Need as an ordinary verb and a modal auxiliary verb

Use ‘need’ carefully. It can be an ordinary verb or a modal auxiliary verb.

When need is used as an ordinary verb, it takes the marker –s. Also, it is followed by a to-infinitive. Study the examples given below.

  • He needs to wait.
  • He needs to go to Spain to learn Spanish.

In this case, we make questions and negatives with do and does.

  • He does not need to wait. (NOT He needs not to wait.)
  • Does he need to wait? (NOT Needs he wait?)

When need is used as a modal auxiliary verb, it does not take the marker –s. Questions and negatives are made without do/does.

Also, the modal auxiliary need is followed by an infinitive without to.

Study the examples given below.

  • He need wait. (Here need is used as a modal auxiliary verb.) (NOT He need to wait.)
  • He needs to wait. (Here need is used as an ordinary verb.) (NOT He needs wait.)

When need is a modal auxiliary verb, we make negatives by simply putting not after need. Note that the infinitive after need is used without to.

  • He need not wait. (NOT He needs not wait.) (NOT He needs not to wait.)

Questions are made without do and does.

  • Need he wait? (NOT Need he to wait?)

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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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