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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > must and have to    

must and have to



silvia.patti
Italy

must and have to
 
Hello everyone. I need your help: in my book there is written that you use have to for an obligation imposed by the outside, but the title of the unit is "You must come straight home". In this case someone else oblige you to return home (after school). My students are confused and me too. Can you help us?
Silvia

25 May 2012      



ldthemagicman
United Kingdom

Dear Silvia,
 
 
I hope that this helps.
 
Les

25 May 2012     



lukelukeluke
United Kingdom

You must come straight home - This is coming from the speaker strongly advising someone (probably a son/daughter)to come home.

If you asked why I couldn ´t stay to play after school, I would say I have to go straight home because of the external obligation (probably from a mother) 

25 May 2012     



AlexandraDores
Portugal

must and have to are synonyms. In fact if you take a look at the leading forms must (modal verb) only occurs in the infinitive  so if you want to give the idea that there is an obigation but in the past you use have to instead of must because the verb have can be used in several verb tenses. You must do the exercise = in the past simple = You had to do the exercise.

25 May 2012     



silvia.patti
Italy

Thank you, and thanks Les for the link Smile

25 May 2012     



ldthemagicman
United Kingdom

Dear Alexandra Dores,

Thank you for your informative Post.

Michael Swan, page 333: "Modal Verbs do not have infinitives or participles".

The verb´have to ´ is described by Quirk, page 145, as "similar to ´must ´ and can stand in for ´must ´ in past constructions, where ´must ´ cannot occur".  So, strictly speaking, ´must ´ and ´have to ´ are not synonyms.

Here are some examples where the two forms are written in a similar fashion, but they have different meanings.

1a) "The Smiths must have lots of money". = "We can assume that The Smith family has lots of money".

1b) "The Smiths have to have lots of money". = "It is necessary for the Smith family to have lots of money".

2a). "Tom is accused of theft, but it mustn ´t be true!" = "... but it can not be true!"

2b). "Tom is accused of theft, but it doesn ´t have to be true!" = "... but it is not necessarily true!"

3a). "Must you wear that green tie in the office?" = "You irritate me when you wear that green tie in the office!"

3b). "Do you have to wear that green tie in the office?" = "Is it an Official Rule that you are obliged to wear that green tie in the office?" 
 
Les

25 May 2012     



lukelukeluke
United Kingdom

What  AlexandraDores has mentioned is that in reported speech MUST becomes HAD TO.

I really must leave - He said he really had to leave.

Sorry only in reporting speech Must changes to Had to

26 May 2012     



ldthemagicman
United Kingdom

Dear Lukelukeluke,
 
The Post from Alexandra Dores does not mention "Reported Speech".
 
Your example of a sentence containing the verb ´must´ , which you then give in Reported Speech using ´had to´, is correct.
 
However, you seem to be saying that: "MUST changes to HAD TO only in Reported Speech."
 
This is not correct.
 
I repeat what Professors Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, Svartick, and Crystal say, in "A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language", (page 145): "In meaning, ´have to´ is similar to ´must´ and can stand in for ´must´ in past constructions, where ´must´ cannot occur".
 
Reported Speech is not mentioned.
 
I give you an example of the use of ´must´ and ´have to´.
 
"Because I am diabetic, I must always take my Insulin injection.  I am having to take it at this very moment, because I need it.  I had to take it yesterday. I had to take it the day before.  I have had to take it every day this week.  I have been taking it for a year now.  And tomorrow, I must also take it.  I will have to take it for the rest of my life.  I wish that I didn ´t have to take Insulin, but I must!"
 
None of the sentences in the above paragraph is a sentence in Reported Speech!
 
I hope that this helps.
 
Les 
 
 

26 May 2012