I've got to vs I must

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by radon, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. radon Member

    Perdonate l'ignoranza, ma qualcuno può spiegarmi la differenza oppure quando è preferibile ricorrere all'una piuttosto che all'altra forma?

    Grazie :)
  2. "I've got to" è un'espressione che puoi usare talvolta al posto di "I have to" e significa "Io devo..." e va usata per le cose devono essere fatte in senso assoluto, no perchè lo pensi tu (in tal caso ci va il "must").

    "I need to" ha un significato diverso perchè significa "io ho bisogno di...".


  3. pescara Senior Member

    I've got to = I have to = I must = devo...

    I need to = ho bisogno di...

  4. fabry2811

    fabry2811 Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    Io credevo che la forma "have got to" è più colloquiale ma che per il resto è identica a "have to".
  5. Non credo, l'unica differenza è che "have got" si può usare solo al presente
  6. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Naples, Italy
    Italian, Neapolitan
    Almeno secondo le grammatiche del BE, una differenza importante c'è:

    "Have got to is not normally used about repeated obligation:

    I usually have to get to work at eight ( NOT I've usually got to...)"

    (Practical English Usage)
  7. radon Member

    Scusatemi tutti! In effetti ho sbagliato a scrivere io nel thread!
    Non volevo scrivere "I need to", volevo scrivere "I must" ma avevo in testa un'altra cosa! :)

    In effetti mi premeva capire la differenza fra "I've got to" e "I must to" (o "I have to") e capire se alle differenti formulazioni corrisponde o meno un utilizzo più corretto di una o dell'altra a seconda del contesto in cui sono usate.
  8. SleepingLeopard Senior Member

    English - United States (New York)

    I have to = I must = I've got to

    They all mean the same. Must is used more in BE than AE (Americans rarely use must. We usually prefer have to).

    I've got to is very colloquial and not really "proper" English (I wouldn't write it in anything but an informal e-mail, but it's very common in American speech).

    Also, notice the difference in usage. Must is not followed by "to".
    I have to leave.:tick:
    I must leave.:tick:
    I must to leave.:cross:
  9. Rosa7

    Rosa7 Senior Member

    English (Australia)
    I agree - at least, my primary school teacher told me I should never use the word "got" in my writing!
  10. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Naples, Italy
    Italian, Neapolitan
    What about the British textbook I mentioned earlier, which says that only have to, not have got to, can be used for habitual obligation (I usually have to...). Does this also apply in AE? What about AusE, Charles?;)

    As for must being more common in BE, I was surprised to read this thread in English Only, in which a British teacher of English as a foreign language says he hardly ever uses must and that he may well stop teaching it to his students altogether.
  11. Sleepingleopard is correct.
    I have to = I must = I've got to

    "have to" is used for habitual obligation. Example "I have to go to work every day"
    "have got to" is more emphatic and can be used if you want to express a duty to do something you don't want to do. Example "I have got to go to a funeral on Monday"

    In England we use "must" quite a lot. "I must do this, I must do that ......". It can suggest an imposed duty by a parent or teacher but not always as I would say "I really must 'phone my brother today as I haven't spoken to him in ages". I suppose teachers prefer "have to" as being correct and interchangeable with "must" but it is important to know "must" and "got to" or "gotta" (slang).

    Also in the negative "You mustn't drink too much" is used commonly while the negative of the others is difficult to express. If you don't teach the word "must" the only alternatives are "You can't (or shouldn't) drink too much" which have a different meaning.
  12. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    • According to this website the difference between must and have to is whether it is subjective or objective. The subject of have to is obliged to act by a separate, external power (e.g.the Law or school rules). Have to is objective.
    In France you have to drive on the right.
    In England, most schoolchildren have to wear a school uniform.

    In general, must expresses personal obligation. Must expresses what the speaker thinks is necessary. Must is subjective.

    I must stop smoking.
    You must visit us soon.

  13. Very interesting Charles! I am not convinced there is a subjective/objective difference. The site says "must" is not a real obligation but in BE we would equally say "In France you must drive on the right" and that is not a subjective personal decision.

