When do we use “have to”?

by Sep 30, 2019English Grammar Tips, English Time Ask Elo

When do we use “have to”?

When do we use “have to”?

Modal Verbs – English Grammar Explanations

When do we use “have to”?

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When do we use “have to”?

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When do we use “have to”?

Asked by @ Kennedy Tobaiwa Chitsika (Community Student)

What are modal verbs

Answered by @ Elo Kasia

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When do we use “have to”?


Modal Verbs – How to Use Must, Have to and Should – English Grammar Lesson


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TO BE with expressions of obligation, request and command


When do we use Question Time: When do we use “have to”?


When do we use   @ Kennedy Tobaiwa Chitsika , Thank you for your question.

When do we use   As usual, I will try to explain the difference using simple language and plenty of examples.

Have to is often grouped with modal verbs, but in fact it is not a modal verb. It has a similar meaning to “must”, however, it behaves like a normal verb:
  • it changes in 3rd person singular (have to – has to),
  • uses “helping” verbs to form questions and negatives (Do I have to go?)
  • and takes different forms depending on the tense (I had to leave the party)
I have to do something = it is necessary for me to do something.
  • I start work at 6 am so I have to get up early.
  • Sam has to pass this test if he wants to work for us.
  • We have to work late tonight to make up the extra orders.


In the past tense we use “had to”:

  • I couldn’t stay last night, I had to go home and study.


In the future tense we use “will have to”:

  • You will have to roll up your sleeves and get down to work if you want to get into that college.



For questions and negatives we need to use “helping verbs” depending on the tense.

  • Do you have to do military service in your country?
  • Did she have to tell him about our plans?
  • Will they have to memorise all these rules?
  • I don’t have to wear a uniform in my new workplace.
  • She doesn’t have to walk, she can take a bus.



Difference between “must” and “have to”.


Must and have to are often used interchangeably and “have to” sometimes replaces “must” when we need to use a different tense. For example if you want to say “I must go” in the past tense you say “I had to go” as it is impossible to use “must” in the past with the meaning of obligation. “Have to” is also less formal.


However, there are small differences in meaning


Both “must” and “have to” can be used to express what you think is necessary, when you are giving your opinion.

  • It’ a great film. You must see it. or You have to see it.


When you are not giving your personal opinion, and talking about rules and regulations use “have to”.

  • In many countries, men have to do military service.
  • You have to pay to park here.



Watch out! In their negative forms, mustn’t and don’t have to have completely different meanings:


Mustn’t expresses prohibition

  • You mustn’t drive. You are prohibited to drive. You are not allowed to drive.


Don’t have to expresses the absence of obligation or necessity:

  • You don’t have to drive. You are not obliged to drive (but you can if you want to).
Make sure you follow our *TT exercises to practise.



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When do we use Elo Kasia

Community Mentor for English Grammar and Speaking Academy“.

Director at Eloquent Learning Online, educational institution based in the UK. www.eloquentlearning.com.

When do we use “have to”?

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When do we use “have to”?