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Difference between must and have to

 
 
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2007 02:05 am
Hi, I know that we can use both must and have in obligation. But, what I

can't get it are things like external authority or speaker's authority. Also,

could somebody explain what is first person, second person, and third

person?



Thanks.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 5,999 • Replies: 13
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2007 02:29 am
I'll pass on the middle question- that means nothing to me.

First person- the speaker- I, me, we, us

Second person- the person spoken to- you

Third person- the person spoken about- he, she, him, her, they, them
0 Replies
 
TTH
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2007 03:43 am
In addition to what McTag wrote:

First person- our

Third person- it
0 Replies
 
navigator
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2007 08:57 am
Thanks TTH, and thanks McTag.

Must and have to both used for obligation. Must expresses obligation

imposed by the speaker, and have to expresses external obligation. I still

don't get this point.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2007 03:35 pm
navigator wrote:


Must and have to both used for obligation. Must expresses obligation

imposed by the speaker, and have to expresses external obligation. I still

don't get this point.


I don't fully understand this point. These expressions are interchangeable.

For example, it is correct to say

I must go to the bank today, and
I have to get some groceries on the way home

Both of these could be self-imposed, and equally both could be externally imposed on the speaker, to my way of thinking.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 02:48 pm
Just waiting, and wondering.....are there any other comments?
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 02:54 pm
"Must" seems to me to be a slightly stronger expression, but only slightly.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Sep, 2007 03:55 pm
I've got to, I have to, I must, even I am obliged to....all could be either self-obligation or external.

Example

I am obliged to read you your rights. (The law obliges me)

I am obliged to tell you that you eat too much. (Because I'm your friend and I care about you)
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Sep, 2007 05:16 am
navigator wrote:
Thanks TTH, and thanks McTag.

Must and have to both used for obligation. Must expresses obligation

imposed by the speaker, and have to expresses external obligation. I still

don't get this point.


I agree with McTag. The expressions are interchangeable.

I have never heard of the above distinction. If it exists, I can't find any reference to it anywhere, not that I've done major research (I looked in three books).

It is perfectly acceptable to say,

I must go home now.

and

I have to go home now.

I don't understand at all the reference to external obligation and obligation imposed by the speaker. The speaker and the kind of obligation are irrelevant.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2007 08:50 pm
Re: Difference between must and have to
navigator wrote:
Hi, I know that we can use both must and have in obligation. But, what I

can't get it are things like external authority or speaker's authority.

Thanks.


<must> carries a wee bit of external authority in that it is used in both positive and negative for rules, laws, regulations and the like. It is used in this fashion because modals [must, can, etc] are more formal than equivalent semi-modals/periphrastic modals/quasi modals [have to, need to, etc].

This idea may well have come from written English which has had a pronounced effect on supposed rules that speakers should follow. Still today academic writing makes almost no use of semi-modals.

Newspapers and magazines probably were more like the academic register in centuries past, leading some to think that because 'must' was most prevalent in writing, it had to follow that this was how it worked for all of English.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2007 09:11 pm
True enough, JTT. "Must" does carry authority. What I don't understand is, "External authority or speaker's authority." Anybody, regardless of rank or position, can use "must." "Have to" is less formal, but the CEO of a corporation would not be inappropriate in say, "They have to do this."

What am I missing?
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Sep, 2007 01:20 am
Nothing. It's all made up.

Learners of English should not have to bother with such obfuscation. Or indeed words like obfuscation.

Smile
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Sep, 2007 11:10 am
Roberta wrote:
True enough, JTT. "Must" does carry authority. What I don't understand is, "External authority or speaker's authority." Anybody, regardless of rank or position, can use "must." "Have to" is less formal, but the CEO of a corporation would not be inappropriate in saying, "They have to do this."

What am I missing?



Rules, laws, regulations, etc are all examples of external authority, Roberta but I'm sure you know that already. But just because anybody can use 'must', it is part of our language after all, it's the situation/ the context that it's used in that makes all the difference.

We can use 'may' for permission but for most situations we don't; native speakers opt for 'can' or 'could'. We can all use 'shall' but 'shall' used in laws/regulations connotes something slightly different. In language we're stuck with a limited number of modals to express an infinite number of thoughts/idea but luckily these modals can morph depending on the situation, even upon a speaker's intonation.

I'm not saying that there is anything major to this distinction, but it is out there. Perhaps Navigator could tell us where she/he found it.

My feeling is, and this is only my feeling, that this is another prescription that, like many of them, got out of control; a poor analysis of language was done.

I fully agree with you that any CEO could use 'have to' as you've noted. What might happen if that CEO set down a whole list of "have to's" in a meeting and an underling put them into a formal company memo as a new set of rules?
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Sep, 2007 11:38 am
You have to be kidding.

You must be kidding.


She must be crazy.

He has to be crazy to do that.


No real difference, really, although MUST can be an order, as in:

"All drivers in the right-hand lane MUST turn right."

That sounds stronger than:

"All drivers in the right-hand lane HAVE TO turn right."

I mean, they are both required to turn right in that lane but MUST somehow seems more like a command.

I find myself back to my original statement that there's no difference, really.
0 Replies
 
 

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