Is it grammatically correct to use "don’t have to" at the end of a sentence?

Ex: we can walk to our house if you want. But we_____. The bus will come.

And if we can use it here, where’s the verb after (to)? Can it be deleted if it’s already understood?


It is grammatically correct. It is referring to the verb phrase just mentioned, which is "walk to our house" in this example.

"Don't have", instead, would be ambiguous, whereas the "to" in "don't have to" indicates that it is referring to the verb or verb phrase just mentioned.

  • 4
    Yes, it's a case of Elision. Many a sentence has been lost in the Elision Fields. – Hot Licks Jun 8 '20 at 2:49
  • 2
    @HotLicks - You have one of those for every occasion, don't you? Keep up the good work. – nnnnnn Jun 8 '20 at 3:38

To a lady at dinner who decried the current vulgarity of ending a sentence with a preposition, Winston Churchill replied, "Madam that is something up with which I will not put." In order words, avoiding ending prepositions is a guideline, not an absolute. In this case, the idiom is that "have to" means "must", and so the ending preposition is justified (if, that is, you must use "have to" for that purpose).

  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition. See this answer. On top of that, to is not a preposition in that construction, it's an infinitive marker. – Robusto Jun 8 '20 at 13:02
  • You are correct; my bad. But then, there is nothing absolute in grammar, and sometimes a preposition is an inelegant syntactical choice to end a sentence with. – dmms Jul 18 '20 at 21:36

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