modal verb is a type of auxiliary verb that “modifies” or gives more information about the function of the main verb that follows. In a sentence, the modal verb has to be followed by a verb in its infinitive form – most times, the sentence wouldn’t make sense without the main verb.

There are 6 modal verbs in German

  • können – to can, be able to
  • sollen – shall
  • wollen – to want (not “to will” in E)
  • müssen – must, to have to (not “Ich habe zu” in G)
  • mögen – to like, to want
  • dürfen – may, to be allowed to

Some modal verbs can be used without a main verb, for example: Ich mag dich. (I like you) Kannst du Deutsch? (Can you (speak) German?)