‘Must’ & ‘Have To’

Modal verbs present specific problems for both teachers and learners. Quite apart from the numerous difficulties associated with meaning, their use also differs from other verbs in a number of ways, notably.

A key distinction between ‘must’ and ‘have to’ can be found in the negative forms.
ØYou must go
ØYou have to go
can be regarded as broadly the same in terms of meaning,

ØYou mustn’t go
ØYou don’t have to go
are quite different, the first indicating that going is prohibited in some way, or even dangerous, while the second implies an absence of obligation or need.
 Remember:must’ refers to an internal need or obligation while ‘have to’ is used to refer to an external need or obligation.
Must’ and ‘must not’ are useful for official notices and instructions,
ØYou must carry your passport at all times’   and
Ø‘You must not smoke in the toilets’.
                Analyse these sentences:
Ø I’m sorry. I can’t come to the meeting tomorrow because I have to go to the dentist at 3 o’clock.ü
Ø I can’t come to the meeting tomorrow because I must go to the dentist at 3 o’clock.X
But if you have a raging toothache, you would probably say:
Ø ‘I really must go to the dentist’,
although have to could replece ‘must’ in this sentence.
Must is also used for expressing deduction or concluding that something is certain, as in
Ø  ‘the keys must be on the kitchen table’

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