Must and Have to, can be used to express obligations. Simply put: Must expresses a personal obligation while Have to an impersonal obligation or fact.
So, with this in mind:
- I must start writing my Christmas cards.
- I must go on the wagon for a few weeks because I want to drink like a fish during the festive period.
- I must check my bank balance to ensure that my credit card isn’t about to be confiscated.
- I must stockpile bottles of wine and tins of lager because drinking is the only way to cope with Christmas jingles.
- I must stockpile a lot of pain killers.
- I must find a new boyfriend who is keen on the concept of ‘part-time temporary’ dating. All this commitment is getting on my nerves.
- I must think of an unquestionable reason why I’ve decided not to spend Christmas with my family.
- I must remind myself not to go ice skating because this leads to broken bones.
- I must invent a cheap gadget to help my ass defy the law of gravity.
Gosh, I feel exhausted with all these obligations!
Must and Have to, can be used to express obligations. Simply put: Must expresses a personal obligation while Have to an impersonal obligation or a fact. As Christmas is not far off my mother has given me the following obligations:
Well, my plan is to avoid going back to the UK for Christmas so I don’t have to do any of the above. Furthermore, I would rather slit my own wrists and cut out my tongue than drink eggnog. Eggnog is for nutjobs and dairy lovers!
Seriously, what’s the problem with looking like a scarecrow, talking about my new favourite Spanish sitcom, ‘Gym Tony’, and drinking vodka?
Public notices and laws express obligations with the modal verb MUST and MUST NOT.
So what do these public notices mean? Perhaps:
- Police, you must look the other way, I’m growing some medicinal plant life.
- You must not enter this club if you have a heart problem.
- You must not buy a kangaroo for Christmas, they are wild ferocious animals and I can’t stand them!
Now, this is a gentle reminder to my Spanish driving friends about road regulations.
- At a traffic light, you must stop at a red light; a red light does not mean you must accelerate.
- At a roundabout, you must pay attention to lanes and indicate to let everyone know what you are doing.
- Motorbikes must not drive on the pavement.
- You must not deliberately crash into the front or back of a car in order to make a parking space bigger
- You must not put on mascara, check your WhatsUp?-App, nor take your pants off.
Bird’s nest or Janette’s hair without the eggs?
In general the difference between Must and Have to is connected to personal opinion. If it is your personal opinion to do something then usually we use MUST + BARE INFINITIVE, and if it isn’t connected to your opinion, for example an external situation, then we usually use HAVE TO + BARE INFINITIVE.
- My hair looks like a bird’s nest I must go to the hairdressers.
- I must phone my mother because I’ve not spoken to her for a month.
- My nephew has to go to school
- I had to walk home last night as I missed the last bus.
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We use Must or Have to, to say that it is necessary to do something. Often it doesn’t grammatically matter which you use. However, in some situations they mean different things. Must is used when we are giving our personal feelings and Have To is used for impersonal things, for example a rule or a situation. Examples:
- I must get up early tomorrow. (There are a lot of things I want to do) PERSONAL
- I have to get up early tomorrow. (I’m going on holiday and my flight leaves very early) IMPERSONAL SITUATION
- I must wear a suit. I want to look good. PERSONAL
- I have to wear a suit. It’s the company’s policy. IMPERSONAL RULE
- You mustn’t park here. It is against the law.
- You don’t have to park here. You can if you want to, but you could park somewhere else.
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