We usually say "ought to" not "ought". (Although more often we say "should"). I wonder when I can say "ought" without "to".

Some examples:

  • 1: Ought I to tell him?
  • 2: Yes, you ought to
  • 3: No, you ought not to
  • 4: I don't learn as often as I ought to
  • 5: ‘Ought I to write to say thank you?’ ‘Yes, I think you ought (to).’ (From Oxford Learner's Dictionary)
  • 6: We ought not to have ordered so much food

Can I omit "to" after "ought". Why?

  • Yes, you can. One of its properties as an auxiliary is that it occurs in stranding constructions Note that it occurs more readily when old (as in your examples) than when new cf. ?"He's considering selling his car, but I don't think he ought".
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 21, 2023 at 13:26
  • It depends on whether the speaker has internalized ought as a separate item from oughtta. It's got no other use and it's rare with an uncomplemented infinitive. Phrases such as I ought never to have invited him feel odd, like formalized variants made up on the spot. It's much more likely to be should never have, with no to. And a final ought turns into an oughtta most of the time. Commented Oct 21, 2023 at 16:40


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