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I knew I had to get this award

This means this award had to be mine (it was bound to happen)...

Or does it mean I needed to get this award?

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It means 'I knew that I wanted this award so much that I would experience a lot of pain if I did not win it'. A similar expression would be 'I have to have her'. That means: 'I want her so much that if I don't have her, then I will experience a lot of pain.'

  • Doesn't it mean this award had to be mine. It was bound to happen? – user61918 Sep 16 '17 at 6:42
  • No, it doesn't. But I see why you think that. When someone says: 'the bridge was so decayed that it had to fall down', in that context 'had' means 'bound to happen'. – bobsmith76 Sep 16 '17 at 6:43
  • Using 'had' in those contexts is not very good English and is discouraged because it's so vague. – bobsmith76 Sep 16 '17 at 6:44

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