Modals of obligation, necessity

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permission, obligation, and necessity:

permission, obligation, and necessity

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permission, obligation, and necessity Can/couldn’t Must Should/ought to Had better I couldn’t take any photos in the gallery, so I bought some postcards of the paintings. Passengers on the bus mustn’t distract the driver. We should/ought to go home on the motorway – it’s much quicker. You' d better stop before you go and break my heart.

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permission, obligation, and necessity Have to Need Be able to Be allowed to Be permitted to Be supposed to I have to study for the exams. You need to be strong. You aren’t supposed to be here.

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We should have / ought to have gone home on the motorway – it would have been quicker. We can use should have or ought to have + past participle to talk about past events which did not happen and which we regret. permission, obligation, and necessity Semantically, there is no real difference between the two constructions, and they can be used interchangeably. “ Should " has become the far more common construction.

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You ’ d better post the parcels today or they won’t get there in time. permission, obligation, and necessity Had better is stronger and more urgent than should / ought to and is often used to give strong advice or a warning. It normally refers to the immediate future.

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have to / have got to We also use have to to express obligations. It can be used in any tense . We can also use have got to to express obligation, but it is normally used for specific occasions rather than repeated or general obligations. permission, obligation, and necessity All passengers will have to fill in an immigration form on arrival. You don’t have to tip here unless you think the service was especially good. I ’ ve got to buy a birthday present for my brother.

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need We use need / don’t need + to + infinitive to say that something is necessary/ unnecessary. You can use these forms for habitual, general, and specific necessity. permission, obligation, and necessity You usually need to check in at least two hours before a flight leaves. I don’t need to take a jacket. It’s going to be hot today.

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need When we want to say that something is unnecessary on a specific occasion, we can also use needn’t + infinitive without to . permission, obligation, and necessity You needn’t lock the car. Nobody will steal it in this village. We use don’t need to (NOT needn’t ) for habitual or general necessity, e.g. I don’t need to wear glasses. My eyesight is still good. NOT I needn’t wear glasses.

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need When something was not necessary, but you did it, we can use either needn’t have + past participle or didn’t need to + infinitive. permission, obligation, and necessity We needn’t have booked / didn’t need to book a table. The restaurant is empty! We had plenty of petrol so we didn’t need to stop , which saved time. When something was not necessary so you did not do it, we must use didn’t need to . NOT We had plenty of petrol so we needn’t have stopped, which saved time.

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be able to , be allowed to , be permitted to , be supposed to We often use be able to or be allowed to + infinitive to talk about what is possible or permitted instead of can , particularly when we want to use a form which can does not have. permission, obligation, and necessity From tomorrow we won’t be able to park in this street. You ’ re not allowed to smoke in any public buildings in our country.

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be able to , be allowed to , be permitted to , be supposed to be permitted to + infinitive is used in formal situations, e.g. notices and announcements, to say what can/can’t be done according to the law or to rules and regulations. It is not permitted to take mobiles into the exam room . permission, obligation, and necessity ! We do not use it followed by be allowed to. NOT It isn’t allowed to take mobiles into the exam room.

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be able to , be allowed to , be permitted to , be supposed to We can also use be supposed to + infinitive to say what people should or shouldn’t do, often because of rules. There is often a suggestion that the rules are not necessarily obeyed, e.g. Students are not supposed to have guests after 12.00, but everyone does. permission, obligation, and necessity We are supposed to check in at 3.30. What’s the time now? You aren’t supposed to park here – it’s a hospital entrance.