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Thread: has to be ing

  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    has to be ing

    Hi,

    Does this structure "has/have to be -ing" exist?

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: has to be ing

    Yes.

    The children have to be doing their homework when their father gets home. He gets very angry if they aren't.

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    #3

    Re: has to be ing

    I would say no, it doesn't really exist as a single structure.

    That is, I think it's better to understand it as two distinct structures, although they can be combined.

    1) have/has to (verb)
    2) be (verb-ing)

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    #4

    Re: has to be ing

    Here's one fairly formulaic use that comes to mind:

    "I have to be going now."

    Compare:

    "I have to be on my way."

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    #5

    Re: has to be ing

    What does "The children have to be doing their homework..." mean?

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    #6

    Re: has to be ing

    Have to is the same as must.

    The time at which they must remains unspecified in your fragment.

  7. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #7

    Re: has to be ing

    It means that the speaker expects them to have started doing their homework by the time specified. Piscean's example has a time phrase, which makes the sentence work. Without it, it doesn't mean much.

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