Most Important Grammar in Canadaadmin2019-04-04T21:38:50+00:00
THE MOST IMPORTANT GRAMMAR IN CANADA
Modal Verbs are truly the most important grammar in Canada. Why? Because people in Canada use them to soundpolite!
Many new immigrants make a mistake of thinking that it’s enough to use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to be perceived as polite. That is not the case. Compare:
‘Sit down, please.’
‘Would you like to sit down?’
Which one is polite? The second one is. The first one is an order because it uses imperative form of the verb and is actually rude.
Learning to correctly use modal verbs (would, could, might, etc.) will help you to find a better job in Canada and build good relationships with your co-workers and management. People will feel that you respect them and they will respect you in return.
3 modal verbs to help you sound polite in Canada: WOULD, COULD and MIGHT
To OFFER something to somebody:
Would you like something to drink?
Would you like to sit down?
To ASK somebody for something:
Could you pass me the napkins please?
Could you speak a bit louder?
To SUGGEST a possibility:
We could reschedule the meeting for 3pm.
We could go there together if you’d like.
To REFUSE something politely:
I’d like to attend but I will be out of town on Saturday. (I would like to but…)
I’d like to join you but I have 3 more emails to write.
To say you are NOT SURE:
I might come by later.
I might see him on Tuesday.
Other modal verbs
‘May’ is considered a very formal verb in Canada. It is mostly used by customer service people in the sentence “How may I help you?” Canadians usually substitute ‘may’ with ‘might’ if they want to say they are not sure. For example: ‘It might rain today.’
‘Should’ is a strong verb and it is mostly used to give strong advice (strong means pushy, so be careful how you use this verb)
For example: “You’ve had this headache for four days?! You should go see a doctor.”
‘Must’ is a very strong verb. It is used for rules, orders and instructions. This is not a ‘polite’ verb.
For example: “You must wear a seat belt while driving.”
Special Case: the verb HAVE TO
People in Canada often use ‘have to’ to excuse themselves when they are saying good bye.
‘Sorry, I have togo – I have a bus to catch.’
‘I really enjoyed the party but I have to go – it’s getting late.”
‘Unfortunately I have to go now – I have a meeting at 4pm.’
The difference between ‘CAN’ and ‘COULD’
Many immigrants use the verb ‘can’ because it’s easy or because they are translating from their first language. It’s important to understand that ‘could’ is more polite than ‘can’.