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Unit 12 modal verbs and related verbs 2


 Necessity (obligation) A


 To say that something is necessary we use have to, need to and must.

I have to/need to speak to Jane before she leaves. We must finish the meeting by eleven at the latest.


 All three forms are very similar, particularly in writing where they all express necessity (obligation).

In speech there is a small difference:


Have to and need to - the situation makes something necessary.

You have to pay the invoice by the end of the month. (thats the company rule)


Must - the speaker personally feels something is important.

You must stop working so hard. (Im telling you)

We must recall that the economy is but one dimension of life as a whole, and it is by no means certain that it is the single most important one said Prime Minister Orbán.


 To make a question we normally use have to or need to. If we use must for a question we can sound annoyed, particularly if we stress must in speech. Unfortunately, I must/have to/need to work this evening.

Do you have to/need to work this evening?

Must you work this evening?


 Have got to and II have to are also used for necessity. They are more informal.

Youve got to/Youll have to contact them as soon as possible.


 No necessity, permission, prohibition B


 When something is not necessary we use dont have to and dont need to.

You dont have to pay right now. We can give you credit. (you are free to choose)


 When something is permitted we use can and be allowed to.

You can park your car here at the weekends, but not during the week.


 When something is prohibited we use cant, be not allowed to and mustnt.

Mustnt is more usual when we are telling someone what not to do.

Youre not allowed to park on a double yellow line. (thats the law)

You mustnt talk about politics if they invite you to dinner. (Im telling you)



Can we just go over the details?

(= check/summarise)

 Notice that have to and must have similar meanings in their affirmative forms (section A above), but different meanings in their negative forms (this section).

I have to/must leave now (its necessary for me to leave)

I dont have to leave now. (its not necessary, I have a choice whether to leave)

I mustnt leave now. (its prohibited, I cannot leave)


 Necessity, no necessity, permission, prohibition in the past C


 To talk about necessity in the past, we use had to and needed to. There is no past form of


I had to/needed to speak to Emma about something, but Ive forgotten what

it was about.


 To talk about no necessity in the past, we use didnt have to/didnt need to.

You didnt have to/didnt need to take a taxi. I could have picked you up in my car.


 To talk about permission in the past, we use could, was allowed to.

In my last job I could/was allowed to use the phone for personal calls.


 To talk about prohibition in the past, we use couldnt, wasnt allowed to.

In my last job I couldnt/wasnt allowed to use the phone for personal calls.


 Opinions and advice D


 We use should, should not (shouldnt), ought to and ought not to (oughtnt to) to give an opinion or recommendation about what is the best thing to do. We should/ought to invest more heavily in marketing.

By midnight Kennedy had 265 electoral votes, just four short of victory. Nixon wasnt ready to concede, but he thought he should make some kind of statement to his supporters in the ballroom downstairs. Kennedy watched this on TV. Why should he concede? Kennedy said to his aides. I wouldnt.


 When we use you speaking to someone else our opinion becomes advice.

You should speak to your boss. (its my advice to you)



Im not sure. I need to think it over.

(= think about it carefully)

Note that advice is like a weak type of necessity (section A).

You should/ought to go to the doctor. (advice: its the best thing to do) You must/have to go to the doctor. (strong advice: its really necessary)


 had better (not) is used for strong opinions. Had is usually contracted.

Id better not interrupt him while hes on the phone.

I think youd better call them straightaway.


 Past criticism E


 When we use the verbs in section D in the past (+ have + past participle) we mean that we didnt do the right thing and now we are making a criticism.

We should have seen the dangers a long time ago.

We shouldnt have spent all the advertising budget on television spots. You ought to have mentioned that earlier.


 Need to F


 Need to means the same as have to (sections A/B).

You have to/need to sign this form in two places, here and here.

If youre going to jump into the UK market and become an important player, you need to have that retails in the £6£7 price range.


 Notice the two possible negative forms.

You dont need to/neednt wait for me Ill come along later.


 In strict grammar the two negative forms have different meanings in the past I didnt need to arrive at seven. (we dont know when I arrived maybe seven or later)

I neednt have arrived at seven. (we know when I arrived seven but it wasnt necessary)


But in everyday speech we often use didnt need to for both cases.



