Strong Obligation, 1

Must, Have to

 
 
 
 
In this unit we look at obligation, where the consequences of doing or not doing something can be serious. Related terms include requirement and necessity.

Must and have to express strong obligations, while had better has a more severe implication. Need to, be supposed to, and be required to are more formal forms.
 
 
Positive Sentence Forms

Subject + must/have-has-had to + verb-1 (base form).

Examples:
• You must eat your broccoli and spinach before you can have dessert.
• I have to finish the sales report by Friday.
• Everyone has to pay taxes.
• All applicants are required to know English and computer operations.
• In the past, we all had to praise The Leader.
 
 
Negative Sentence Forms: Absence of Obligation

Don’t have to, don’t need to, and be not required to express an absence or lack of obligation; whereas mustn’t, had better not, and be not supposed to refer to prohibition or warning.

Subject + do + not + have to/need to + verb-1.
Subject + be + not required to + verb-1.

Examples:
• You don’t have to join the army in this country.
• Residents of New York City don’t need to own a car.
• Employees here don’t have to buy medical insurance; the company provides it for them.
 
 
Yes-No Questions

YN-Q: Do + subject + have to/need to + verb-1?

Not very often used: Must + subject + verb-1?

Examples:
• Do we have to wear suits and ties? —> Only when VIPs visit us.
• Does your husband always have to attend dinner parties? —> Yes, he’s the director.
• Did you have to study chemistry in high school? —> Yes, everyone had to.
• Do I have to take violin lessons? —> Yes, it’s good for your personal development.
Must you watch this stupid program? —> Shh! I can’t hear!
 
 
WH Questions

WH-Q word + do + subject + have to/need to + verb-1?
Who/What + has to/needs to + verb-1?

Examples:
• Why do we have to pay so many times? —> These are service fees.
• Why do we have to buy all these big textbooks? —> They’re required for the courses.
• What did you have to do in the Marines? —> We had to drill and train.
• What courses does Manjit have to take in university? —> She has to study programming and design.
• Alright, who needs to take remedial math and English? —> All of us here.
 
 
 
 

  
 
 
  

 
 
 
 

Answer the following questions using have to. Say why and give examples.

 

Work, Career and School

1. Describe your work, duties, responsibilities and the rules and regulations of your company or school.

2. At work (school) I have to . . . . .

3. I don’t have to . . . . .

4. My colleague (classmate) has to . . . . .

5. To get a promotion or advancement (or good grade), I must . . . .

6. My boss (teacher) has to . . . . and doesn’t have to . . . .
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
7. You have to be lucky to succeed in life. You need good luck. Is this absolutely true, generally true, sometimes true, partially true or completely false?

8. A person needs to start off handsome, male, smart, tall, young, to be highly successful. What do you think?

9. To be successful, you need friends who can help and mentor you.

 

In General

10. In society, everyone has to have a steady job, be married and have a family and home by the time they are 25 (or 35, 45, 55).

11. You must always listen to and obey authority.

12. We must protect and preserve the environment.

13. Are there things that you have to do that you wish you didn’t have to do? If yes, what are they? I wish I didn’t have to . . . .

 
 
 
 
 

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