Home Grammar intermediate Modals: must, have to, should, should have

Modals: must, have to, should, should have

Should

We use "should" to give, or ask for, advice or an opinion in the present:

Form

We use "should" / "shouldn't" + the infinitive of the main verb (without "to")

Example

I
You
He, She, It
We
They
should do more exercise.
get a new car.
shouldn't
(should not)
smoke.
spend so much money.

Should I
you
he / she / it
we
they
get more qualifications?
wear something different?

Should have

We use "should have" to give, or ask for, an opinion in the present about something which happened in the past:

Form

We use "should" / "shouldn't have" + the past participle of the main verb

Example

I
You
He / She / It
We
They
should have taken a taxi.
shouldn't have written that comment.

Should I
you
he / she / it
we
they
have worked overtime?

Practice

Give or ask for advice using the verb in brackets:

  • He the position. (accept)
     
  • You mobile phones in the classroom. (not allow)
     
  • we that we cheated? (admit)
     
  • They work early yesterday. (not leave)
     

Have to

"Have to" is used to show that a person is obliged to do something, usually by an outside force, have to can also be used to give your opinion:
The negative form, "don't" / "doesn't" / "didn't have to", means that you are not obliged to do something.

Form

The present simple of "have" + "to" + infinitive (without "to")
or
The past simple of 'have' + to + infinitive (without to)

Example

I
You
We
They
have to leave the house early to catch the bus.
care for the children.
He / She / It has to
I
You
We
They
don't have to leave the house early to catch the bus.
care for the children.
He / She / It doesn't have to

Do I
you
we
they
have to work on Saturday?
Does he / she / it attend the conference?

I
You
He / She / It
We
They
had to leave the house early to catch the bus.
care for the children.
I
You
He / She / It
We
They
didn't have to leave the house early to catch the bus.
care for the children.

Did I
you
he / she / it
we
they
have to work on Saturday?
attend the conference?

Practice

Give or ask for advice using the verb in brackets:

  • You to the internet to send an email. (connect)
     
  • Adrian every weekend unless he wants to. (not train)
     
  • you your passport at the border? (show)
     
  • Amy 30 hours a week last year. (teach)
     

Must

"Must" is also used to talk about obligation and is used in written rules and instructions: "Must" is also used to give a strong recommendation:
The negative form, "mustn't" ("must not"), means that you are obliged or recommended not to do something.

Form

"must" or "mustn't" ("must not") + the infinitive of the verb (without "to")

Example

I
You
He / She / It
We
They
must
mustn't
report the theft to the police immediately.
forget to transfer the money.

Must I
you
he / she / it
we
they
go?

While questions with "must" are grammatically correct, it is more usual nowadays to use "have to" for questions.

There is no past form of must for obligation:

Practice

Give or ask for advice using the verb in brackets:

  • You late for the train. (not be)
     
  • We their wedding anniversary. (celebrate)
     
  • You the application form in black ink. (complete)
     
  • He his dog chew the furniture. (not let)
     

Further practice

Choose the correct answer to complete the sentence: a, b, c or d.



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