Unit 11.2

Dare as a semi-modal verb

Modal Verbs

The verb dare is both a main verb and a semi-modal verb. It means to challenge someone to do something he/she is afraid of doing.

When it has the function as a modal verb, dare follows all the grammatical rules of Modals.
{See Can: Modals of Ability, Level A1}

Dare, as an semi-modal verb, always has the same form even for the third person, and we find this structure in its three forms.

Affirmative

Its structure, in the affirmative form, is:
Subject + dare + complement

SUBJECTDAREVERB
I/Youdarework
He/She/Itdarework
We/You/Theydarework

Negative

Its structure, in the negative form, is:
Subject + dare + not + complement

Negative short form is: daren’t.

SUBJECTDARE + NOTVERB
I/Youdare not
work
He/She/Itdare notwork
We/You/Theydare notwork

Interrogative

Its structure, in the interrogative form, is:
Dare + subject + complement + ?

DARESUBJECTVERBQUESTION MARK
DareI/youwork?
Darehe/she/itwork?
Darewe/you/theywork?
  1. dare you tell everyone they were cowardice.
  2. Dare anyone make a bet there?
  3. No one dare speak with a dictator.
  4. S/he dares

There is not a clear rule about when to use dare as a semi-modal verb or an ordinary one.

When we use dare as a modal verb:

  1. We do not find the to + verb after dare;
  2. We form question and negative forms without the auxiliary do;
  3. We don’t apply the -ing form to dare;
  4. We don’t add an -s for the third person singular.

NOTE: Dare is not a very common verb, but we use it above all in set phrases such as: Don’t you dare! or How dare you?

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