Dare and Need
'Dare' and 'need' have characteristics of both modal verbs and main verbs. Because of this, they are called semi-modals. In this lesson, we'll learn about them.
Dare and Need
In this lesson, we will study two semi-modal verbs: Dare and Need.
Dare is both a main verb and a semi-modal verb. A semi-modal is a verb that functions like a modal verb when they appear in negative sentences or questions.
Dare as Main Verb
Dare as a main verb means 'to challenge somebody to do something dangerous, difficult or embarrassing so that they can show that they are brave'. With this meaning, it is a main verb and takes an object. Verbs that follows it are in the to-infinitive form.
Take it! I
Here, no one challenged him to do that prank.
Dare as a main verb can also mean 'to be brave enough to do something'. In this sense, it can be used as an ordinary main verb which can be followed by a to-infinitive.
Dare as Semi-modal
Dare as a semi-modal verb is used especially in present tense and negative forms, and the verbs after it must be in base form (infinitive without to).
As you know, 'dare' must be followed by an infinitive without to (tell).
Since 'dare' is a semi-modal, many would think that to make the negative form you are supposed to add 'not' to the semi-modal verb, but in fact, you negate them exactly in the same way you negate dare as a main verb. and the most common way is to add (didn't, don't, doesn't) before 'dare'.
How dare you!
You cannot use to-infinitive after semi-modal dare in the expression 'How dare you'.
to say that to me!)
'Need' is another verb in English which can be both a main verb and a semi-modal verb.
Need as Main Verb
'Need' as a main verb has two meanings:
- to require something and think something is important to have.
- to have to or to be obliged to do something.
When 'need' is used as a main verb, we form questions and negations with the auxiliary verb 'do/does/did'. As a main verb, 'need' has to have an object or a to-infinitive.
Need as Semi-modal
We use 'need' as a semi-modal both in negative and affirmative sentences.
- In negative sentences: We use semi-modal 'need' to indicate that there is no obligation or necessity to do something. Semi-modal 'need' is used mostly in negative sentences.
- In affirmative sentences: We can also use 'need' in an affirmative form, but in this case the sentence includes a term which implies a negative meaning such as (nobody, no one, nothing, etc.)
This use of semi-modal 'need' is rare in spoken English.
To make a negative sentence, ‘not’ or the contracted form ‘n't’ is added directly to the term
Need: Question form
To make a question by semi-modal
NOT do I need stay?
The verb after
NOT you needn't to wait.
Past Form of Need
Remember, we use a to-infinitive after main verb need.
Common Mistakes with Need
We cannot use semi-modal
- noun phrases;
needn’t a man.)
needn’t to drink to stay awake.)
needn’t cutting for three weeks.)
'Need' and 'dare' both are verbs that can be semi-modal or main verbs. Although the semi-modals form can have the same meaning as the main form, they follow different rules.
Need as a semi modal verb means:
- to be necessary to do something.
Need as a main verb means:
- to have an obligation to do something
- to require something
Dare as a semi-modal verb means:
- To be brave enough to do something.
Dare as a main verb means:
- to challenge somebody to do something brave.
- to be brave to do something.
How could you