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  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #1

    "Don't have to" instead of "need not"

    Hello,
    This could become a little bit complex now.

    Okay, we know their meanings:
    "I must not do it." - I just can't do it because it would destroy my health (Example: Hard drugs.)
    "I don't have to do it." - My parents have forbidden me to do this (example: Inviting friends when they are not at home)
    (I'm not 100% sure if "I have not to do it" is okay!)
    "I need not do it." Instead of writing 2+2+2 I just can write 6; the first one is unnecessary.

    So, now the problem:
    In several movies I heard similar conversations like:
    "May I have some drinks, please?"
    "Of course you can! You don't have to ask!"

    This confuses me!
    Why isn't it:
    "You need not ask, just take some drinks!"
    (I learned in these forums that it's okay to write "You need not ask" instead of "You need not to ask".)

    Is this an American English vs. British English topic?

    Cheers!



    • Join Date: Dec 2009
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    #2

    Re: "Don't have to" instead of "need not"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello,
    This could become a little bit complex now.

    Okay, we know their meanings:
    "I must not do it." - I just can't do it because it would destroy my health (Example: Hard drugs.)
    "I don't have to do it." - My parents have forbidden me to do this (example: Inviting friends when they are not at home)
    (I'm not 100% sure if "I have not to do it" is okay!)
    "I need not do it." Instead of writing 2+2+2 I just can write 6; the first one is unnecessary.

    So, now the problem:
    In several movies I heard similar conversations like:
    "May I have some drinks, please?"
    "Of course you can! You don't have to ask!"

    This confuses me!
    Why isn't it:
    "You need not ask, just take some drinks!"
    (I learned in these forums that it's okay to write "You need not ask" instead of "You need not to ask".)

    Is this an American English vs. British English topic?

    Cheers!

    (Not a teacher)

    'I don't have to do it' doesn't mean what you said. 'I don't have to do it' means that you are under no obligation to do whatever 'it' is. If your parents forbid you to do something, then it is 'I must not do it', the same as hard drugs.

    I don't have to do it = I needn't do it = I don't need to do it. They mean the same thing. 'Needn't' is hardly used compared to 'don't need to' and 'don't have to'.

    So, it could be 'You needn't ask, just take some', or 'you don't need to ask, just take some.'

    I would say perhaps 'needn't' is more used in British English than American. I rarely hear it though.

    Your query about 'I have not to do it' is interesting. 'I have not to do it' means exactly something like 'my parents forbade me to do it'. However, 'I have not to do it' doesn't contract to 'I don't have to do it'; you are changing the verb order here and 'do' is the main verb, not the auxiliary (as in 'I don't have to'. The contraction would be 'I haven't to do it'.

  2. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "Don't have to" instead of "need not"

    Alright, it seems I actually confused "Have not to" with "Don't have to".
    Now it makes sense!

    Thanks

    Cheers!

  3. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "Don't have to" instead of "need not"

    Wait a minute!

    I still have one question.
    A while ago I learned these things:

    Must I really (not) do it?
    Should I really
    (not) do it?
    Could I really
    (not) do it?
    Need I really
    (not) do it?
    (They are all grammatically correct.)

    But how would you separate "I have not to do it" and "I don't have to do it"?
    Do I really have
    (not) to do it?
    As far as I know this question belongs to "I have not to do it".
    So what about the
    "I don't have to do it?"??

    Cheers!

  4. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "Don't have to" instead of "need not"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Wait a minute!

    I still have one question.
    A while ago I learned these things:

    Must I really (not) do it?
    Should I really
    (not) do it?
    Could I really
    (not) do it?
    Need I really
    (not) do it?
    (They are all grammatically correct.)

    But how would you separate "I have not to do it" and "I don't have to do it"?
    Do I really have
    (not) to do it?
    As far as I know this question belongs to "I have not to do it".
    So what about the
    "I don't have to do it?"??

    Cheers!
    Do I really (not) have to do it? Try looking at it like this.

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