Dare as an auxiliary verb is used as:

I dare threaten her.

How to change it into the past tense?

Thank you.

  • Kumar it might be helpful if you explained why what you found when you looked for the past tense of dare in the dictionary didn’t help you.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 14, 2019 at 10:49
  • 1
    Virolino's answer is a good one, but I just wanted to point out that you haven't used dare as an auxiliary verb here. It's a lexical verb, but catenative - that is, it takes a non-finite verb phrase as its argument. Auxiliary dare is only used in negative and interrogative forms. Just because a verb appears in front of another verb doesn't mean that it's an auxiliary.
    – SamBC
    Mar 14, 2019 at 10:50

2 Answers 2


According to Wiktionary:

Etymology 1 (verb)

dare (third-person singular simple present dare or dares, present participle daring, simple past dared or (archaic) durst, past participle dared)


Etymology 2 (verb)

dare (third-person singular simple present dares, present participle daring, simple past and past participle dared)

Example (thanks go to @JasonBassford)

I dare (to) threaten her → I dared (to) threaten her.

  • 1
    +1 Although I would provide an actual example. I dare (to) threaten herI dared (to) threaten her. Mar 14, 2019 at 9:43
  • @JasonBassford Your examples are of lexical "dare", not modal auxiliary "dare", which is what the OP asked about.
    – BillJ
    Mar 14, 2019 at 10:04
  • @BilJ: That is exactly the example of the OP. Can you please explain what is the difference between lexical and modal in this context? How can we decide if it is one or the other?
    – virolino
    Mar 14, 2019 at 10:06
  • The OP's example uses lexical date (as a catenative), I suspect the OP is just confused by the difference between catenative and auxiliary verbs.
    – SamBC
    Mar 14, 2019 at 10:47
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    @BillJ: Ah, the taxonomy I'm familiar with differentiates between catenatives and auxiliaries. However, every authority I've found says the OP's example cannot be auxiliary.
    – SamBC
    Mar 14, 2019 at 11:00
  • I dare threaten her.

The modal auxiliary "dare" doesn't have a past tense, and it only occurs in non-affirmative contexts, e.g. "I daren't tell anyone"; "Dare they accept her challenge?"

Your example is not non-affirmative, and hence is ungrammatical, but I daren't threaten her / Dare I threaten her? would be OK.

In order to express past time, you need to use lexical "dare", where the auxiliary "do", (or the perfect) carries the tense:

I didn't dare to tell anyone.

Do they dare to accept her challenge?

She had dared to contradict him.

  • @BillJ: Can you please provide a reference to support your claim, that "dare" does not have a past tense?
    – virolino
    Mar 14, 2019 at 9:38
  • @virolino I said that modal auxiliary "dare" does not have a past tense.
    – BillJ
    Mar 14, 2019 at 9:52

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