To Have or to Be or to Do etc…
What associations come to your mind when you hear modal verbs? There can exist a typology of people. People of Must, people of Can, people of Need and so on… Erich Fromm began to deal with that in his book «Haben oder Sein» (To Have or to Be).
Must: Immanuel Kant and Joseph Stalin. Army, war and preparing to war. Clear streets, no beggars. Prisons and schools.
Can: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford. Creativity and accomplishment.
Could: Gorbachev. World of lost opportunities and pieces of advice that are never followed.
May: Permissions, democracy, soft promises (that never come true).
Might: Not taking responsibility. Soft regrets about lost opportunities.
Will: Prediction of future, willingness, fantasies, emotions, spontaneity.
Shall: Oracle, procurator, public prosecutor, fate, doom, commandments. Prescriptive grammar.
Do: Everyday work. Brezhnev’s socialism. Zimbronia's grammar lessons. Invisible but omnipresent activity.
Do: Instructions, accounting, codes, order.
Need: Beggars, poverty, lack of freedom.
Should: Strong prescriptions. Self-assured pieces of advice. No privacy.
Would: preferences, past and rather pleasant routine, readiness to activity and cooperation that usually don't happen.
Dare: Recklessness, risk, fear, adventures, gambling, duels, impudence, real freedom of speech.
Have: Results, money, being old, bankers, exploitation, today's capitalism, necessity to do unpleasant things.
Be: existence here and now, emotions, reality, beauty, parades, demonstrations, effective studying, readiness to future existence.
Want: Sex and games, restaurants, traveling, bread and spectacles, entertainment, laziness and boredom.