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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked

    Which is the most logical choice?

    1) Mother didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked a meal last night as we were going out.


    2. I didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked a meal last night because we went out.

    I think, without any furter context, both are possible in. Am I right?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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    #2

    Re: didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked

    They mean different things.

    'Mother didn't have to cook a meal last night ... ' (so she didn't cook a meal).

    'Mother needn't have cooked a meal last night ... ' (but she cooked a meal anyway).

  2. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked

    Yes, I know about this difference. This was a task from a test where you need to choose just one variant. And I thought I might not understand the context well enough to choose only one structure. Can we say that both variants are possible in both sentences?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    Which is the most logical choice?
    1) Mother didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked a meal last night as we were going out.
    2. I didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked a meal last night because we went out.
    Both are possible. There might be a slight preference for ''didn't have to cook" in both. In the first sentence, because we already knew we were going out, Mother would probably have been informed, and hence she would know that she didn't have to cook.
    In the second sentence, firstly, you are the one of those who went out, and therefore probably knew you were going out, making the first option more likely again.
    But yes they are both possible in both sentences.
    If the sentence had read "Mother didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked a meal last night because we ended up going out", I'd suggest "needn't have".

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked

    They're both usable.

    I wonder if they people who wrote the test didn't know the (potential) difference between "I didn't need to + bare infinitive ..." and "I needn't have + present perfect ...".

    I didn't need to cook dinner last night because we went out to eat. (Impossible to tell if I did cook dinner or not.)
    I didn't have to cook dinner last night because we went out to eat. (Impossible to tell if I did cook dinner or not.)
    I needn't have cooked dinner last night we went out to eat. (I did cook dinner but it wasn't necessary.)
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    They're both usable.
    I wonder if they people who wrote the test didn't know the (potential) difference between "I didn't need to + bare infinitive ..." and "I needn't have + present perfect ...".
    On the contrary, (IMO) the people who wrote the test wanted to emphasize the difference between these two structures, but their mistake was that they failed to find proper sentences which could highlight the difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I didn't need to cook dinner last night because we went out to eat. (Impossible to tell if I did cook dinner or not.)
    Why impossible? I thought "didn't have to/didn't need to" always means "didn't do because it wasn't necessary"...
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: didn't have to cook/needn't have cooked

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    Why impossible? I thought "didn't have to/didn't need to" always means "didn't do because it wasn't necessary"...
    "I didn't have to go to the party but I went anyway". As you can see "I didn't have to" in that sentence does not mean "I didn't go".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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