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  1. #1
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    Default "must" and "have to"

    I’m not sure when to use these words.
    I have read somewhere that “must” is used when you want it, and “have to” is used when you can’t avoid it. Is that true?
    For example, which should I use when I want to say the following?
    “Please tell Kathy I miss her so much. She must/has to come with you next time”.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "must" and "have to"

    I'd use 'must' there to express how much I want her to be there.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: "must" and "have to"

    Thank you, tdol!

    What does it sound like if I use “has to” there?
    Will the meaning of the sentence change?

  4. #4
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    SweetMommaSue is offline Junior Member
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    Smile Re: "must" and "have to"

    Quote Originally Posted by pink dragon
    Thank you, tdol!

    What does it sound like if I use “has to” there?
    Will the meaning of the sentence change?
    Hello pink dragon,
    To my American ears, they sound the same. They are virtually interchangeable in AE. In some instances, "must" may sound a little more formal, but really, there is no change in meaning.

    Smiles,
    SweetMommaSue

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "must" and "have to"

    They're pretty interchangeable in BrE to. When urging people, we tend to use 'must', but 'have to' would not be incorrect.

  6. #6
    rajan is offline Member
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    Default Re: "must" and "have to"

    have to is used for external compulsions.

    must for personal obligations.



    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    They're pretty interchangeable in BrE to. When urging people, we tend to use 'must', but 'have to' would not be incorrect.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "must" and "have to"

    That doesn't mean that there are not many cases where they can be used interchangeably, and even your distinction is less clearcut in practice because we also use 'must' to express true asbsolutes, many of which are external.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: "must" and "have to"

    Thank you very much, SweetMommaSue, rajan, and tdol!

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