26.1 Modal Verbs (Want, Must, Can)

cheesecake covered with chocolate and nuts

26.1 Modal Verbs (Want, Must, Can)

In this module, you will learn how to express desire, ability, necessity, and obligation with the help of four verbs: хоті́ти, могти́, ма́ти, and му́сити.

Завдання 1

Read the conversation below and mark all the forms of the verb “to want.” Then answer the questions that follow.

Важли́во!

In the present tense, the verb хоті́ти takes the usual hard-vowel endings of the first conjugation, just like the verbs писа́ти and жи́ти. Note that the infinitive of this verb is very different from its present-tense conjugated forms all of which have the stem ending in –ч-:

 хоті́ти
яхо́чу
тихо́чеш
він/вона/воно хо́че
михо́чемо
вихо́чете
вонихо́чуть

As in English, this verb can be followed by the infinitive of another verb or by a direct object. When the verb хоті́ти is negated, the object will appear in the genitive case rather than accusative (see module 5.2 for more on direct objects after negation):

Я хо́чу гра́ти в те́ніс.
Вона́ хо́че ку́рку.
Він не хо́че ку́рки.

Завдання 2

Listen to the questions below and choose the best response from those provided.

Завдання 3

Examine the captions below paying attention to the bolded verb forms. Then answer the questions that follow.

student in foreground painting with teacher/student standing on desk in front of projector screen in background
Коли́сь я хоті́в ста́ти юри́стом. Мої́ батьки́ теж ду́же цьо́го (this) хоті́ли. А тепе́р я хо́чу бу́ти худо́жником. Я хоті́в би малюва́ти ілюстра́ції для книжо́к.
outdoor scene in city with benches in front of art installation
В майбу́тньому я хоті́ла б жи́ти в Дніпрі́, а мої́ брати́ хоті́ли б жи́ти в Ки́єві.
Ціка́во!

The verb хоті́ти forms the past tense like most other Ukrainian verbs – by replacing the infinitive ending -ти with the past-tense endings –в, –ла, –ло or –ли.

These same past-tense forms are used together with the particle б or би to express wants in a more conditional or polite way – “would like to” instead of “want to”:

Я хоті́в би ма́ти вла́сну кварти́ру. (I would like to have my own apartment.)
Ми хоті́ли б замо́вити варе́ники з си́ром. (We would like to order dumplings with cheese.)

The particle б is used after all verb forms that end in a vowel (хоті́ла б, хоті́ли б) and its variant би is used after the masculine verb form that ends in a consonant (хоті́в би).

Завдання 4

Complete the dialogue below with the most appropriate verbs from the bank.

Завдання 5

Find all the forms of the verb “can” (могти́) in the conversation below. Then answer the questions that follow.

Важли́во!

Like the verb хоті́ти, the verb могти́ in the present tense takes the hard-vowel endings of the first conjugation. Also like хоті́ти, the infinitive of the verb могти́ is very different from its present-tense conjugated forms, all of which have the stem ending in ж-:

 могти́
ямо́жу
тимо́жеш
він/вона/воно мо́же
мимо́жемо
вимо́жете
вонимо́жуть

As in English, this verb is normally followed by the infinitive of another verb.

Note the unusual masculine form of this verb in the past tense – міг. The rest of the past-tense forms have regular formation: вона́ могла́; воно́ могло́; вони́ могли́.

Завдання 6

Select the most appropriate response to each question or statement you hear.

Завдання 7

Examine the captions below paying attention to the bolded verb forms. Then answer the questions that follow.

pairs of student studying in booth-like carrels
– Ти бу́деш сього́дні на конце́рті?
– На жаль, ні. За́втра екза́мен, і я му́шу вчи́тися…
– Ми всі му́симо вчи́тися, але́ на конце́рті бу́демо.
Му́сять вчи́тися ті́льки такі́, як я – хто провали́в (failed) пе́рший екза́мен!
young woman writing in notebook with two girls talking behind her
– Що ти роби́тимеш на вихідни́х?
– Я ма́ю допомага́ти батька́м. А ти?
– Ми з Оле́ною ма́ємо роби́ти ремо́нт в на́шій кімна́ті. Оле́но, що ти пи́шеш?
– Пишу́, що ми ма́ємо купи́ти для ремо́нту.
Важли́во!

The verb му́сити conveys strong necessity and is closest in meaning to the English verb “must.” In the present tense, it conjugates like the verbs of the сиді́ти type, with a consonant mutation before the ending in the я form: с → ш, as in проси́ти (see module 22.1):

 му́сити
яму́шу
тиму́сиш
він/вона/воно му́сить
миму́симо
виму́сите
вониму́сять

Besides its use to express possession, the verb ма́ти can also have a modal meaning, just like the English verb “to have” (i.e.: I have to do this.) As a modal verb, it conveys a meaning similar to му́сити, but the necessity is not as strong. One has to do something because it has been planned, agreed upon, and because it is a good thing to do:

За́втра я ма́ю обі́дати з коле́гами.
(Tomorrow I have it in my plan to have lunch with colleagues.)

Ма́ти is a regular first-conjugation verb of the чита́ти type.

Завдання 8

Select the correct verb forms to complete the sentences below.

Завдання 9

Complete the email below with the most appropriate verbs from the bank.

Мовний пазл

Look through the activities you have just completed and choose the correct statements to summarize what you have learned.

А тепе́р тест!

Complete the dialogue below by providing the appropriate verbs. Select the verbs from the bank, putting them in the form required by the context. You should use each verb the number of times indicated in the parentheses after the word.