Exercise 1. Complete the sentences using could, couldn't or was/were able to.

1. My grandfather was a very clever man. He could speak five languages.

2. I looked everywhere for the book but I couldn't find it.

3. They didn't want to come with us at first but we were able to persuade them.

4. Laura had hurt her leg and……walk very well.

5. Sue wasn't at home when I phoned but I……contact her at her office.

6. I looked very carefully and I……see a figure in the distance.

7. I wanted to buy some tomatoes. The first shop I went to didn't have any but I get some in the next shop.

8. My grandmother loved music. She……play the piano very well.

9. A girl fell into the river but fortunately we……rescue her.

10. I had forgotten to bring my camera so I……take any photographs.


Exercise 2. Read the situations and use the words in brackets to write sentences with must have and can't have.


1. The phone rang but I didn't hear it. (I / asleep)

I must have been asleep.

2. Jane walked past me without speaking. (she / see / me)

She can't have seen me.

3. The jacket you bought is very good quality. (it / very expensive) ……

4. I haven't seen the people next door for ages. (they / go away)……

5. I can't find my umbrella. (I / leave / it in the restaurant last night) ……

6. Don passed the exam without studying for it. (the exam / very difficult) ……

7. She knew everything about our plans. (she / listen / to our conversation) ……

8. Fiona did the opposite of what I asked her to do. (she / understand / what I said) ……

9. When I woke up this morning, the light was on. (I / forget / to turn it off) ……

10. The lights were red but the car didn't stop. (the driver / see / the red light) …… 11 I was woken up in the middle of the night by the noise next door. (the neighbours / have / a party) ……


Exercise 3. Complete the sentences with must, mustn't or needn't.


1. We haven't got much time. We must hurry.

2. We've got plenty of time. We needn't hurry.

3. We have enough food at home so we……go shopping today.

4. Jim gave me a letter to post. I……remember to post it.

5. Jim gave me a letter to post. I……forget to post it.

6. There's plenty of time for you to make up your mind. You……decide now.

7. You……wash those tomatoes. They've already been washed.

8. This is a valuable book. You……look after it carefully and you……lose it.

9. 'What sort of house do you want to buy? Something big?' 'Well, it ……be big - that's not important. But it……have a nice garden - that's essential.'

Exercise 4. Read the situations and write sentences with should/shouldn't. Some of the sentences are past and some are present.


1. I'm feeling sick. I ate too much. I shouldn't have eaten so much.

2. That man on the motorbike isn't wearing a helmet. That's dangerous.
He should be wearing a helmet.

3. When we got to the restaurant, there were no free tables. We hadn't reserved one. We ……

4. The notice says that the shop is open every day from 8.30. It is 9 o'clock now but the shop isn't open yet……

5. The speed limit is 30 miles an hour, but Catherine is doing 50. She……

6. I went to Paris. A friend of mine lives in Paris but I didn't go to see him while I was there. When I saw him later,-he said: You……

7. I was driving behind another car. Suddenly, the driver in front stopped without warning and I drove into the back of his car. It wasn't my fault. ……

8. I walked into a wall. I wasn't looking where I was going. ……


Exercise 5. Write two sentences for each situation. Use needn't have in the first sentence and could have in the second (as in the example).


1. Why did you rush? Why didn't you take your time?

Example: You needn't have rushed. You could have taken your time.

2. Why did you walk home? Why didn't you take a taxi?

3. Why did you stay at a hotel? Why didn't you stay with us?

4. Why did she phone me in the middle of the night? Why didn't she phone me in the morning?

5. Why did you leave without saying anything? Why didn't you say goodbye to me?

Exercise 6. For each situation write a sentence with should or shouldn't + one of the following:

go away for a few days go to bed so late look for another job

put some pictures on the walls take a photograph use her car so much


1. (Liz needs a change.) She should go away for a few days.

2. (My salary is very low.) You……

3. (Jack always has difficulty getting up.) He ……

4. (What a beautiful view!) You……

5. (Sue drives everywhere. She never walks.) She ……

6. (Bill's room isn't very interesting.) ……

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