (16) (17):
Data (16) : In cyberspace and on newsstands, writers are out to prove that parenting or
at least parents, can be cool
Basically, the data above uses modal can in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal can in data (16) is request. Here, in cyberspace and on newsstands,
writers are out to prove that parenting or at least parents, can be cool. It means that the
writers ask not to prove if the parenting or at least parents are able to be cool.
Data (17) : Can I stop now?
Basically, the data above uses modal can in question form. We may know that the
function of modal can in data (17) is request here, can I stop now? It means that a person
ask someone if he may stop from his work.
7.2 Modal Could
7.2.1 To Show Ability
The number of modal could as found in the article of Time Magazine is 38 data but
only 19 data indicate ability. See the data (18)-(21)
Data (18) : He had been invited to Manhattan to prove that he could be of value in
America's war on terrorism.
Basically, the data above uses modal could in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal could in data (18) is "ability". Here, he had been invited to Manhattan to
prove that he could be of value in America on terrorism. It means that he was asked by
American to Manhattan because America believe that he able to give the opinion and value
toward America's in terrorism.
Data (19) : Noorzai clearly thought he could offer all that.
Basically, the data above uses modal could in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal could in data (19) is "ability". Here, Noorzai clearly thought he could offer
all that. It means that Noorzai has the ability to offer all that. It means that Noorzai has
ability to offer all that.
Data (20) : He could have provided a stabilizing role in the south.

17

Basically, the data above uses modal could in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal could in data (20) is "ability". Here, He could have provided a stabilizing
role in the south. It means he able to provide the stabilizing role in the south.
Data (21) : She is the only who could reasonable expect to have a political future
beyond 2008.
Basically, the data above uses modal could in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal could in data (21) is "ability". Here, She is the only who could reasonable
expect to have a political future beyond 2008. It means that the society believe she able to
expect to have a political in the future beyond 2008
7.2.2 To Show Possibility.
The number of modal could as found in the article of Time Magazine is 38 data but
only 19 data indicate possibility. See the data (22)-(25).
Data (22) : But could it be that senior officials in Washington were still debating
whether Noorzai was an intelligence asset worth preserving?
Basically, the data above uses modal could in interrogative form. We may know that
the function of modal could in data (22) is possibility. Here, but could it be that senior
officials in Washington were still debating whether Noorzai was an intelligence asset worth
preserving? It means that Noorzai's ability to asset worth preserve still debating in
Washington.
Data (23) : Brian then told Noorzai if he didn't want to go to U.S the meeting could
take place in Dubai or Pakistan.
Basically, the data above uses modal could in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal could in data (23) is "possibility". Here, Brian then told Noorzai if he
didn't want to go to US the meeting could take place in Dubai or Pakistan It means that the
meeting is uncertain to the place if Noorzai didn't go to the US it will be had in Dubai or
Pakistan
Data (24) : Firm is filled with models of products that could built.
Basically, the data above uses modal could in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal could in data (24) is "possibility". Here, Firm is filled with models of
products that could built. It means that firm is filled with the various of product can be
improve.
Data (25) : Imagine electronics so cheap you could put them in disposable packing.
Basically, the data above uses modal could in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal could in (25) is "possibility". Here, Imagine electronics so cheap you could
put them in disposable packing. It means that the electronics are very cheap so you may be
put them out
The five data given above have the same function and other data that have the same
function can be seen in appendix.

18

7.3 Modal May


7.3.1. To Show Possibility
The number of modal may as found in the articles of the Magazine is 23 data and all
of these data are indicating possibility. See the data (26)-(30).
Data (26) : That may be true, but if anyone in London cares, theyre keeping mighty
quite
Basically, the data above uses modal may in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal may in data (26) is possibility. Here, that may be true, but if anyone in
London cares, theyre keeping mighty quite. It means that the case true if Londons people
keep quiet in their place.
Data (27) : Although both bush and Rice Deny they any hostile intent, there is anxiety
in some foreign-policy circles that even as it struggles to avoid losing one
war in Iraq, the administration may provoke another one across the border
in Iran.
Basically, the data above uses modal may in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal may in data (27) is possibility. Here, although both bush and rice Deny
they have any hostile intent, there is anxiety in some foreign-policy circles that even as it
struggles to avoid losing one war in Iraq, the administration may provoke another one across
the border in Iran. It means that the administration is possible as provoke to across the
border in Iran.
Data (28) : That may be starting for change.
Basically, the data above uses modal may in affirmative form we may know that the
function of modal may in data (28) is possibility. Here, that may be starting for change. It
means that may be starting to change. It mans there are some signs that make it is possible to
make a change.
Data (29) : He may not have appreciated the poetic justice any more then the legal
justice on display in the Libby verdict.
Basically, the data above uses modal may in affirmative form we may know that the
function of modal may in data (29) is possibility. Here, He may not have appreciated the
poetic justice any more then the legal justice on display in the Libby verdict. It means that on
display in Libby verdict he isnt possible to give appreciation to the poetic justice more than
the legal justice.
Data (30) : Even if Noorzai wasnt fully reliable, it is fair to ask why his offer wasnt
taken-up Washington may have scored a public victory in the war on
drugs with his arrest.
Basically, the data above uses modal may in affirmative form. We may know that the
function of modal may in data (30) is possibility. Here, even if Noorzai wasnt fully
reliable, it is fair to ask why his offer wasnt taken-up Washington my have scored a public
victory in the war on drugs with his arrest. It means that Washington possible natural to
receive scored as public victory n the war on drugs with they arrest.
19

