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Understanding Modal Verbs for Permission and Prohibition in Travel

Updated: Oct 25, 2023


Modal verbs are an essential part of the English language, adding nuance to our conversations and helping us express various meanings and intentions. In the context of travel, modal verbs play a crucial role in conveying permission and prohibition. Let's explore some common modal verbs used in the context of airport security and travel regulations.


Will/Would Need To/Need To

Will need to/would need to/need to express varying degrees of obligation. They imply that something is necessary or required to be done.

Examples:

  • "You will need to pack your toiletries in a clear bag."

  • "He said you would need to take out your laptop."

  • "You need to follow the 3-ounce rule."

Can/Can’t/Could

Can and can’t are used to express permissions and prohibitions. They denote whether an action is allowed or not allowed.

Examples:

  • "You can take liquids in small bottles."

  • "You can’t take weapons."

Shouldn’t

Shouldn’t indicates that something is not advisable or recommended. It signifies a form of prohibition or advice against a particular action.

Example:

  • "You shouldn’t bring sharp objects in your carry-on."

Exercise:

Identify the meaning expressed by the modal verb in each of the following sentences.


She would need to take them out.

  • Meaning: Obligation


How was she expected to know what you can and can’t take?

  • Meaning: Permission and Prohibition


She could buy some small travel bottles and empty part of the toiletries into those.

  • Meaning: Possibility


You can take liquids in small bottles.

  • Meaning: Permission


You need to follow the 3-ounce rule.

  • Meaning: Obligation


You shouldn’t bring sharp objects in your carry-on.

  • Meaning: Suggestion


Understanding these modal verbs is crucial for navigating airport security and adhering to travel regulations. Being able to differentiate between permission, prohibition, obligation, and suggestion will ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.


Here are some exercises based on the lesson on modal verbs for permission and prohibition in the context of travel:

Exercise 1: Fill in the Blanks Fill in the blanks with the appropriate modal verb (will need to, can, can't, shouldn't) based on the context provided.

  1. Remember, you ____________ take liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces through airport security.

  2. Passengers ____________ bring their own snacks on the plane.

  3. He informed her that she ____________ need to remove her belt before going through the metal detector.

  4. ____________ you please show me the contents of your carry-on bag?

  5. According to the regulations, you ____________ carry sharp objects such as knives or scissors in your hand luggage.

Exercise 2: Matching Exercise Match the sentence with the appropriate meaning expressed by the modal verb (suggestion, permission, obligation) in the context of travel.

  1. "You would need to show your boarding pass at the gate."

  2. "You can purchase duty-free items after passing through security."

  3. "Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before the departure time."

  4. "You can't board the plane without proper identification."

  5. "You need to place all electronic devices in a separate bin for screening."

Exercise 3: Critical Thinking Answer the following questions based on the information provided in the lesson.

  1. Why is it important to adhere to the 3-ounce rule for liquids in carry-on luggage?

  2. What consequences might a passenger face if they disregard the prohibition on carrying sharp objects in their carry-on bag?

  3. How can understanding the distinction between 'shouldn't' and 'can't' help passengers prepare for their travels more effectively?

  4. Provide an example of a situation in which the usage of 'would need to' might apply during airport security checks.

Answer Key:


here are the answers for the exercises:

Exercise 1: Fill in the Blanks

  1. Remember, you can't take liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces through airport security.

  2. Passengers can bring their own snacks on the plane.

  3. He informed her that she would need to remove her belt before going through the metal detector.

  4. Can you please show me the contents of your carry-on bag?

  5. According to the regulations, you can't carry sharp objects such as knives or scissors in your hand luggage.

Exercise 2: Matching Exercise

  1. "You would need to show your boarding pass at the gate." - Obligation

  2. "You can purchase duty-free items after passing through security." - Permission

  3. "Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before the departure time." - Suggestion

  4. "You can't board the plane without proper identification." - Prohibition

  5. "You need to place all electronic devices in a separate bin for screening." - Obligation

Exercise 3: Critical Thinking

  1. It's important to adhere to the 3-ounce rule for liquids in carry-on luggage to comply with airport security regulations and to ensure the safety of all passengers.

  2. Disregarding the prohibition on carrying sharp objects in their carry-on bag might result in confiscation of the item, possible fines, or even being prevented from boarding the plane.

  3. Understanding the distinction between 'shouldn't' and 'can't' helps passengers prepare for their travels more effectively by enabling them to differentiate between actions that are strongly advised against ('shouldn't') and actions that are strictly prohibited ('can't').

  4. An example of a situation in which the usage of 'would need to' might apply during airport security checks is when a security officer informs a passenger that they would need to remove their shoes before passing through the metal detector.



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