liten to what they have/ had to say

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joham

Key Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2007
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
I got these sentences from BNC and AC:

Do other people always listen to what you have to say ?

I managed to get local National Farmers Union branch members to come to listen to what they had to say .

Let's go to Anthony and Sandra first. And Dr. Isay, let us listen to what they have to say.

I think 'what' is the object of 'have' while my net friends say 'have to' means 'must'. Could I ask native English teachers to clarify this puzzle of mine?

Thank you in advance.
 

riverkid

Banned
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Member Type
English Teacher
I got these sentences from BNC and AC:

Do other people always listen to what you have to say ?

I managed to get local National Farmers Union branch members to come to listen to what they had to say .

Let's go to Anthony and Sandra first. And Dr. Isay, let us listen to what they have to say.

I think 'what' is the object of 'have' while my net friends say 'have to' means 'must'. Could I ask native English teachers to clarify this puzzle of mine?

Thank you in advance.

These are not <have to's> of 'must', Joham. It is like the first example, below. In the second sentence we have a 'must' <have to>.

I have three things to say versus I have to say three things.

What do they have to say? ->> They have a few things to say.
 

Barb_D

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Think of the difference here:

I have to say something. (I must say this. I feel compelled.)

I have something to say. (There's something in my mind I wish to share with you.)
 
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