I'm looking for other ways to express that something may be a certain way but doesn't have to be so. Are there any - preferably with a smaller number of words - ways for saying that?

Example phrase:

The model doesn't have to fulfill the mentioned criteria. (It may though)

closed as too broad by tchrist Aug 3 '17 at 18:32

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • How about 'the model may fulfill the mentioned criteria'? – user250870 Aug 3 '17 at 17:52
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    I have edited your question pretty significantly. I think this reflects your request, as you openly admit you don't have a specific word you need a synonym for (which is what synonym request typically are), but rather need a way to phrase your meaning. Also, the answers already given are meeting the need of a phrase, rather than a synonym. If you do not agree, please feel free to change it back or edit it to something more to your liking. – Patrick M Aug 3 '17 at 18:32
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    @PatrickM Thanks! You stayed exactly with what I wanted – lucidbrot Aug 3 '17 at 18:36
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    @tchrist What is the recommended action for me to take if this question was put on hold as too broad but it is exactly what I meant and got some good answers? I don't really care about specifying it further - is it okay to just leave the question as it is? – lucidbrot Aug 3 '17 at 19:08
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    I'd just leave it but you can always post to our meta if you think this was done in error. The reason I closed it is because writing requests are unlikely ever to help future visitors to our site. They are open-ended matters everyone can and eventually will take a random shot at it, and there can be no objective criteria for judging a correct answer. – tchrist Aug 3 '17 at 19:18

One way of saying this is need not:

The model need not fulfil the specified criteria.

It's an odd construction, but means exactly what you want: "it doesn't have to, although it can".

  • And this is suitable for ELU rather than ELL? – Edwin Ashworth Aug 3 '17 at 22:20

From Cambridge:

short form of need not:
You needn't come until later.

The model needn't fulfill the mentioned criteria.


You can express it like this:

That is not necessarily how you must do <blank>.

This implies it can be done a different way without providing details.

You can also use the word "may".

The model may fulfill the criteria. (Which implies they may not).

It depends on how you are expressing the phrase and in what context.

Hope it helps!

  • Could I also use "must not neccessarily fulfill..." then? – lucidbrot Aug 3 '17 at 17:57
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    I would not use must not necessarily, but I can't tell you why that sounds wrong. – Davo Aug 3 '17 at 17:58
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    @Davo maybe that would be read like "must (not necessarily fulfill ...)" instead of "(must not) necessarily fulfill". I can't pinpoint what would be wrong with that either, though. (Parantheses for what belongs together) – lucidbrot Aug 3 '17 at 18:00
  • I don't see how one can be compelled (must) to optionally (not necessarily) meet some criteria. – Davo Aug 3 '17 at 21:02

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