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  1. onetwothree's Avatar
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    #1

    "needn't" or "don't need" ???

    Are needn't and don't need the same?

    And, when do we use needn't and when do w use don't need?

    Please explain clearly and give me some examples. Thank you.


    • Join Date: Jun 2007
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    #2

    Re: "needn't" or "don't need" ???

    They're the same, but AE speakers don't say "needn't." (Can BE speakers weigh in?)

    I don't need to tell you that we are, of course, familiar with the construction, thanks to Lewis Carrolls' Humpty Dumpty:

    But he was very stiff and proud:
    He said, "You needn't shout so loud!"


    [not a teacher]

  2. onetwothree's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "needn't" or "don't need" ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Delmobile View Post
    They're the same, but AE speakers don't say "needn't." (Can BE speakers weigh in?)

    I don't need to tell you that we are, of course, familiar with the construction, thanks to Lewis Carrolls' Humpty Dumpty:

    But he was very stiff and proud:
    He said, "You needn't shout so loud!"


    [not a teacher]
    Then, they do be the same in meaning, dont they???
    Another question, please tell me what does " weigh in" mean?? What do you mean by that?
    Thanks


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    #4

    Re: "needn't" or "don't need" ???

    Yes, they are exactly the same in meaning.

    "Weigh in" --- https://www.usingenglish.com/referen.../weigh+in.html

  3. onetwothree's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "needn't" or "don't need" ???

    Ok, I understand, thanks a lot.


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    #6

    Re: "needn't" or "don't need" ???

    So: I can say either, "You needn't have given me a gift" or "You didn't need to give me a gift" as I graciously accept the gift. In both instances, we know the gift has been given.

    But: "I didn't need to work last Monday" has a different meaning from "I needn't have worked last Monday." In the first sentence, I may or may not have worked (I didn't need to work, but I came in anyway/ I didn't need to work, so I took my kids to the zoo). In the second sentence, we know that I did in fact work, but am now finding out it wasn't necessary after all.

    It seems to me that the second set of examples are different in some fundamental way from the first, but I can't analyze why.

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    #7

    Re: "needn't" or "don't need" ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Niall Beag View Post
    The fundamental difference in your examples is in the context.

    When you wrote as i graciously accept the gift, you took away the any ambiguity which may otherwise have been present. Change the context and the meaning changes.

    EG.

    John turns up at your birthday party empty handed.
    "I'm sorry," he says, "I meant to buy you a present."
    "That's OK," you reply "You didn't need to buy me anything -- I'm happy that you're here."

    vs

    John turns up at your birthday party with a big box.
    "Happy birthday!" he says as he hands you the gift.
    "John!" you cry, "You needn't have!"
    Hi Niall

    Can I change the use of "didn`t need to buy..." with "you needn`t have bought"[ although I know that John didn`t buy anything] in your first dialogue , to make a joke, or would it be rude or inappropriate?

    e.g.

    John turns up at your birthday party empty handed.
    "I'm sorry," he says, "I meant to buy you a present."
    "That's OK," you reply "You "needn`t have bought" me anything -- I'm happy that you're here."


    Thank you


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    #8

    Re: "needn't" or "don't need" ???

    Okay, those were poor examples; you're right, the context was different in the way I set it up. :)

    But still---I don't think needn't have / didn't need to are parallel in the same way that needn't/ don't need to are. Don't need/Didn't need are straightforward present/past, but needn't/needn't have aren't - the "have" is introducing something different, which is what changes the meaning. Wouldn't the past tense of "I need not" be "I needed not"?

    However, obviously I am incapable of expressing what I mean---and poor onetwothree REALLY doesn't "need" all of my blathering, I'm sure.


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    #9

    Re: "needn't" or "don't need" ???

    There is no difference in meaning but there is difference in "to". I think you have already understood it from those sentences above

  4. RonBee's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: "needn't" or "don't need" ???

    Quote Originally Posted by teia_petrescu View Post
    Hi Niall

    Can I change the use of "didn`t need to buy..." with "you needn`t have bought"[ although I know that John didn`t buy anything] in your first dialogue , to make a joke, or would it be rude or inappropriate?

    e.g.

    John turns up at your birthday party empty handed.
    "I'm sorry," he says, "I meant to buy you a present."
    "That's OK," you reply "You "needn`t have bought" me anything -- I'm happy that you're here."


    Thank you
    No, "You needn't have bought me anything" says that the person did buy something but that it was unnecessary.

    ~R

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