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  1. #1

    Need vs. Need to

    Thanks for entering!

    There's this excerpt from a book called Modal Expressions in English


    ...
    The non-tautologous nature of a sentence like:

    (A)You needn't go to the toilet if you don't need to.

    clearly brings out the difference between auxiliary NEED and non-auxiliary NEED TO, which closely parallels the distinction between auxiliary MUST and non-auxiliary HAVE TO. It is that whereas auxiliary NEED is compatible with either a subjective or an objective interpretation, NEED TO is restricted to an objective interpretation.
    ...


    Why is sentence (A) non-tautologous? It's really confusing. Would anyone please help with this?

    I have these conflicting interpretations.

    1) It's likely to be uttered by a teacher to a student who is saying that he needs to go to the bathroom but who is clearly lying.
    Paraphrase: If your body doesn't compel you to go to the toilet, you should not go to the toilet.

    2) Paraphrase: If your body doesn't compel you to go to the toilet, you need not go to the toilet. (Which I think is somewhat tautologous)

    Thanks for your view on this.
    Last edited by peteryoung; 23-May-2005 at 14:50.


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    #2

    Re: Need vs. Need to

    It's a good example to differentiate the "axuiliary need" and the "general verb need". It wouldn't be that tautologous becasue one avoids repeating the same word.


    You don't need to go to the toilet if you don't need to. (repeating)


    I wouldn't say it non-tautologous.

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    #3

    Re: Need vs. Need to

    You needn't go = it is not necessary to go (no obligation from the speaker or authority)
    if you don't need to = if your body isn't telling you to go (no physical urgency)

    It's non-tautologous because the verb carries a different meaning in the clause.

  2. Steven D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Need vs. Need to

    Dialog - Dialogue

    When should you go to the toilet?

    A - You need not go to the toilet if you don't have to.

    B - Thanks for the info! I appreciate it....... But what if I need to?

    A - In that case, you can, but you don't have to.

    B - But I probably should, right?

    A - Yes, it would be a good idea if you need to, but if you don't have to, then you need not go.

    B - I need not go if I don't have to? Wow! This is great information. Thanks!

    A - Don't mention it.

  3. #5

    Re: Need vs. Need to

    [QUOTE=X Mode]Dialog - Dialogue

    When should you go to the toilet?


    Here is my little off topic question.
    Is go to the toilet an American thing to say? Here in Canada we say we go to the washroom. Never heard it before. Interesting...

  4. Steven D's Avatar
    Senior Member
    English Teacher

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    #6

    Re: Need vs. Need to

    [QUOTE=Marylin]
    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    Dialog - Dialogue

    When should you go to the toilet?


    Here is my little off topic question.
    Is go to the toilet an American thing to say? Here in Canada we say we go to the washroom. Never heard it before. Interesting...

    Americans usually say "go to the bathroom".


    Last edited by Steven D; 24-May-2005 at 18:41. Reason: left out a word


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    #7

    Re: Need vs. Need to

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    Dialog - Dialogue

    When should you go to the toilet?

    A - You need not go to the toilet if you don't have to.

    B - Thanks for the info! I appreciate it....... But what if I need to?

    A - In that case, you can, but you don't have to.

    B - But I probably should, right?

    A - Yes, it would be a good idea if you need to, but if you don't have to, then you need not go.

    B - I need not go if I don't have to? Wow! This is great information. Thanks!

    A - Don't mention it.

    You sound like a bathroom philosopher.

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    #8

    Re: Need vs. Need to

    In BrE, we go to the toilet, or lavatory if you want to sound posh.


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    #9

    Re: Need vs. Need to

    No kidding?

    If I translate it directly from Chinese, we would call it "hand-washing room". If you are in a posh restaurant, you may see that sign in lady's room that read "A place where you can hear the raindrops" and gent's, "A place where you can hear the waterfall."


  5. #10

    Re: Need vs. Need to

    Quote Originally Posted by blacknomi
    No kidding?

    If I translate it directly from Chinese, we would call it "hand-washing room". If you are in a posh restaurant, you may see that sign in lady's room that read "A place where you can hear the raindrops" and gent's, "A place where you can hear the waterfall."

    Are you serious, Blacknomi? That's really interesting (and funny). I would change this to:
    ladies: Place where you hear raindrops.
    men's: Place where you hear Niagara Falls.

    I don't think it would go over very well, though.

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