Semi-Modal Auxiliary Verbs
Semi-Modal Auxiliary Verbs:
An Auxiliary Verb is also called a Helping Verb. It is used with a main verb to help express the main verb’s tense, mood, or voice.
There are three types of Auxiliary Verbs in English.
1) Primary Auxiliary Verbs 2) Modal Auxiliary Verbs 3) Semi-Modal Auxiliary Verbs
Semi-Modal Auxiliary Verbs:
Semi-Modal Auxiliary Verbs or Semi-Modals, (also known as Marginal Modal Verbs) are the verbs that behave partly like the main verb and partly like a modal auxiliary verb.
Semi-Modal Auxiliary Verbs list:
|dare, need, used to, ought to, and have to|
Dare means be bold enough to. It is commonly used in interrogative and negative sentences.
Dare is used to express
- to challenge someone or something
- to be brave enough
- to be reckless or rude enough
Dare as a semi-modal auxiliary verb:
As a semi-modal verb, dare is always used in negative and interrogative sentences.
As a semi-modal verb, it does not conjugate for a person or tense and ‘to’ preposition should not be used after it.
In negatives, generally ‘not’ is used. Contracted form ‘daren’t’ is rarely used.
- I dare not drive this car.
- She dare not disobey her father.
- He dare not (daren’t) avoid her friendship.
- Dare he argue with his boss regarding this issue?
- Dare she take part in this terrific event?
- How dare you talk to me like that?
Dare as a main verb:
‘Dare’, as the main verb, conjugates for a person, tense, and number, and uses ‘do’ form in negatives and questions.
As a main verb, dare can be followed by a to-infinitive.
( dare + to-infinitive)
- I dare him to go there in the dark night.
- He dares to speak against corruption.
- The students don’t dare to argue with the teacher.
- No student in the class dares to solve that problem.
- My friend wouldn’t dare to avoid her friendship
- She has never dared to disobey her father.
- Did she dare to accept your business proposal?
- Don’t you dare to open this room?
Wrong use of dare as a semi-modal:
- Do we dare supply medicine to all the patients? (wrong)
- Dare we supply medicine to all the patients? (correct)
- No one dares attend the interview again. (wrong)
- No one dare attend the interview again. (correct)
- You do not dare mention your phone number. (wrong)
- You dare not mention your phone number. (correct)
- How dare you to oppose my proposal? (wrong)
- How dare you oppose my proposal? (correct)
Wrong use of dare as a main verb:
- He dared me complete this work in an hour. (wrong)
- He dared me to complete this work in an hour. (correct)
- No one dare to open this room. (wrong)
- No one dares to open this room. (correct)
It is used to express necessity or obligation.
Need as a semi-modal auxiliary verb:
As a semi-modal verb, need is always used in negative and interrogative sentences to express necessity.
In negative sentences, we may use needn’t, not, never, no one, nothing, etc.
- You need not enquire about this.
- She need not wait for your answer.
- He needn’t give up studies.
- We need not have asked him for help.
- He needn’t have gone shopping today.
(to show that something was unnecessary in the past but it happened)
- No one need write my name in the register.
- Need we prepare the lesson plans again?
- Need I go to the doctor immediately?
- Need we attend this programme?
Need as a main verb:
‘Need’, as the main verb, conjugates for a person, tense, and number, and uses ‘do’ form in negatives and questions.
As a main verb, need can be followed by nouns, noun phrases, pronouns, gerunds, or to-infinitives.
Need as a main verb means want or require.
(need + noun; need to + verb)
- Sharath needs a laptop and a mobile.
- I needed some amount of money yesterday.
- He does not need your advice.
- She needs to take a vaccine immediately.
- I have needed to answer all these questions.
- Does he need to reapply for the job?
- They need not to (needn’t) attend the class again.
- They do not need to attend the class again.
Wrong use of need as a semi-modal:
- Do we need supply the books now? (wrong)
- Need we supply the books now? (correct)
- You do not need mention your phone number. (wrong)
- You need not mention your phone number. (correct)
‘Used to’ as a semi-modal auxiliary verb
As a semi-modal verb, ‘used to’ is used to express something that existed or happened repeatedly in the past but does not exist or happen now.
- I used to get up early when I was a student.
- She used to sing melodious songs in her school days.
- We used to play several games in the evenings.
- There used to be a big tree at the entrance of our village.
We use ‘did’ to form negatives and questions as in the main verbs and it is ‘use to’ but not ‘used to’.
- I did not use to go to the gym when I was young.
- She did not use to study well in my school days.
- He didn’t use to drink coffee daily.
- We used to like watching TV, didn’t we?
- Did you use to copy in your exams?
- Didn’t you use to smoke when you were young?
- Where did you use to spend your childhood days?
- What books did you use to read in your free time?
- How did you use to come to school before you bought a bike?
As a main verb:
Here, we use two similarly structured main verbs – be used to and get used to.
Be used to:
We use the structure: be used to + verb+ing or noun
This phrase is used to mean be accustomed to something. (something familiar to us or easy for us)
‘Be’ form can be used in any tense. (Past, Present, Future)
‘Not’ is used to form negative sentences.
- I am not used to getting up early in the morning.
- I am not used to fresh air in the morning.
