'is obliged to; has the necessity to' paraphrases for must?

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Tenacious Learner

Senior Member
Hi teachers,
Would 'is obliged to' be an appropriate paraphrase for 'must' or will it be better to say 'has the necessity to' in the paragraph?
I'd say the simplest and most natural phrase is 'he has to'. But then, how will the students get the meaning of obligation or necessity if those two possibilities are included in the explanation for 'must'?

The context written by me:
With the money in his wallet, and a few dollars in his pants pocket, he must buy a train ticket to London and a birthday present for Mary too. And in three days, he must pay his rent.

Thanks in advance.
  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    When we distinguish between obligation and necessity as meanings of 'must', the necessity in question is logical, not practical. Thus the example you have given is one of obligation, not necessity ('has to' or 'needs to' would be more usual there, but 'must' is still correct). 'Is obliged to' is a good paraphrase in that example.

    An example of logical necessity could be:

    'Jones just bought a house outright on his credit card.'
    'Wow! He must be rich.'

    It is a logical consequence that, if he can pay the full cost of a house within his credit card limit, he is rich.

    To paraphrase this meaning of must, you could say 'It is necessarily true that ...' etc.
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