- English Grammar B2 Level - https://open.books4languages.com/english-b2-grammar -

Dare as a semi-modal verb

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.
{See Can: Modals of Ability [1]A1 level}

Form

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.

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 + zero infinitive

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

Negative

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

Negative short form is: daren’t.

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

There is not a clear rule about when to use dare 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.
{See Can: Modals of Ability [1], A1 level}

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.

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.