Would you might know what a Multiple Modal is?

To be sure, some grammarians of English have declared that they simply cannot and do not exist. But we think this website might can persuade you otherwise if you keep reading...


A multiple modal is a series of two or three modal auxiliary verbs in a single verb phrase, such as may could, will can, and might should ought to. This type of construction found in certain varieties in both Britain and the United States.  The MultiMo website is devoted to the documentation and study of Multiple Modals (MMs) and features resources and opportunities for our understanding of them.


These features include

A database that can be entered through a table that brings together the research and investigations from more than forty years of scholarship, primarily in the Southern United States, Scotland, and Northern England.  The database includes almost 2000 examples, nearly all documented MMs, in a manner designed to spur further research using them.  The table presents each example of a MM as the title, with other information about the speaker/informant and the example itself.  Examples are sortable based on the factors that head columns: Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Age, Level of Education, Home State (of the speaker/writer), Location (where collected), Relation to Addressee, Medium, Clause Type, Speech, Status (whether naturalistic or elicited), and the modals from the entry itself.  In the table each example is presented in the sentence in which it occurs.  To see the broader linguistic context, if available, click on the entry or example.  Doing so will take you to a separate page which contains all the information from the table, plus additional information.  Many of the examples include this larger context and additional information, which can be a fount of information about individual occurrences of MMs. You can access the table here.

A comprehensive annotated bibliography of the published scholarly research about MMs.  Items include descriptions and analyses based on either naturalistic or elicited MMs as well as studies considering their structural and theoretical dimensions.  When possible and appropriate, examples have been extracted from published studies for the database of this website.  If you know of a publication that is absent, please send the citation to us, and we will include it. Also on this page is a Source Code for the table, which identifies the contributing source shorthand from the table. You can access the bibliography here.

3  A commentary section that provides pertinent comments on MMs from scholars and a variety of other sources either printed or online, such as from Linguist-List and the ADS-List of the American Dialect Society. You can access the commentary here.

4  A contributors section that presents the team that created this website and those scholars who have generously provided data for it. You can access this page here.

5  A login page through which visitors can contribute either examples or commentary on MMs in general or on any material on this website.  This page allows authorized users to login and add examples for inclusion in the database.  To acquire a username and password, please contact either of the administrators. You can login here.

Please feel free to peruse and use the data.  If you have any comments, questions, or better yet, more data that can be included, contact us.