The Meanings of Modal Auxiliary Verbs in the Movie "The Perks of being a Wallflower"

Herlina Endah Atmaja(1*)

(1) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


This research attempts to investigate the meanings of modal auxiliary verbs in the movie The Perks of being a Wallflower. In particular, it aims to identify and classify the modal auxiliary verbs according to their meanings. The data used in this research were dialogues containing modal auxiliary verbs. The modal auxiliary verbs are analyzed semantically and pragmatically. Based on the data analysis, 171 modal auxiliary verbs were found in the movie. The most commonly used modal auxiliary verb in the movie is the modal auxiliary will (28.7%), followed by can (24.0%), would (21.6%), could (14.0%), should (7.0%), might (2.9%), and must (1.8%). From the 171 modal auxiliary verbs, 43 (25.1%) are used to express epistemic meanings, 23 (13.4%) are used to express deontic meanings, and 105 (61.3%) are used to express dynamic meanings. It was found in this research that the modal auxiliary verbs are most frequently used to express dynamic meanings.


modal auxiliary verbs; epistemic meaning; deontic meaning; and dynamic meaning

Full Text:



Aarts, Bas & April McMahon (Eds). 2006. The Handbook of English Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.

Brewer, Nicola M. 1987. Modality and Factivity: One Perspective on the Meaning of the English Modal Auxiliaries. Leeds: The University of Leeds Department of Linguistics and Phonetics. Unpublished PhD dissertation.

Brinton, Laurel J. 2000. The Structure of Modern English: A Linguistic Introduction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Collins, Peter. 2009. Modals and Quasi-Modals in English. Netherlands: Radopi.

Fattah, Hussein Abdul. 2011. A Formal-Functional Analysis of the English Modal Auxiliaries. Jordan Journal of Modern Languages and Literature Vol 3 No.1, pp. 39-63.

Gove, Philip Babcock (Ed). 1971. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged. Massachusetts: G. & C. Merriam Company.

Gustova, Iveta. 2011. The Ways of Expressing Epistemic (Extrinsic) Modality in Spoken English.Pilsen: University of West Bohemia Faculty of Education. Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis.

Hornby, A.S. 2006.Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English 8th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved on January 2, 2013; 19:50.

Huddleston, Rodney & Geoffrey K. Pullum. 2005. A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kukucz, Marta. 2009. Characteristics of English Modal Verbs. Olomouc: FilozofickáFakultaUniverzityPalackého. Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis.

Leech, Geoffrey. 2006. A Glossary of English Grammar. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G. &Svartvik, J. 1972.A Grammar of Contemporary English. Oxford: Longman.

Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G. &Svartvik, J. 1985.A comprehensive grammar of the English language. Oxford: Longman.

Subscene. 2013. The Perks of being a Wallflower. ( Retrieved on November 5, 2013; 19:50.

Sudirman. 2010. Analysis on Student’s Difficulties in Learning Modal Auxiliaries “Can” and “Could”. Jakarta: Universitas Islam NegeriSyarifHidayahtullah. Unpublished Undergraduate Paper.

Widyaswara, Rachmalita. 2013. Modal Auxiliary Verbs in Barack Obama’s 2009 Inaugural Address. Yogyakarta: UGM. Unpublished Undergraduate Paper.


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 2025 | views : 1470


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2013 Herlina Endah Atmaja

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Lexicon Office

English Department
Faculty of Cultural Sciences,
Universitas Gadjah Mada
Soegondo Building, 3rd Floor, Room 306
Yogyakarta, Indonesia 55281
Telephone: +62 274 513096

ISSN: 2746-2668 (Online)

Web Analytics View Stats

Creative Commons License
LEXICON is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Lexicon is indexed in

About UsSubmissionIssuePoliciesReview