Modality (情态 qíngtài) is generally understood in two different ways: a) in the illocutionary sense, it corresponds with the expression of the speaker’s attitude towards the propositional content; b) from a logico semantic perspective, it is a linguistic category related to the notions of possibility and necessity (i.e., similarly to tense and aspect, it enables to express what is not related to the “here and now”). In the first interpretation, the Chinese prototypical expression of modality are the modal particles. In the second one, modality is lexicalized into an array of items (the so called “modals” qingtaici) including verbs, adverbs and adverbials. We will present the main taxonomies related to Chinese modality and the lexical items that are prototypical for each division. More specifically, we will concentrate on a set of 12 main modals (yīdìng, yīnggāi, gāi, dāng, yào, bìxū, děi, dé, huì, néng, kěyǐ, kěnéng) and analyze their distinctive features with respect to concepts such as scalarity, interdefinability and interaction with negation.