Dare and need - Easy Learning Grammar
The two verbs dare and need have characteristics of both modal verbs and main verbs. Because of this, they are called semi-modals. They sometimes behave like modal verbs and do not add -s to the form that goes with he, she, and it. That is, they have no 3rd person singular inflection. They are then followed by the base form of a main verb.
The past form needed is not used as a modal; dared is occasionally used as a modal.The modal uses of these verbs are all negatives or questions.
- Need I say more?
- Dare I ask how the project’s going?
Questions that are formed with need and dare are often set expressions such as Need I/you ask?, Dare I suggest…? and Need I/we say more?Dare and need sometimes behave like main verbs with -s inflection. In this case they are followed by the to infinitive. They can also use the auxiliary do and have the whole range of tenses appropriate to a main verb.
- Where will you all be today? – Need you ask?
- You needn’t come if you’re busy.
- Dare I suggest that we have a rota system?
- I daren’t tell him the truth; he’ll go crazy.
When dare or need are used as modal verbs in a positive statement, there must be a word of negative meaning in the same clause. This word can be outside the verb phrase and may be a word with a negative sense, such as only, never, hardly.
- Louisa doesn’t need to know.
- Does Paul need to go now?
- Paul needs to go.
- Dare to be different!
- I don’t dare to mention it to him.
As a modal verb, dare has forms as follows:
- He need only ask and I will tell him.
- No sensible driver dare risk that chance.
|I dare not go.||I dared not go.|
|He dare not go.||He dared not go.|
As a main verb, dare has forms as follows:
- Dare I do it?
- Dare he do it?
- Daren’t he do it?
As a modal verb, need has forms as follows:
|I dare to do it.||I do not dare to do it.|
|He dares to do it.||He did not dare to do it.|
|He does not dare to do it.||Does he dare to do it?|
|He doesn’t dare to do it.||Doesn’t he dare to do it?|
As a main verb, need has forms as follows:
|I need not go.||Need I go?|
|He need not go.||Need he go?|
|He needn’t go.||Needn’t he go?|
|I need it.||I need to do it.|
|He needs it.||He needs to do it.|
|I do not need to go.||I do not need to do it.|
|He does not need to go.||Does he need to go?|
- Either of the two forms of dare and need can be used for sentences that have much the same meaning.
- Anna didn’t dare to jump off the high fence.
- Anna dared not jump off the high fence.
- You don’t need to come if you don’t want to.
- You needn’t come if you don’t want to.