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 Must or Have to

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Join date : 2010-02-10
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PostSubject: Must or Have to   9/2/2011, 9:53 pm

Must or have to

can use 'must' to show that we are certain something is true. We are
making a logical deduction based upon some clear evidence or reason.

  • There's no heating on. You must be freezing.
  • You must be worried that she is so late coming home.
  • I can't remember what I did with it. I must be getting old.
  • It must be nice to live in Florida.

also use 'must' to express a strong obligation. When we use 'must' this
usually means that some personal circumstance makes the obligation
necessary (and the speaker almost certainly agrees with the obligation.)

  • I must go to bed earlier.
  • They must do something about it.
  • You must come and see us some time.
  • I must say, I don't think you were very nice to him.

can also use 'have to' to express a strong obligation. When we use
'have to' this usually means that some external circumstance makes the
obligation necessary.

  • I have to arrive at work at 9 sharp. My boss is very strict.
  • We have to give him our answer today or lose out on the contract.
  • You have to pass your exams or the university will not accept you.
  • I have to send a report to Head Office every week.

In British English, we often use 'have got to' to mean the same as 'have to'.

  • I've got to take this book back to the library or I'll get a fine.
  • We've got to finish now as somebody else needs this room.

can also use ' will have to' to talk about strong obligations. Like
'must' this usually means that that some personal circumstance makes
the obligation necessary. (Remember that 'will' is often used to show

  • I'll have to speak to him.
  • We'll have to have lunch and catch up on all the gossip.
  • They'll have to do something about it.
  • I'll have to get back to you on that.

you can see, the differences between the present forms are sometimes
very small and very subtle. However, there is a huge difference in the
negative forms.

  • We use 'mustn't' to express strong obligations NOT to do something.
  • We mustn't talk about it. It's confidential.
  • I mustn't eat chocolate. It's bad for me.
  • You mustn't phone me at work. We aren't allowed personal calls.
  • They mustn't see us talking or they'll suspect something.

We use 'don't have to' (or 'haven't got to' in British English) to state that there is NO obligation or necessity.

  • We don't have to get there on time. The boss is away today.
  • I don't have to listen to this. I'm leaving.
  • You don't have to come if you don't want to.
  • He doesn't have to sign anything if he doesn't want to at this stage.
  • I haven't got to go. Only if I want to

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