    I do agree that in general must expresses personal obligation but it is also used here objectively.
  14. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    I think the distinction is becoming quite blurred nowadays. In Australia we tend to use both pretty well interchangeably, with have to as a preference. I just say what feels comfortable. Besides, not all grammarians will agree on a rule.
  15. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Naples, Italy
    Italian, Neapolitan
    Many thanks, Charles and Robert:)
    I just can't understand why a teacher would choose not to teach must to his/her students.
  16. Wobby Senior Member

    English [England]
    Taking this point a bit further, if you say 'you must not', it is necessary that you don't do something - i.e. 'non devi/deve ...'.

    But in certain examples (if it takes the form 'musn't as opposed to 'must not', it seems slightly 'weaker'), like the one RobertdiLondra gave, it means that you should not - it is not advisable, i.e. 'Non dovresti/dovrebbe...' / 'Non ti/Le consiglio di...'.

    A final use (well, the last I can think of at the moment) is to express a deduction , e.g. 'He mustn't be too hungry - he has eaten several tins of jelly already' - i.e. 'Non credo che.../Non suppongo che... abbia nessuna fame'. [Possibly 'Non deve aver nessuna fame'?]* These uses are restricted to the negative of 'must'.

    *I think you can use 'dovere' in this case still. Actually, I'm not sure if I translated those right, because I wasn't sure if you could put 'Credo che non abbia fame', with the 'non' in front of 'abbia' instead of 'credo', as they mean slightly different things. :confused:

    ~ * ~​

    However, with 'you don't have to', 'you don't need to', or the less commonly used 'you haven't got to', you have the choice - there is no necessity - i.e. 'non c'è bisogna che...' :)

    ~ * ~​

    EDIT: Just a quick note - 'ought not' can have exactly the same meanings as 'must not', apart from the one of deduction. But I would still stick to 'must not' - 'ought' in itself is rarely used. :D
  17. Janey UK

    Janey UK Senior Member

    Norfolk, England
    Native speaker of British English
    This is unfathomable to me too! Must is a versatile verb, and certainly more versatile in its negative form than "have to".

    If I wanted to express something that I was obliged NOT to do, I'd always use 'must not', or its abbreviated form 'mustn't", as in the following sentences:

    We mustn't be late for the wedding - the bride will never forgive us!
    I mustn't do any heavy drinking the night before my final exams...

    To use any other verb construction to express this would be difficult, at least in my opinion. I have heard people say didn't ought to, but to my ears this sounds terrible, even putting aside questions regarding its technical accuracy. The following examples should demonstrate how clunky it sounds:

    We didn't ought to be late for the wedding - the bride will never forgive us!
    I didn't ought to do any heavy drinking the night before my final exams...

    I've also heard ought not / oughtn't used, to the same effect. It's better than didn't ought to, but I still prefer to stick with mustn't.

    We ought not / oughtn't be late for the wedding - the bride will never forgive us!
    I ought not / oughtn't do any heavy drinking the night before my final exams...
  18. SleepingLeopard Senior Member

    English - United States (New York)
    In American English, we use have to not, saying something like:
    We have to not be late for the wedding.
    I have to not do any heavy drinking.

    I agree, it's not as elegant as mustn't. But mustn't is purely British, and we don't say it, so we adapted a way to make have to negative. ;)

    To clarify, in AE:
    I don't have to (verb) = Non ho bisogno di (verbo)
    I have to not (verb) = Non devo (verb)
  19. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Naples, Italy
    Italian, Neapolitan
    So you wouldn't even say he mustn't find out what we did, meaning it's imperative that he doesn't find out?

    What about must in the sense of deduction? Would you say something like he must have found out by now in AE?
  20. SleepingLeopard Senior Member

    English - United States (New York)
    Hi giovannino,

    Yes, we would use must in the second context (He must have found out), but not regarding obligation.

    In the first sentence, we wouldn't use must. I would either say He can't find out what we did, or He has to not find out what we did.

