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  • Learn the Basic Modal Verbs for Obligation

    • Unfinished
    • High Beginner
    • Modal verb
    • Auxiliary verb
    • Must
    • Have to
    • Ought to

    Modal verb Auxiliary verb Must Have to Ought to

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  • What's Inside?

    Learn and practice the modal verb "must" and semi-modal verbs "have to" with the AI tutor. Learn to use the modal verbs in a sentence.

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What Is A Modal Verb?

Understand what a modal verb is, and understand how to use "must", "have to", and "ought to".

Modal verbs are words like "must", "should", "can", and "could". They add so much meaning to a sentence.

Read the following sentence:

This man needs to see a dentist.

A man with toothache

You can use the modal verb "must" and rewrite this sentence.

This man must see a dentist.

Semi-modal verbs are "have to" and "ought to" patterns. "have to" and "ought to" are similar to "must".

A man with toothache

This man has to see a dentist.

This man ought to see a dentist.

To make a negative sentence, add "not" after "must".

This man must not wait.

For a negative sentence involving "ought to", add "not" after "ought" - "ought not to". This is not used too frequently.

For a negative sentence involving "have to", just say "don't have to". Be careful: "don't have to" and "must not" are different!

"You must not be careless." - Being careless is not okay.

"You don't have to be careless." - Being careless is okay. Being not careless is also okay.

Grammar Rule

Subject + modal verb + verb (base form) + object.

Subject + modal verb + not + verb (base form) + object.

Subject + have (has) to + verb (base form) + object.

Subject + don't (doesn't) + have to + verb (base form) + object.

Subject + ought to + verb (base form) + object.

Subject + ought not to + verb (base form) + object.

More examples

A man with an empty fridge

This man needs to buy some food.

= This man must buy some food.

= This man ought to buy some food.

= This man has to buy some food.

Children going to school

Children need to go to school.

= Children must go to school.

= Children have to go to school.

= Children ought to go to school.

A woman with messy hair

She needs to comb her hair.

= She must comb her hair.

= She ought to comb her hair.

= She has to comb her hair.

A driver talking and driving

You must not talk and drive.

= You ought not to talk and drive.

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