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Questions tagged [semi-modals]

Questions related to verbs that share some of the features of the principal modal verbs, e.g. ought, had better, dare and need.

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Can we use “need” in this way: “You seem to need danger and thrills in your life.”

I have been reading a British newspaper. On the newspaper, a counsellor advises a woman who have risked her life and tried dangerous things and is now upset. So, amongst many other things, councellor ...
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1answer
839 views

You'll be okay. Vs. You're gonna be okay

I heard you use Will for the facts and something that you believe as true, and Be going to to show simple prediction or something about to happen. Then which is the strong sentence between those on ...
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2answers
333 views

“Must” and “cannot” with “be going to”

My father and I have been discussing whether it is possible to concatenate the semi-modal verb "be going to" with modal verbs "must" or "cannot". In our opinion, which we both agreed on, this ...
2
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1answer
814 views

“Oughtn't to” and the past tense of it

Is the sentence below grammatically ok? Or something is wrong with it? They oughtn't to have worked harder. Or They ought to have worked harder. Can we use past simple from ought - oughted? I ...
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3answers
148 views

“like to…” as a semi-modal

As I would like to use "like to" ( which I've read somewhere that is a semi-modal verb) in different tenses I encountered some problems to use it. What I mean "like to" as a modal verb similar to "be ...
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1answer
7k views

ought not to do or ought not do

There are two sources, which contradict each other. The first one: Notice "Ought not" Remember that "ought to" loses the "to" in the negative. Instead of "ought not to," we say "ought not." The ...
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2answers
56 views

Questions about use(d) to go

Which one is correct, or are all the sentences correct? 3rd sentence made me confuse. 1- I didn't use to go swimming a lot. 2- I used not to go swimming a lot. 3- I didn't used to go swimming a ...
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2answers
145 views

Is “'ve to” instead of “have to” correct?

I need your help. So, "have to" instead of "must" is correct, but can I abbreviate this with 've to? Is this a mistake, or can I use it so???
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4answers
3k views

Difference between “asked” and “were to ask” in conditional sentences? [duplicate]

What is the difference in the meanings of the following sentences: If you asked me, I would say no. If you were to ask me, I would say no. I know that these sentences express imagination of the ...
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2answers
594 views

Which verb form to use after "had better do that it

What is the right verb form for "had better" sentences? For example: She had better remember that she has to leave the city soon. She had better remember that she have to leave the city soon (...
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2answers
9k views

“have to?” in question tag

How can I use "have to" in question tags? Which one is correct? Can I say it both ways? He has to come alone, doesn’t he? or He has to come alone, hasn’t he?
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2answers
16k views

What is the past form of “ought to”?

I ought to help him . I ought to have helped him. Shall I use (have + past participle) for the past form of ought to?
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1answer
300 views

Correct use of passive causative structures

I am asked to write on "things you want to have done". My interpretation of that question is I have to write on things I want people do for me, not things I wish I had done in the past. Correct ? ...
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4answers
377 views

were having to make everything up

When he talks of "enemies of the people", the analogies with Stalinist Russia and other 20th-century regimes are so glaring that you have to keep reminding yourself that the French Revolutionaries ...
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2answers
187 views

What should we call the clause after “would rather”?

I’d rather you stayed at home tonight. What should we call the clause after "would rather"? Are they "object clause"?
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1answer
1k views

The meaning of “couldn't have been”

When "could" is used as a modal meaning "possibility in the past", what does its negative form, i.e. "couldn't have done", mean? Is it means something is impossible or something is possibly not true? ...
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2answers
225 views

Present continuous or “going to”

Imagine this scenario: I reserved in a restaurant two days ago. Today I've met my friend and have told him: "I am dining out in a restaurant next Monday." Here is my question: is present ...
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1answer
632 views

when to use “had better”

I need your help. I have the following three statements: People should unplug toasters before they clean them. You should have unplugged the toaster before you tried to clean it. You had ...
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2answers
1k views

“past continuous tense” vs “would + infinitive”

First example: Maria thought John was going to invite her to the party. Mary thought John would invite her to the party. Second example: They thought the film was going to start at 8:...
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3answers
905 views

I'd rather something do something else — grammar pattern

Example (audio version: http://tindeck.com/listen/wtoo): You may not have ever come across this before. For example, my food order ID, I want it to be an Autonumber data type because I don't care ...
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5answers
1k views

Using 'to be going to do something' instead of future simple ('will')

In Oxford English Grammar Course by Michael Swan & Catherine Walter (OUP 2011) I have come across the following example: Jennifer's eight, and she doesn't know what she's going to do. One day ...
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2answers
2k views

In depth explanation of the difference between “will” and “going to”?

