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Unit 7.1

Have to: Modals of Obligation

Modal Verbs

A modal verb is a type of auxiliary (helping) verb that has no meaning on its own but it modifies the main verb, changes its meaning and gives more details about actions.

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

Have to can be expressed in the three forms:

Affirmative

Its structure, in the affirmative form, is:
Subject + have/has to + verb + …

  • Have/has: in the affirmative form, the third person singular changes from have to has.
SUBJECTHAVE TOVERB
I/Youhave towork
He/She/Ithas towork
We/You/Theyhave towork

Negative

Its structure, in the negative form, is:
Subject + do/does + not + have to + verb + …

  • Do/does: in the negative form, the third person singular changes from do to does;
  • Short forms of the negative form are the same as the short form of present simple: I don’t – you don’t – he doesn’t…
PERSONNEGATIONHAVE TOVERB
I/Youdo nothave towork
He/She/Itdoes nothave towork
We/You/Theydo nothave towork

Interrogative

Its structure, in the interrogative form, is:
Do/does + subject + have to + verb + …?

  • Do/does: in the interrogative form the third person singular changes from do to does.
DOPERSONHAVE TOVERBQUESTION MARK
DoI/youhave towork?
Doeshe/she/ithave towork?
Dowe/you/theyhave towork?
  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? They live in a 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)
    • We don´t have to ride a horse.
    • He doesn’t have to clean his room.
    • They don´t have to return from the island?

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, interrogative);
  2. A strong obligation (affirmative, interrogative);
  3. A necessity (affirmative, negative, interrogative);
  4. Unnecessity or no obligation to do something (negative).

The modal verb have to expresses certainty,  strong obligation, necessity or no obligation which comes outside, from external factors.

The structures are:

  • Affirmative: Subject + have/has to + verb + …
  • Negative: Subject + do/does + not + have to + verb + …
  • Interrogative: Do/does + subject + have to + verb + …?

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

NOTE: Don’t have to (negative form of have to) 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.

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Have to: Modals of Obligation Copyright © 2018 by My Language Skills. All Rights Reserved.