I have usually seen sentences written with need to, for example:

All you need to do is call me for help.

However, I came across a sentence like below in a published book.

In this case, we only need consider X, Y, and Z.

Is it okay to omit the "to" as above?

Somehow, "All you need do is call me for help." doesn't sound right. What is the rule regarding this?

  • 2
    – user230
    Feb 25, 2014 at 9:20
  • 1
    It's opposite to you need not do that which does not take need not to
    – Maulik V
    Feb 25, 2014 at 9:31
  • Actually, you could say "You need not to do that", but it would be understood as "You need to NOT do that", which is quite different from "You don't need to do that/ You need not do that" Jan 11, 2015 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


To need and need

Any grammar will tell you that the verb to need is a normal or full verb. But as the modality "necessity" is so often used in spoken language speakers often use it as a genuine modal verb and add the infinitive without to. It is your choice which variant you prefer to use.

See the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary at need modal verb. The only thing the entry lacks is a hint that "need" is also a full verb. But OALD has a second entry for need verb.

  • @StoneyB Sorry, my laptop broke down and at the moment I'm writing with a tablet which does not allow making links.
    – rogermue
    Feb 25, 2014 at 12:03
  • Thank you so much. Could you add the two links, for to need, verb and need, modal verb?
    – rogermue
    Feb 25, 2014 at 12:08

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