Verbs: modals of probability


You must be joking. - Você deve estar brincando.


We use modal verbs of probability when talking about situations that we think are possible or true.

The modals below are used to express probability:

Modal of probability Level of certainty
must, have to 100 or almost 100
should Almost 100
might, could, may >0 <80
can't, mustn't, couldn't 0 or almost 0


English Portuguese
He must be tired Ele deve estar cansado
That should be the postman Deve ser o carteiro
He might change his mind Ele talvez mude de ideia
She can't be at home Ela não pode estar em casa
Further learning
Description Author Language
Examples of using probability modals in the present and the past. BBC Learning