What Is Their Main Difference?
Modal Verb Should
'Should' is a modal verb. Modal verbs (also known as modals) are used to give additional information about the main verb. 'Should' is used to talk about assumptions and to give advice. It is the past tense of modal verb 'shall.' For example:
Semi-modal Verb Have to
'Have to' is a semi-modal. Semi-modals function similarly to modals. They sometimes act like modal verbs and sometimes act like a main verb. 'Have to' is used to express necessitis, obligations, certainty, etc. For instance:
We use 'should' and 'have to' to express certainty. Each of them expresses a different level of certainty. 'Have to' expresses a higher level of certainty than 'should.' Watch:
Are They Interchangeable?
Compare the following examples:
While by replacing them we still have a meaningful sentence, there is a difference in meaning.
- The sentence with 'should' expresses something that is better to be done.
- The sentence with 'have to' expresses something that is a must.
Therefore, 'should' and 'have to' are not interchangeable.
Talking about Necessities
When we want to express things we are obliged to do or need to do, we use 'have to.' Have a look:
We use 'should' to ask for and give advice. Advice is an opinion expressed about the right way to do something in a particular situation. For example:
You may hear 'have to' in this context. It is correct to use it, but it is uncommon since 'have to' expresses a sense of order and might sound rude. Consequently, we recommend sticking to 'should.'
We can make sentences with 'should' and 'have to' negative. To do so, we simply add 'not' to them as illustrated below:
Take a look at the following examples to see the negation process in action:
We can use 'should' and 'have to' in interrogative forms:
To make questions with 'have to,' we follow the pattern shown below:
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Should vs. Ought To
'Ought to' is considered as an alternative for the verb 'Should.' They can talk about assumptions and advice. In this lesson, we will learn more about them.
Should vs. Supposed To
'Should' and 'supposed to' may confuse learners as they are used to talk about duty. In this lesson, we will learn their differences, similarities, and uses.
Should vs. If
'Should' and 'if' can be used interchangeably in conditional mood. In this lesson, we will learn more about them.
Must vs. Have To
'Must' and 'have to' express different levels of obligations. In this lesson, we will learn more about them and when to use each of them.