English Grammar Exercises for B2 – Past modals

1. Choose the correct options (a-c) to complete the sentences.

1   I can’t get this tablet to work; I _________ read the instructions properly.

a oughtn’t to have   

b can’t have                 

 c  shouldn’t have

2   I ordered the DVD a week ago so it _________ arrived here by now.

a should have           

b could have               

 c  may have

3   I can’t find phone anywhere. I _________ left in at school

a should have           

b may have    

   c   ought to have

4   Julie’s not at home. She _________ decided to go out after all.

a was supposed to have       

b must have              

 c   ought to have

5   You _________ promised to help Ed if you didn’t have time.

a mustn’t have         

b couldn’t have        

 c shouldn’t have

6   You _________ told me you’d eaten all the biscuits! I’d have got some more.

a may have                

b must have                 

  c  might have

Show answers

1 b   2 a   3 b   4 b   5 c   6 c

2. Complete the sentences with up to five words, including the words in brackets.

Someone ____________ (might / told / me) there was a hole in jumper!

Sandra ____________ (supposed / be / here) by now. I wonder where she is.

You ____________ (ought / have / gone) swimming if you have a cold.

Wendy didn’t look very happy when I saw her; she ____________ (could / worried / about) going to the dentist.

The fridge is empty; Mum ____________ (can’t / been / the) shops yet.

Last night ____________ (must / been / cold) – the lake’s frozen.

Show answers

1 might have told me  

2 is / was supposed to be here

oughtn’t / ought not to have gone  

4 could have been / could be worried about

5 can’t have gone to the

must have been (very) cold

3. Complete the email with the correct form of the verbs below.

To: artur@email.com

Hi Artur

Well, we’re still enjoying our trip to England. We’re staying in a great city – but someone 1 _____. told us that there was going to be a festival here yesterday! Perhaps we 2 _____. realised something was happening, because a lot of the hotels were full. The festival was great! According to the local paper, this 3 _____. been the biggest crowd they’d ever had. The streets were packed. I reckon there 4 _____. been about 30,000 people there. There was a fancy dress parade, too; if we’d known, we 5 _____. got dressed up. Mind you, some of the people 6 _____. been very comfortable as some of the costumes looked really hot! I bought you a souvenir. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.

Lena

Show answers

1 could have   2 should have   3 may have

4 must have   5 could have   6 can’t have

4. Complete the sentences with needn’t have or didn’t need to and the verb in brackets. In which sentences are both modals possible?

I managed to mend sunglasses so luckily

 I ________. (get) a new pair.

It was sunny so we ________. (take) an umbrella.

We ________. (catch) a cab as mum gave us a lift.

Alison ________. (buy) a ticket – I had a spare one.

I ________. (worry) about the test – when I saw the paper I realised I knew all the answers.

You ________. (walk) the dog; we walked it this morning.

Show answers

1 didn’t need to get  

2 didn’t need to take / needn’t have taken

3 didn’t need to catch

didn’t need to buy / needn’t have bought

5 needn’t have worried

6 needn’t have walked / didn’t need to walk

5. Complete the sentences with the words in the box.

could      didn’t need to      needn’t      ought not to      was supposed to

You ________. have reminded me to do the homework – I did it last night.

Tanya ________. be here half an hour ago. Where is she?

We ________. have told Jenny about Luca’s party. He didn’t want her to know about it.

Someone ________. have warned me that the band’s new album was so awful!

They knew the way so they ________. ask for directions.

Show answers

1 needn’t   2 was supposed to   3 ought not to

4 could   5 didn’t need to

6. Rewrite the sentences using the words in brackets.

Lunch was provided so it wasn’t necessary for them to take sandwiches. (need)

________

She studied hard so she probably passed the exam. (should)

________

I think he’s foreign so it’s possible he didn’t understand you. (might)

________

John isn’t in Rome – I saw him earlier. (can’t)

________

It would have been better if you’d listened to advice. (ought)

________

Why didn’t you introduce me to your friends? (might)

     _________

Show answers

Lunch was provided so they didn’t need to take sandwiches.

She studied hard so she should have passed the exam.

I think he’s foreign so he might not have understood you.

John can’t be in Rome – I saw him earlier.

You ought to have listened to advice.

6 You might have introduced me to your friends!

7. Complete the sentences with must have, might (not) have, can’t have, should have, or shouldn’t have and the verbs in brackets.

1   I’m not sure where Jess is, but she ________. home. She wasn’t feeling well earlier on. (go)

2   You ________. Dave at the football match. He’s away on holiday. (see)

3   On, no! Tanya knows about the surprise party. Some one ________. her. (tell)

4   I’ve missed train. I ________. a taxi to the station instead of walking. (get)

5   It’s been really hard to concentrate today. I ________. (stay) up late last night.

6   She should definitely be here by now. Her plane ________. (delay)

7   I’m not sure why they didn’t come. The postal service isn’t very reliable so they ________. the invitation. (not receive)

8 There’s no money in bank account. I ________. so much on clothes last weekend. (spend)

Show answers

1 might have gone   2 can’t have seen   3 must have told

4 should have got   5 shouldn’t have stayed

6 must have been delayed   7 might not have received

8 shouldn’t have spent