Questions tagged [semi-modals]

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

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Real Conditional Clause Plus Present Unreal Main Clause

Is it grammatical to say these four sentences? If I have studied it for four years, I should be good at it. If I had studied it for four years, I should be good at it. If I have been studying it ...
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1 vote
3 answers
543 views

Past tense of "how dare you/he/etc"?

The Cambridge dictionary reads how dare she, you, etc.! used to express anger about something someone has done However, the Oxford Learner's dict. offers in its section "Grammar Point" the ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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I hardly dared breathe

The "Extra Examples" section in the entry of DARE in the Oxford Learner's dict. shows I hardly dared breathe. Dare here forms its past as a (semi)modal verb, yet the position in the sentence ...
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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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0 votes
0 answers
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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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
109 views

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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
42 views

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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0 votes
2 answers
150 views

'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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1 vote
2 answers
193 views

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?
2 votes
1 answer
588 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
485 views

"Dare" (modal) and "dare to" [closed]

Is there any difference between "I'd dare to say" and "I dare say"?
4 votes
3 answers
3k views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
641 views

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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9 votes
2 answers
501 views

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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-1 votes
3 answers
2k views

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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1 vote
3 answers
7k views

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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4 votes
3 answers
36k views

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 will ...
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1 vote
2 answers
8k views

"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.
4 votes
3 answers
3k views

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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
3k views

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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2 votes
3 answers
3k views

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), ...
22 votes
6 answers
97k views

"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", "...
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25 votes
5 answers
95k views

"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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6 votes
2 answers
2k views

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?
13 votes
4 answers
5k views

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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11 votes
2 answers
16k views

"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 ...
10 votes
3 answers
24k views

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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
2k views

"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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71 votes
1 answer
310k views

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?
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