Unit 6.2

Dare as a semi-modal verb


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Introduction

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 or to have the courage to do something.
When it has the function as a modal verb, dare follows all the grammatical rules of modals.

Form

The verb dare is both a main verb and a semi-modal verb.

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 do not apply the -ing form to dare;
  4. we do not add an -s for the third person singular.

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, negative and interrogative.

Affirmative

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

SUBJECT DARE VERB
I/You dare work
He/She/It dare work
We/You/They dare work

Negative

Its full structure, in the negative form, is:
Subject + dare + not + zero infinitive

Negative short form is daren’t:
Subject + daren’t + zero infinitive

SUBJECT DARE + NOT VERB
I/You dare not/daren’t
work
He/She/It dare not/daren’t work
We/You/They dare not/daren’t work

Interrogative

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

DARE SUBJECT VERB QUESTION MARK
Dare I/you work ?
Dare he/she/it work ?
Dare we/you/they work ?

Example

  1. dare not tell everyone they were cowardice. / I dare not to tell everyone they were cowardice.
  2. Dare anyone make a bet there? / Does anyone dare make a bet there?
  3. No one dare speak with a dictator. /  No one is daring speak with a dictator.
  4. She dare show me her diary. / She dares show me her diary.

Use

Dare is used as a semi-modal verb or an ordinary one.

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?

Summary

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 or to have the courage to do something.

When it has the function as a modal verb, dare follows all the grammatical rules of modals: it is followed by the bare infinitive form; we form question and negative forms without the auxiliary do; we do not apply the -ing form to dare; we do not add an -s for the third person singular.

We can use it in its different forms:

  • affirmative: we start with the subject followed by dare and a zero infinitive;
  • negative: we start with the subject followed by dare, not, and a zero infinitive;
  • interrogative: we start with dare followed by the subject and a zero infinitive (the sentence ends with a question mark).

For example:
— Affirmative: “You dare tell our parents what happened yesterday.”
— Negative: “You dare not tell our parents what happened yesterday.”
— Interrogative: Dare you tell our parents what happened yesterday?
♦ “I dare you to tell our parents what happened yesterday.”
= We use dare as a main verb to challenge someone to do something by using the to-infinitive to tell.

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

Exercises

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