Questions tagged [semi-modals]

Use for questions regarding semi-modals, for example: 'need', 'dare', 'ought to', and 'used to'.

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dare I say (it) [duplicate]

used when you are saying something that you think other people may not like This famous novel is a little, dare I say it, dull. https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/dare-i-say-it Is ...
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the auxiliary “need” (in affirmative sentences?)

I remember being told the modal “need” is used only in interrogative and negative sentences and was for quite a long time more idiomatic than the normal forms, but is there anything wrong with the ...
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Word choice of get vs getting

Yesterday i was texting my grandma, and one of the things I said was: Nothing much going on down here. Were (supposed to) getting lobster rolls from Masons since its National Lobster Day. Now, my ...
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Alternatives for passive forms with semi-modals

It seems that passive forms of semi-modals verbs which ended in 'to' (like: used to, ought to, be able to, be going to, have (got) to) are not so common in everyday speech. Although some passive forms ...
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'Will' or 'Going to'?

I've got two sentences: And now I'll announce the winner of the competition. And now I'm going to announce the winner of the competition. In which sentence the structure is used more accurately? Are ...
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Why doesn't “need” take a “to” infinitive in some cases? [duplicate]

In a book of Alexander McCall Smith I found this phrase: No historical novelists need apply. Why isn't it this with a to for the infinitive? No historical novelist need to apply?
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461 views

Is there a semantic difference between “need not contain” and “do not need to contain”?

This question already outlines what the syntactic differences between "need not" and "do not need to" are. However, a discussion unfolded below this answer about the following quote from this ...
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462 views

“Dare” (modal) and “dare to” [closed]

Is there any difference between "I'd dare to say" and "I dare say"?
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Indispensability of 'to' after 'ought' in British English [closed]

I'm Brazilian, and I need to know which British literature says 'to' is indispensable after the word 'ought'. For example: Your skin color ought not to dictate your future. Could you give me ...
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One dare not disobey? [duplicate]

When a mystery is too overpowering, one dare not disobey. This is a sentence from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I am not sure why dare is in the infinitive, not the third person ...
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Why can't I use a regular modal verb here?

I have a question regarding the following question in a English grammar test: Fill in the correct option in the blank: What  ___  in order to get a permit to work in your country? A) do I need to do ...
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Is it possible to say “we were better” meaning “we better” in the past tense?

I know that textbooks maintain that this phrase (even not exactly this, since it's the "incorrect" version of "we had better") should be used only in the present and future tenses but I wonder if it's ...
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I can say: “You shouldn't have done this!” Can I say: “You had better not have done this!”?

Provided "should" and "had better" are near synonyms (stronger advice in "had better" than in "should" or in more formal "ought to"), I know I can say You shouldn't have done this! But how about ...
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Future Tense of Modal Verbs

All normal verbs can be conjugated in the future tense. e.g. I know, I will know. I do, I will do. But I have noticed that we cannot conjugate the modal verb can in the future tense. can, I ...
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“He didn't dare [verb]” vs. “He didn't dare *to* [verb]” [duplicate]

Which one is correct? If both are correct, is there any difference in the meaning? He didn't dare to contradict his parents. He didn't dare contradict his parents.
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Is it possible to use had to + past participle?

I always think that the proper use of this construction is, for example: 'After the death of her grandfather, she had to take over his duties on the farm'. This is a sentence from my paper, which ...
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Passive of modal verb “dare”

What would be the passive of the following sentence? You dare not talk to her. Also, is it right to say "you dare not talk to her" at all?
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Are there other verbs that work like “dare” and “need”? [duplicate]

The verbs dare and need do not require auxiliaries when used in the interrogative; for example, “need I?” is as acceptable as “do I need?” Excluding the auxiliaries themselves (like be, do, have), ...
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“need to do” vs “need do”

Consider: I need to do this. I need do this. My English grammar knowledge tells me that "need" doesn't have the same status as the modal verbs "may", "can", "should" and what not. Hence the second ...
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“How dare you” vs “How do you dare”

I know that dare is a semi-modal verb. I just don't know when to use it like a modal auxiliary verb and when to use it like a normal verb. Given the following examples: How dare you ... How do ...
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Grammar of 'dare' in this example

What is the grammar of the verb 'dare' in the following example? The pizza was nice but, dare I say it, the salad was awful.  Is it some type of imperative?
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Is it appropriate to omit “to” after “ought”?

Is it appropriate to omit to after ought? I ought to be disciplined for my insolence. Vs. I ought be disciplined for my insolence. Is it okay to omit the to?
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“Dare” with and without “to”

To my surprise, there's a missing question about this particularly interesting verb, dare. All I know about it is the fact it can be in two forms, as an auxiliary (without to: "I dare not mention ...
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Infinitives with “ought not”

Most of the references I can find about the word “ought” indicate that even when negating it, you should use an infinitive: “You ought not to go there.” That sounds quite bad ...
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“Need just [verb]” vs. “need to just [verb]” [duplicate]

I wonder if it's okay to use these interchangeably: You need just accept it. You need to just accept it.
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Why use “need not” instead of “do not need to”?

The header of psyco.sourceforge.net states: High-level languages need not be slower than low-level ones. Why use need not instead of do not need? What does it mean? Also, why no to before be?