The 5 data given above have the same function and other data that have same function
can be seen in appendix
7.4. Might
7.4.1 To show possibility.
The number of modal might as found in articles of "Time magazine" is 16 data all of
these data are indicating possibility. See the data (31)-(35).
Data (31) : To provide information on individuals who might be helping to steer
money to be Taliban and Al- Qaeda.
Basically, the data above uses modal might in affirmative form we may know that the
function of modal might in data (31) is possibility. Here To provide information on
individuals who might be helping to steer money to be Taliban and Al- Qaeda. It means that
the information given to do the individuals is possible to steer money for them to be Taliban
and Al-Qaeda.
Data (32) : He might not have been so ready to hop on a plane.
Basically, the data above uses modal might in affirmative form we may know that the
function of modal might in data (32) is possibility. Here, He might not have been so ready
to hop on a plane. It means , she/he not yet able to ply in to plane.
Data (33) : The police to investigate reports that labour party sources might be
offering honors.
Basically, the data above uses modal might in affirmative form we may know that the
function of modal might in sentence (33) is possibility. Here, The police to investigate
reports that labour party sources might be offering honors. It means the governments ask
police to make the report from labour party which give the respect may be.
Data (34) : There's strong link being made in the media by people who feel Iraq is still
unfinished business and that this might be next big thing.
Basically, the data above uses modal might in affirmative form we may know that the
function of modal might in sentence (34) is possibility. Here, There's strong link being
made in the media by people who feel Iraq is still unfinished business and that this might be
next big thing. It means the strong link probably become the big thing in the future.
Data (35) : He might be able to implicate major figures in Afghanistan.
Basically, the data above uses modal might in affirmative form we may know that the
function of modal might in data (35) is possibility. Here, He might be able to implicate
major figures in Afghanistan. It means ,some one may have ability to make his self as the
major figures in Afghanistan.
The 5 data given above have the same function and other data that have same function
can be seen in appendix
There are 139 data in the Time Magazine, 62 data belong to modal can, 38 data
belong to modal could, 23 data belong to modal may, and 16 data belong to modal might.

20

Based on the number above the percentage of modal can , could , may and might are as the
following:
62
a. modal can 139 x 100 % 45%
38
b. modal could 139 x 100 % 27%
23
c. modal may 139 x 100 % 17%
16
d. modal might 139 x 100 % 11%
The variation function of can, could, may, and might.
can
ability
33 data
possibility
19 data
permission
8 data
request
2 data
could
ability
19 data
possibility
19 data
permission
0 data
request
0 data
may
possibility
23 data
permission
0 data
might
possibility
16 data
permission
0 data
Total
139 data
So from the variation function of can, could, may and might in the Time Magazine
articles, We can seen what function is dominantly used in the Time Magazine articles.
There are 139 data can be found in Time Magazine articles indicate 52 data are
functions of ability, 77 data are functions of possibility, 8 data are functions of permission,
and 2 data are functions of request. So from the data analysis, It can be seen that the
dominantly function of modal used in the Time Magazine articles is The Function of
Possibility.
Based on the number above, the percentage function of ability, possibility, permission
and request are as the following:
55
a) Abilitys function 139 x 100 % 39,56%
77
b) Possibilitys function 139 x 100 % 55,39%
8
c) Permissions function 139 x 100 % 5,75%
2
d) Requests function 139 x 100 % 1,43%

8. Conclusions
Having analyzed data, the writer tries to draw some conclusion. The first conclusion is
that there are four modals that analyzed according to their function. Modal can, can be used
as ability, possibility, permission, and request. Modal could, can be used as ability,
21

possibility, permission, and request. Modal may, can be used as possibility and permission.
Modal might, can be used as past possibility and permission.
The second, there are 139 data that can be found. 52 data indicating ability function,
77 data indicating possibility function, 8 data indicating permission function, and 2 data
indicating request function.
The third is that the function of possibility is dominantly used in Time Magazine
articles can be shown by 77 data (55.39 %).
The fourth is that the modal may and might which can be used to show permission in
Time Magazine articles can not be found.
The fifth the function of ability by 55 data (39.56 %), possibility by 77 data (55.39%),
permission by 8 data (5.75%), and finally request by 2 data (1.43%).

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