Can you go through your proposal again?

(= explain)




Exercise 1 (A, B, C, D, E)

Match each sentence 1-12 with one of the formal sentences a)-l)



I can do it.

 a) Its necessary.


I mustnt do it.


Its not necessary.


I dont have to do it.


Its allowed.


I have to do it.


Its not allowed.


I couldnt do it.


It was necessary.


I didnt have to do it.


It wasnt necessary.


I had to do it.


It was allowed.


I could do it.


It wasnt allowed.



I should have done it.

I shouldnt have done it.



Doing it would be a good idea.

Doing it would be a bad idea.

11 I shouldnt do it.

12 I should do it.

 k) Doing it was a bad idea.

 l) Not doing it was a bad idea.



Exercise 2 (A, B, D)

A businessman is describing his trip to Lagos. Complete the text with had to, didnt

have to, couldnt, should have or shouldnt have. Each phrase is used twice.


I (1) .. travelled on the 10 am flight, but when I got to the airport they told me that the flight was overbooked and I (2) .. catch a later flight. Then at the check-in desk they told me that I (3) .. take both my bags as hand luggage, so I (4) .. let one of them go in the hold, which was very annoying as I had my diary in it, and it delayed me by nearly an hour at baggage reclaim at the other end. When I got on the plane I wanted to use my laptop, but of course I (5) .. until after take off. The flight attendant told me to turn it off and said that I (6) .. known not to use it. To be honest Id just forgotten, and he (7) .. been so rude. Er, it was quite late when I finally left Lagos airport, so it was lucky I (8) .. go to any meeting that afternoon. And, looking back at what happened, I (9) .. travelled with that airline they have a lot of problems with overlooking, and my company was paying for the flight so I (10) .. choose the cheapest option.

Exercise 3 (A, B, D)

Look at these notes that a Personnel Manager wrote to explain company rules. Then use the notes to complete a briefing he gave to some new employees on their first day at work. Choose from have to, dont have to can, cant, should or shouldnt.


Necessary: sign letter about working hours, leave building during fire drill

Not necessary: send holiday form to personnel immediately

Permitted: volunteers to work extra hours, take 3 weeks holiday, smoke outside

Prohibited: make staff work long hours, take all holiday time together

Good idea: speak to head of department about excessive hours, give notice to head of dept. about holidays, read fire notices

Bad idea: block fire exit


Um. Excuse me. Good morning. Ive called you to this meeting explain to you all some of the basic health and safety rules that we have here. Um, first of all. Working hours: its not our company policy to make staff work excessive hours it makes people unproductive and can endanger health. Um, managers (1) .. make any of their staff work more than an average of 48 hours per week, although anyone (2) .. volunteer to work more than these hours, but they

(3) .. sign a letter from the company to say that they want to do this. Any member of staff who is worried that they are working too many hours (4) ..

speak to their head of department about it.


Um, all employees (5) .. take a minimum of three weeks paid holiday per year, but you (6) .. take all this holiday off in one block. Staff (7) .. give their head of department as much notice as possible about their holidays, although they (8)

.. send their holiday form off to personnel until a few weeks before they go.


Next, er, fire drills. We have a fire drill about once month dont ignore it. You (9) leave the building immediately that you hear the bell, and of course you (10) .. block the fire exits. Fire notices are posted throughout the building. Employees (11) .. read these notices regularly. In the case of a real fire, dont panic and follow the fire procedures.



Shall we move on?

(= change to the next topic)

And lastly, for you smokers, Im afraid that smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the building, although you (12) .. smoke just outside the front door.


I think that covers everything. Does anyone have any questions? No ... Yes...


Exercise 4 (A)


Complete the sentences with must or have to. Both are possible each time, but one is more natural in a spoken context.

1 I .. remember to email Steve and thank him for all his help.

2 Sorry, I .. go now, the meeting begins in five minutes.

3 You .. your tax form by 31 January.

4 You .. try to be more diplomatic when youre speaking to Tim.

5 I .. go to the dentist next Friday morning, so Ill be a little late.

6 I really .. go to the dentist. Ive had this awful pain for two days.



Ill hand out some catalogues at the end.

(= give to everyone)

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