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What is the difference between "I have got to study on weekends" and "I have to study on weekends"?

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    Note that when have is used in this "obligation" sense (without got, as the phrasal verb to have to [do something]), it's effectively a different word (normally pronounced haff, or hass for 3rd person singular). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jul 11 '16 at 14:39
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Have to X means to be obligated to do X or to be required to do X.

Have got to X is an emphasized version of this. Usually when this is said, X or the condition requiring X is urgent or happening soon, or been around awhile and requiring attention right now. It's informal/colloquial.

I'm getting tired and hungry. We have to get out of here soon.

That building's on fire. We have got to get out of here right now.


Going with your examples:

I have to study on weekends.

Something is requiring you to study on weekends. Perhaps a family member is insisting you spend your free weekend time studying, or it's the only free time you have.

I have got to study on weekends.

This sounds like you have a test coming up very soon and really need to study all you can now, or you failed a test because you weren't studying and are telling someone who is disappointed in you what you can to prevent an issue in the future.

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    I don't agree that "I have got to" is necessarily any more emphatic than "I have to". It can be, but many uses of "got to" are not particularly strong (especially in the rapid form "gotta"), and "I have to" also occurs. I don't think there's any systematic difference between the two – Colin Fine Jul 11 '16 at 14:34

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