- My friend is used to living in the village.
- My friend is not used to big cities.
- She was used to my latest jokes.
- She was used to enjoying my latest jokes.
- They weren’t used to driving big vehicles.
- They weren’t used to big vehicles.
- Are you used to studying English novels?
- Are you used to English novels?
Get used to:
We use the structure: get used to + verb+ing or noun
This phrase is used to mean to become accustomed to something.
‘Get’ form can be used in any tense.
‘Not’ is used to form negative sentences.
- He is getting used to speaking in English.
- He is getting used to the English Language.
- She never got used to visiting the countryside.
- She never got used to the countryside.
- I can’t get used to working in a new office.
- I could get used to my new job in a new office.
- I shall get used to living with my new roommates.
- I will never get used to my new roommates.
- Will you get used to making friends in the new college?
- Did you get used to the environment of the new college?
‘Ought to’ is considered a semi-modal auxiliary verb because:
Like modal verbs, ‘Ought to’ also does not take -s for the third person singular.
Unlike modal verbs, ‘ought to’ ends in ‘to’.
Ought to is used to express obligation, responsibility, probability, advice, worry, wish, duty, regret etc.,
- As citizens, we ought to love our country. (obligation)
- You ought to help needy people. (responsibility)
- The students ought to work hard to get good ranks. (advice)
- My father ought not to (oughtn’t to) have scolded me. (worry)
- My brother ought to pass all the exams. (wish)
- She ought to get a hike in salary from this month. (probability)
- We ought to listen to the lessons carefully.
- The students ought to be regular to the classes.
- We ought to have closed the gate.
‘Ought to’ to express past:
‘Ought to’ is used with ‘have + past participle verb’ to express (regret) that something should have happened, but didn’t happen in the past.
- I ought to have gone to the USA with my friend.
- I ought to have continued to do research in English Literature.
‘Ought to’ in negative sentences: (ought not to/oughtn’t to)
- You ought not to quit your present job.
- You ought not to eat junk food.
- I oughtn’t to have revealed the secret to you. (regret)
- We oughtn’t to leave the kid all alone.
- It ought not to be difficult now.
‘Ought to’ in interrogative sentences:
When we form questions, ought is placed before the subject and ‘to’ can be used or omitted.
- Ought we attend this music concert?
- Oughtn’t he open a bank account?
- Ought the court to punish the criminals?
- Ought not he to work hard to get a promotion?
‘Ought to’ can be replaced by should in questions and negatives:
- You ought not to / oughtn’t to have called him a big fool.
- You should not / shouldn’t have called him a big fool.
- Ought we to speak to the principal about this?
- Should we speak to the principal about this?
Common mistakes when we use ‘ought to’
They must ought to attend computer classes. (two models) (incorrect)
They ought to attend computer class. (correct)
We don’t ought to have wasted our precious time. (incorrect)
We ought not to have wasted our precious time. (correct)
Do they ought to postpone the annual examinations? (incorrect)
Ought they (to) postpone the annual examinations? (correct)
‘Have to’ is considered a semi-modal auxiliary verb because:
It may have a similar meaning to a modal. But
Unlike modal verbs, ‘have to’ takes “s” in the third person singular
Unlike modal verbs, ‘have to’ can be used in simple tenses.
Unlike modal verbs, ‘have to’ takes the auxiliary ‘do’ in negatives and questions.
‘Have to’ is used to express certainty, necessity, and obligation.
- This shirt has to be yours.
- The principal has to be the chief guest of the function.
- They have to allot sufficient funds for this programme.
- They don’t have to go to the office on Sunday.
- They have to look after their old-aged parents.
- The Minister has to answer all the questions.
Have to and Have got to:
‘Have to’ and ‘Have got to’ mean the same. ‘Have got to’ is more informal than ‘have to’.
- This mobile has got to be yours.
- This webinar has got to be arranged today.
- We haven’t got to pay for travelling expenses.
- They have got to arrange online classes.
‘Have to’ and ‘Have got to’ in negatives and questions:
|Have to||Have got to|
|Affirmative||I have to finish the work.
They have to finish the work.
She has to finish the work.
|I have got to finish work.
They have got to finish the work.
She has got to finish work.
|Negative||I do not (don’t) have to finish the work.
She doesn’t have to purchase the textbooks.
They didn’t have to purchase the textbooks.
They won’t (will not) have to wake up early.
|You have not (haven’t) got to finish the work.
She has not (hasn’t) got to purchase the textbooks.
|Question||Do/Did you have to finish the work?
Does she have to attend the event?
Shall I have to write my exam?
|Have you got to finish the work?
‘Have to’ can be used in all tenses whereas ‘have got to’ can only be used in the present tense.
|Have to||Have got to|
|Present||You have to go to the library.
She has to visit her parents.
|I have got to go to the library.|
|Past||You had to go to the library.
She had to visit her parents.
No negative form
|Future||You will have to go to the library.
She will have to visit her parents.
No question form
‘Do not have to’ Vs. ‘Must not’
‘Do not have to’ indicates that it is not necessary to do something.
‘Must not’ indicates that it is prohibited from doing something.
- You must not go there. It is prohibited, you are not allowed.
- You don’t have to go there. If you want to go, you can, but not necessary.
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