I was watching this clip. In the clip, they say that study has to have been done.

Here's the link to the video

I am a little confused. What does it mean? Does it mean something that happened in the past or should be done in the future?

  • 1
    It surely must have been done (in the past). Apr 13 at 9:07

2 Answers 2


Sense 4 definition for the idiom have to says

  1. used to say that something is very likely

It has to be close to noon.

Edit After @FumbleFingers' Comments

In most context to have to is stronger than very likely, and hence more accurately the OP's example means

... they say that study must have been done.

So it is past.

  • I think in most contexts to have to is a good bit stronger than very likely. Perhaps better rephrased as ... they say that study must have been done. Apr 13 at 10:36
  • Thanks, @FumbleFingers, I have edited my answer. Apr 13 at 11:14

That study has to have been done.

In the sentence above have to is equivalent in meaning to must:

That study must have been done.

The have shows that assuming the study happened, it happened in the past. The sentence is a bit more complicated to understand because it is in the passive. The active versions of both those sentences might be easier to understand:

Someone must have done that study.

Someone has to have done that study.

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