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Modal Helping Verbs

What is a modal helping verb?

Often I say 'modals', but 'modal helping verbs' would be more proper.

A helping verb helps the main verb in the sentence. In Afrikaans you have HET and SAL as helping verbs to indicate past and future tenses.

Modal helping verbs give a mood and they can be used in present, future or past tense sentences. Here are the modals we use in Afrikaans:

  • wil     — being willing, having desire
  • moet — being compelled, have to, must
  • mag  — being allowed, may
  • kan  — being able, can,

Here is an example of two modals, one for time (SAL) and one for mood (WIL) in one sentence. Ek sal wil werk. (I will want to work.)

Past Tense: In English CAN becomes COULD. An Afrikaans KAN becomes KON. So does MAG become MOG, and MOET becomes MOES, and WIL becomes WOU.