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15. Must, have to and need in the Interrogative

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Asking External authority

the authority

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Future must I? etc. shall I/we have to? shall I/we need to?

need I? etc. will he have to? will he need to?

Present must I? etc. do I/we have to? do I/we need to?

need I etc. does he have to? does he need to?

have I/we (got) to?

has he (got) to?

Past did he have to? etc.

did he need to? etc.

had he got to? etc.

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Both need? and must? are used to ask about the wishes or intentions of the person one is speaking to. Need? also implies that the speaker is hoping for a negative answer: Must I go, mother? and Need I go, mother? mean the same, but in the second question the speaker is hoping that his mother will say No. Note possible answers:

Shall I have to go? - Yes, you will/No, you won’t.

Have I got to go? - Yes, you have/ No, you haven’t.

Does he have to go? - Yes, he does/No, he doesn’t.

Need I go? - Yes, you must/No, you needn’t.

Must I go? - Yes, you must/No, you needn’t.

16. NEEDN’T + Perfect Infinitive

If you say that somebody needn’t have done something, it means that he did it, but that it was unnecessary: he wasted his time.

You needn’t have woken me up: I don’t have to go to work today.

She needn’t have hurried.

17. Needn’t have done Compared with didn’t have/need to do

A. needn’t have done: no obligation but action performed (unnecessarily), i.e. time wasted:

You needn’t have watered the flowers, for it’s going to rain.

(waste of time)

He needn’t have bought such a large house. His wife would have been quite happy in a cottage. (waste of money)

B. Didn’t have/need to do: no obligation, and normally no action:

I didn’t need to translate it for him for he understands Dutch.

I didn’t have to cut the grass myself. My brother did it.

(no obligation and no action)