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6. Necessity: have to and must


1 Present, past and future

We use must and have to/has to to say that something is necessary.
You'll be leaving college soon. You must think about your future.
We're very busy at the office. I have to work on Saturday morning.
Mark has to get the car repaired. There's something wrong with the brakes.

When we use the past, or the future with will, we need a form of have to.
Emma had to go to the dentist yesterday. NOT She must go to the dentist yesterday.
That wasn't very good. We'll have to do better next time.
And in other structures we also use a form of have to, not must.
To-ifinitive: I don't want to have to wait in a queue for ages.
After a modal verb: Emma has toothache. She might have to go to the dentist.
Present Perfect: Mark has had to drive all the way to Glasgow.

For negatives and questions with have to/has to and had to, we use a form of do.
I don't have to work on Sundays.
Why does Alldrew have to study every evening?
Did you have to pay for your second cup of coffee? - No, I didn't.
I don't have to work means that it is not necessary for me to work.

2 Must or have to?

Both must and have to express necessity, but we use them differently.


We use must when the speaker feels that
something is necessary.
You must exercise. (I'm telling you.)
We must be quiet. (I'm telling you.)

I/we must can also express a wish.
I must buy a newspaper. I want to see the racing
We must invite Claire. She's wonderful company.


We use have to when the situation makes
something necessary.
I have to exercise. (The doctor told me.)
We have to be quiet. (That's the rule.)

I have to buy a newspaper. The boss asked me to
get one.
We have to invite Trevor and Laura. They invited
us last time.

3 Have got to

Have got to means the same as have to, but have got to is informal. We use it mainly in the present.
I have to / I've got to make my sandwiches.
My father has to / has got to take these pills.
Do we have to apply/Have we got to apply for a visa?

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