ENGLISHMiscellaneous English

USAGE OF ‘NEED’ & ‘DARE’

Need & Dare

Both of these verbs are called Semi-modal Verbs. They are called so because they can be used as both main verbs and modal verbs. NEED and DARE can only be used as main verbs in affirmative sentences, in negative and interrogative sentence both of them can be used as main as well as modal verbs.

1. NEED

As a main verb NEED takes full infinitives (TO+V1), and as a helping verb it takes bare infinitives (V1 without TO). NEED is the main verb in affirmative sentences, but in negative and interrogative sentences it’s main verb only when DO is the helping verb with it, otherwise it itself is the helping verb; e.g.

AFFIRMATIVE SENTENCES

I need to go to my doctor today in the evening.

(The sentence is affirmative, so NEED is the main verb here. You see GO is to-infinitive.)

NEGATIVE SENTENCES

a) I do not need to go to my doctor today in the evening.

(Here DO is the helping verb, therefore NEED is the main verb; so GO is to-infinitive)

b) I needn’t go to my doctor today in the evening.

(DO is not there, so NEED itself is the helping verb here. So GO is bare infinitive.)

INTERROGATIVE SENTENCES

a) Do I need to go to my doctor today in the evening?

(Here DO is the helping verb, therefore NEED is the main verb; so GO is to-infinitive)

b) Need I go to my doctor today in the evening?

(Here NEED is the helping verb, so GO is bare infinitive)

NOTE-I: The modal NEED has no past form. Instead, we use DIDN’T NEED TO or DIDN’T HAVE TO in the past; e.g.

INCORRECT: I needed not to take my wife to the doctor.
CORRECT: I didn’t need to take my wife to the doctor.  OR I didn’t have to take my wife to the doctor.

NOTE-II: When NEED is followed by a noun phrase or the gerund (ing form) in negative or interrogative sentences, we must use DO/DID with NEED; e.g.

INCORRECT: I needn’t a bag.
CORRECT: I don’t need a bag.

INCORRECT: Need my shirt washing?
CORRECT: Does my shirt need washing?

NOTE-III: When NEED is preceded by NO ONE, NOBODY, ANYBODY or any negative subject we use bare infinitive (V1 without TO); e.g.

a) Nobody need know the name of the person who made the complaint.
b) Not a word need change in this paper.

NOTE-IV: When words HARDLY, SCARCELY, ONLY are used with the verb NEED, it also takes bare infinitive; e.g.

a) I need hardly say how happy I am to see you here. (SAY: bare infinitive)
b) You need only push this button to make this machine run. (PUSH: bare infinitive)

NOTE-V: When a negative or interrogative clause is in the beginning, NEED takes bare infinitive, e.g.

a) I don’t suppose I need meet him. (‘I don’t suppose’ is a negative clause.)
b) Do you think I need tell Rajat. (‘Do you think’ is an interrogative clause.)

NOTE-VI: When NEED is a modal verb, it doesn’t take ‘S’ with it even if the subject is third person singular (he, she, it); e.g.

INCORRECT: He needs not do it.
CORRECT: He need not do it.

NOTE-VII: We don’t use NEED in the continuous; e.g.

INCORRECT: We are needing some milk.
CORRECT: We need some milk.

NOTE-VIII: When subject of NEED is a thing we use gerund (ing form) after it, we don’t use TO form; e.g.

INCORRECT: The cooker needs to be cleaned.
CORRECT: The cooker needs cleaning.

 

2. DARE

DARE is both a main verb and a modal verb. DARE has two meanings:

A) challenge somebody
B) to be brave enough or rude enough to do something

A) DARE = challenge somebody

With this meaning it is a main verb and it’s a transitive verb, means it requires an object. If any verb is following it it’s TO-INFINITIVE (to + v1); e.g.

a) I dare you to swim across the lake.
b) She glared at Ankur, daring him to disagree.
c) Some snakes can bite but I dare you to hold this big snake.

B) DARE = to be brave enough or rude enough to do something

With this meaning, it can be used both as a main verb and a modal verb. As a main verb, it can be followed by a TO-INFINITIVE (to+v1) or an INFINITIVE without TO (v1 without TO). As a modal verb, it’s always followed by an INFINITIVE without TO; e.g.

MAIN VERB

a) He doesn’t dare to say anything.
= He doesn’t dare say anything.

b) Does anyone dare to go there?
= Does anyone dare go there?

MODAL VERB

a) They dared not laugh. (DARE is the helping verb here, so LAUGH is bare infinitive)
b) Dare she tell him the truth? (DARE is the helping verb here, so TELL is bare infinitive)

NOTE-I: When DARE is preceded by NO ONE, NOBODY, ANYBODY or any negative subject we can use any infinitive, means either full infinitive or bare infinitive; e.g.

No one dares to disturb him.
= No one dares disturb him.

NOTE-II: Like other modals DARE when is a modal verb doesn’t take ‘S’ with it even if the subject is third person singular (he, she, it); e.g.

INCORRECT: She dares not meet you.
CORRECT: She dare not meet you.

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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)

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