I know that modals normally don't have past form, but sometimes they have an other way or equivalent verb to cope and to express them in past tense or future tense. For example:

can becomes could in past tense and for the future we use "will be able to...".

My question now is about the modal "must", how can I apply with equivalents for the past and future?

For example:

You must listen to this recording.

  • 1
    I just found the answer by a friend. Anyway, I'll leave the question here for others who'll seek this question too. Feb 3, 2019 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


You must listen to this recording.

For past*:

had to = must to

You had to listen to this recording.

  • N.b. There's an archaic and very rare past form of "must": mote. It's not common in usage.

For future:

will have to = must to

You will have to listen to this recording.

  • Actually, do not be surprised that must can be found as past tense - but quite rarely, so for active use I strongly agree to recommend learners use forms of have to. Feb 3, 2019 at 22:00
  • While valid substitutes, these are alternative phrases, not transformations of the word "must." They are transformations of the phrase, "have to." I'm not sure there is an actual form of "must" for these tenses.
    – jpmc26
    Feb 3, 2019 at 22:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .