Modals of Obligation – Have to

Verbs

A Modal Verb is a type of auxiliary (helping) verb that has no meaning on their own but it modifies the main verb, changes his meaning and gives more details about action.

Have to is a type of auxiliary modal verb used to express certainty, necessity or strong obligation which comes from outside, from external factors.

Affirmative

The Affirmative form of the verb Have to has this structure:
Subject + Have to + verb (“has” for the third person).

SUBJECT HAVE TO VERB 
I have to take
You have to take
He has to take
She has to take
It has to take
We have to take
You have to take
They have to take

Negative*

The Negative form of the verb Have to has this structure:
Subject + do + not + have to + verb (“does” for the third person).

PERSON NEGATION HAVE TO VERB 
I do not have to take
You do not have to take
He does not have to take
She does not have to take
It does not have to take
We do not have to take
You do not have to take
They do not have to take

*The negative form usually expresses that something is not necessary to be done.

Interrogative

The Interrogative form of the verb Have to has this structure:
Do + subject + have to + verb + (?) (“does” for the third person).

DO PERSON HAVE TO VERB QUESTION MARK
Do I have to take ?
Do you have to take ?
Does he have to take ?
Does she have to take ?
Does it have to take ?
Do we have to take ?
Do you have to take ?
Do they have to take ?
  1. Certainty/reasonably expected
    • This has to be her flat! She said it’s floor 2, flat 13.
    • This house doesn’t have to be in a good state.
    • Do they have to be rich for this house? They live in a 3 bedroom luxury flat in the city center.
  2. Strong obligation
    • The owner said I have to move to another house.
    • She doesn’t have to clean the kid’s clothes everyday.
    • Do we have to clean the mess we made in the kitchen?
  3. Necessity
    • have to buy a new fridge, the one I have is broken.
    • Alissa doesn’t have to search for a student flat.
    • Do they have to paint the walls?
  4. No obligation (Negative)
    • I have to tell you where to look for accommodation.
    • He doesn’t have to clean his room.
    • Do they have to share a flat?

Have to is used to show that there is an obligation imposed by external factors. It is used to show:

  1. That something is reasonably expected or is a certainty (Affirmative, Negative);
  2. A strong obligation (Affirmative, Interrogative);
  3. A necessity (Affirmative);
  4. Don’t have to (Have to – Negative) is used to show that there is no obligation or necessity (Negative).

We use the Modal verb “Have to” to express certainty, necessity or strong obligation which comes outside, from external factors. “Have to” can be expressed in the three forms (Affirmative, Negative and Interrogative).

The structure for Have to in its three forms is:

  • Affirmative: subject + have to + verb (e.g. I have to go to school every day.) (“has” for the third person);
  • Negative: subject + do + not+ have to + verb (e.g. She doesn’t have to go to school every day.) (“does” for the third person);
  • Interrogative: do + subject + have to + verb  + question mark (e.g. Does she have to go to school every day?) (“does” for the third person).

For example:
— “I have to go to school every day.” = It means that the subject is obliged to go to school every day.
— “She doesn’t have to go to school every day.” = It means that it is not necessary for the subject to go to school every day.
— “Does she have to go to school every day?” = We ask if the subject is obliged to go to school every day.

NOTE: “Have to” in its Negative form usually expresses that something is not necessary to be done.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.