Background My wife and I take English classes provided by our companies, so we have different teachers. So now it happened that we had the same topic: future. Both teachers are native English ...
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3answers
183 views

Is there an insinuation after 'had better'?

You’d better bloody well tell them you’ll need to discuss it with me first. (The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling) Whenever I saw a bare-infinitive follow close behind ‘had better,’ I thought ‘had ...
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5answers
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Using “will” vs “be going to” [duplicate]

It is a very confusing concept, when to use "will" or "be going to". Both of them refer to the future but there is a slight difference. One of the differences that I have found and I was confused ...
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2answers
806 views

Modal 'need' vs Regular 'need'

I read https://english.stackexchange.com/q/103230/50720 and understand the grammatical differences, but their usage still confuses me. Answerer Cereberus writes: It is slightly old fashioned. ...
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5answers
139 views

I'd better get a quart

I'd better get a quart. (daum.net) There’s a had better usage in the above. I’m not trying to figure out what the original it would have been, but can this construction below be made? (When I, the ...
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1answer
103 views

Using the verb need through non affirmative structures

Longman:" Verb patterns You can say that you need to do something • I need to clean (NOT I need clean) the house". As we normally use this pattern need +verb about non-affirmative structures and in ...
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1answer
63 views

“Somewhere a man must begin, and it had better be just where another man might stop” (Chesterton)

From Chesterton's Blue Cross, describing a detective's tactic when said detective finds himself without a clue as to the whereabouts of the criminal he's after: In such cases he reckoned on the ...
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2answers
1k views

I used to study at Cambridge School

I used to study at Cambridge School. I am used to studying at Cambridge School. If the verb is continuous tense, it need to be added "verb to be" before used to?
2
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1answer
175 views

Does adding 'don't' make the sentence more intense in 'don't dare'?

If I say... I don't dare call her a muttonhead Vs. I daren't call her a muttonhead. Does putting 'don't' emphasize more on my daring (of calling her that) as compared to a simple version 'daren'...
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1answer
144 views

Can “to” in “need to” be omitted?

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 ...
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1answer
5k views

need be made vs need to be made

"It needs to be made" is familiar, but "it needs be made" never heard of until a moment ago, and that's when @j-r wrote it in a comment. Is it standard or dialect, and if it's standard, is it informal?...
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2answers
683 views

Need with perfect infinitive

I know the difference between 1) I needn’t have done it (but I did it) – I didn’t need to do it (and I didn't do it.) But do these make sense? I have come across them being uttered or written by ...
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1answer
133 views

Can lexical need be used for epistemic meaning?

[i] He needn’t have told her. [epistemic or deontic] [ii] He might have killed her. [epistemic or dynamic] In [i] the perfect is internal in the epistemic reading (“It isn’t necessarily ...
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1answer
406 views

complement of lexical verb 'dare'

"Never mind that, do you think he remembers what You-Know-Who looks like?" Their mother suddenly became very stern. "I forbid you to ask him, Fred. No, don't you dare. As though he needs ...
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1answer
105 views

'to have to use' and 'to use'

I am going to have to use it quite a lot today. I am going to use it quite a lot today. If both are correct, when should I use to have to use and when to use?
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1answer
652 views

Is 'rather + pronoun + root-verb' pattern possible?

I had much rather we not stay. (Random House) I'd rather you didn't go out alone. (Longman) If the first sentence is possible, I guess, the second one can be re-write as “I’d rather you not go out ...
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3answers
4k views

“I had better eat something”

I was talking with a friend of mine when she said, "I had better eat something and get some sleep." I thought she was saying it was better if she ate something earlier, but that was not what she meant....
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2answers
29k views

Using “ought” in a question: “Ought I celebrate?” or “Do I ought to celebrate?”

How do I ask a question using ought? Ought I congratulate him? (like in this post) But I ought to congratulate is easily turned into Do I ought to congratulate, just like I have congratulate becomes ...
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1answer
4k views

Should vs. had better

What is the difference between "should" and "had better"? Consider these sentences for example: It's cold outside. You should wear a coat. It's cold outside. You'd better wear a coat. What are the ...