Modals of obligation? Do I have to?!

Zach is back with another 60 second lesson. In today’s lesson, he’s going to go through the uses of have and must. These are modals of obligation.

Do you have to watch this video? Yes, you must!

Remember: an obligation is something you have to do.

Sometimes you might not want to do it, but you are obligated. In this case, the obligation comes from someone else, it could be a rule or a law that you have to follow.

To express obligation in the present tense we use have to.

I have to finish my assignment.

You have to cook dinner tonight!

If you have no obligation, if you don’t have to do something, you can express the negative form by placing don’t in front of the phrase. Like I just did.

I don’t have to do what you say!

You don’t have to do the food shopping. Do it tomorrow!

If we want to show that you have an obligation but it isn’t a law or a rule, we use the modal must. Must is often used when the obligation is more personal. It also expresses an urgency.

Let’s look at some examples:

I must call my parents tonight.

I must write that report for the meeting.

You must complete your homework before the next class!

If we want to create the negative form of must. We simply add not after must.

You must not feed the ducks.

You must not cheat on the test.

Remember must not or the contracted version of mustn’t means something is not allowed or prohibited.

Now, get out there and start practising!

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There are many different ways to use modals in English, and grasping them can sometimes prove difficult. With Lingoda, you can take part in classes specially tailored to this subject. You will use modals in context and enhance your speaking experience.