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have to V / need to V


The most basic tools used to express obligation, they form a phonetic unit with the following verb. In the most informal speech, one hears:

  1. They all need to see a doctor.
    ni:dtə 'si:
  2. We have to stop using so much petrol.
    hæftə 'stɑp
  3. I really have to go now.
    hæftə 'goʊ
  4. She has to finish cooking the books.
    hæstə 'fɪnɪʃ
  • The first sounds // of have to and has to can not be phonetically reduced
    • They never become ə(v) as have alone can when preceding a past participle. (could have gone, for example)
    • has to never becomes z as has can in She's got time. for example

The reduction takes place around the pivot "to", as with the verbs going to V and want to V, where even the t disappears!

  • I'm going to go. (sometimes written: I'm gonna' go.)
    aɪm 'ɡɔnə 'goʊ
  • I want to be... (sometimes written: I wanna' be.)
    aɪ 'wɑn ə bi

Exercise 1: Pronunciation

Practice pronouncing these verbal elements in a relaxed register:

  1. has to start:
    hæstə 'stɑrt
  2. had to stop:
    hædtə 'stɑp
  3. have to start dealing with:
    hæftə 'stɑrt 'di: lɪɳ wɪθ
  4. don't have to pick her up today:
    'doʊnthæftə 'pɪkər 'ʌptə 'deɪ
  5. has to get it done:
    'hæstə 'getɪt 'dʌn
  6. 'll have to get it done:
    (ə)l'hæftə 'getɪt 'dʌn

Asking questions about obligations

have to and need to both require do-support for questions in the present or the past:

  1. Do you need to lie down?
  2. Do you have to work tomorrow?
  3. Did you have to work yesterday?
  4. Did you need to see a doctor?

For questions in the future the auxiliary will or its negative form won't are used:

  1. Won't you need to buy insurance?
  2. Will you need to take time off?
  3. Won't you have to ask accounting?
  4. Will you have to pay taxes this year?

Exercise 2: Find the mistakes

If there is a mistake in the sentence, correct it. If there is no mistake, leave it as it is...

  1. We'll have to work on this next week.
  2. We had work on this last week.
  3. Did you have to take time off from work?
  4. Have you to pay taxes?
  5. She has to get ready for a civil service exam (concours)
  6. He have to change the oil in the car this weekend. (change the oil = faire le vidange)