Dare and Need for intermediate learners

'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 English Grammar

What Are Dare and Need?

'Dare' and 'need' are two semi-modal verbs in English. They are both common among native English speakers and are used in various contexts. Let us learn more about how they function.


As mentioned before, semi-modals are verbs that can act as both the main and modal verbs. 'Dare' and 'need' are two famous, common semi-modal verbs in English grammar. Let us see how their structures are made:

As a modal verb, 'dare' is only used in negative statements and questions and the following verb comes without 'to'.

I dare not go to the party.

Dare she do it here?


The modal verb does not change when using third-person singular pronouns.

As the main verb:

She dares to do that to me in front of my coworkers.

They dared to talk trash behind me.

As you can see, the base form of verb is used.

As a modal verb, 'need' is only used in negative statements and questions and the following verb comes without 'to'.

They need not write tonight.

Need she shout that loud in the street?

As the main verb it goes:

I need more shoes.

She needs to complete the application form by Sunday morning.


You can add an auxiliary verb to turn these sentences into negative statements easily. Look at the examples below:

I need more money right now. → I don't need more money right now.

Dare take me with you. → Don't you dare take me with you.

As you can see, this form is more common among native speakers.



  • To Force Someone or Be Forced to Do Something
  • To Require Something

To Force Someone or to Be Forced to Do Something

One of the uses of 'need' is to show that something important must be done or when you are ordering someone to do an important task. Pay attention to the examples below:

I need to talk to my mom as soon as possible.

They need to stop behaving like that if they want to continue working in this café.


Sometimes 'need' is used to require something. Let us look at the following examples carefully:

I really need sport shoes for work.

She needs many critical essays for her dissertation.


'Dare' also has two meanings and is used in two different contexts as listed below:

  • To Be Brave Enough to Do Something
  • To Challenge Someone, Especially in a Difficult Situation

To Be Brave Enough to Do Something

'Dare' is sometimes used to show how we are brave enough to do or not do something. Let us see some examples below:

I don't dare talk to him right now because he's so angry.

She dares contradict the mayor's principles.

To Challenge Someone, Especially in a Difficult Situation

Sometimes 'dare' is used to challenge someone and it is usually a difficult one. Study the examples below carefully:

I dare you turn the card.

We dare you cast a spell on us.


Loading recaptcha

You might also like

Must and Have to

'Have to' and 'must' have the same meaning and are used to express obligations. However, they are used in different situations and are not interchangeable.


Semi-modals are the subcategory of modal verbs. So it is good to learn the difference between modal verbs and semi-modal verbs to use them properly.

Ought to and Had Better

'Ought to' and 'Had Better' are used for giving advice and recommendations. These are used differently and they can have different meanings. Start learning!

Used to

One of the functions of this expression is to talk about repeated actions in the past which we don't do in the present.

Talking about Prediction

There are many ways to talk about prediction in English. In this article, we want to learn how to predict future events.

Talking about Willingness

In every language, there are ways to express your feelings. Let us learn how to express willingness in English.

Download LanGeek app for free