I have recently read in English grammar book like this:

You___________ your notebooks from tomorrow
1. need not bring
2. need not to bring

The answer is need not bring

But why not another?


When the verb need is used as a modal verb (which is an extremely rare case in modern-day spoken English), the verb immediately following it should have no infinitive marker (to). That's something all modal verbs have in common. For instance:

I just could not do it.

You must not see it!

You should bring it to me right now!

Probably, the only time you will ever hear need used as a modal verb would be in mathematics textbooks and programming manuals written in overly formal language (at least that's where I hear it used most often):

The solution to a differential equation need not be unique.

  • I wouldn't call it "extremely rare". The GloWBe corpus has slightly more instances of "need not" (19730) than "not need to" (19120). I wondered if it was a more BrE than AmE, but no: "need not" has slightly more US (3552) than GB (3098) , while "not need to" is the other way round (US 3239 vs. GB 3587). The much large iWeb corpus has "not need to" nearly twice as common as "need not" (145034 vs 83823) . That still doesn't make the latter "exceedingly rare". And yes, I know you said spoken English; but writing on the Web is often informal. – Colin Fine May 29 '20 at 23:01

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