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English The Easy Way

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Confusing Words In English

Have To & Must

A lot of people ask me what is the different between "have to" & must.

Grammatical Differences

"Have to" can be used as a main verb

"Must" is a modal verb, and it can't be used as a main verb, so a main verb must be added, to the sentence when using "must"

Difference In Meaning

There is also a slight meaning between the two word, but many people use the same words interchangeably.

Must - is used for obligation, something that you do not have any choice, such as pay taxes, go to work, go to school etc.

  • I must go and pay the electric bill.
  • We must have car insurance on our car.
  • I must walk my dog on a leash.

Have to - is used more for responsibilities, such as take care of your car, keep your house/room clean, do your homework etc.

  • I have to the store.
  • We have to see my son's teacher.
  • I have to call my sister she is not feeling well.

Must not means forbidden!! not allowed to do something or go somewhere

  • I must not pay the electric bill late.
  • We must not drive a car without car insurance.
  • I must not let the dog outside without a leash.

Do not have to - is used to say something is not necessary to do, but you can do it if you want

  • I do not have to go to the store.
  • We do not have to see my son's teacher.
  • I do not have to call my sister she, because I will see her latter.

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