    This use of must is perfectly understandable to an American; we just don't say it. Hearing it from a Brit, or anyone with a foreign accent, it sounds fine, but if a native English speaker with an American accent were to say He must not find out, it would sound very strange to me. (Much like an American saying Cheers instead of Thanks ;)).

    Sorry for the confusion. I forgot about the other meaning of must. :)
  21. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Couldn't it be said that I (you, etc.) must or I (you, etc.) mustn't expresses a very strong obligation (or prohibition - in the negative) coming from the speaker (referring to the subject of the sentence)?
    So much so that one has to be very careful about "distributing" it to others.

    I must see this film! /I mustn't be late - are all things I can "decide" for myself but one should be more careful about saying you/he/she must do this/ mustn't do that!

    After all you don't have authority over everybody...
    A policeman may say to you: "you mustn't cross here" but I shouldn't if I don't have a strong authority over you. But if I heard what he said, I could say to you: you have to cross there, here it is not allowed.

    So I (you, etc.) have (got) to expresses an obligation that the speaker just conveys and whose origins are (say) official, coming from a third person who is an authority.

    I wonder what people who don't use must use in cases when it expresses deduction. Like in the following:
    He must be at home, his car is in front of the house.
    Would you just say "I think he is at home...?"
    Do you feel any difference?
  22. Wobby Senior Member

    English [England]
    I agree that 'must' does seem to be a very strong obligation, and I can see where you are coming from about the 'official' origins - I'd never really thought that hard about it before! However, what about cases like "You must stay! I will not allow you to leave!" - possibly it is because you are 'creating' your own 'law'? Do you think it has the connotations of 'andare + p.p', but in an active sort of way? :)

    As for the 'deduction' idea, I was struggling in trying to translate that. According to my dictionary, in Italian you can also use 'dovere' in this way, but I'm not 100% sure. I translated with 'I think/I suppose' to make the idea clear, but it is not the best translation, because it does not express how sure you are. Possibly 'I expect' or 'I believe' is better?
  23. MonicaGuido Senior Member

    Must è quando il dover fare qualcosa dipende da un'autorità esterna.
    Have to è un dovere che ci siamo imposti noi stessi.

    O per lo meno, a me l'hanno insegnata così...
  24. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    A lot of people say, He has to be at home, his car is in front of the house. In this situation there is no ambiguity because of his car is in front of the house.
    He has to be at home by itself could mean that he is required to be at home because the plummer is coming to fix the leak in the bathroom etc....
  25. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    I did it - maybe only? - while I was learning English as a foreign language and my attention was drawn to it (by books, teachers, etc.).
    The "official" was a reference to "authority" (mentioned as well), which exists everywhere (at least in theory :))!
    Although it is true that "obligation", "authority", etc. has a special flavour in English.
    It may not even occur to us that "innocent" words, expressions sound impolite for an English speaking listener because for him they may indicate "ordering other people around".
    I think this is why this question (involving the expression of authority, orders, strong needs, etc.) is particularly important to be studied carefully.

    I think I called it an obligation coming from the speaker. But in this case "laws" are not necessarily the first things to think about, rather some personal "urgency"/(strong) need.
    Another "trick": the opposite of "you must stay" is not "you mustn't stay" but something like "you may go" (couldn't care less...! :)).
    Imagine you are at home with a friend who is a very enthusiastic birdwatcher and you've just found out that your husband invited a great expert on the subject (for dinner, say) who would surely be interested in meeting your friend and (above all) it would be very useful for your friend to meet him as well.
    Even if this friend wanted to go away (did not plan to stay for the evening, doesn't want to "disturb", a shy person, etc.), you could say to him (probably with a lot of enthusiasm, encouragment in your voice): "You must stay!" (Meaning something like: Don't be shy! It'll be absolutely good for you even if you don't think so at the moment! or Help! I don't want to stay "alone" in such a crowd! It's only you who can save me from dying of boredom! This is the moment to show that you are a friend! Etc.)
    The point is not that you oblige him to do a particular thing (even if it looks like that; it can be a "playful" obligation) but to express that you find it very important, good, useful, etc. for him to do that. (Either for himself or for you.)
    (It is not equal to "I will not allow you to leave!", a prohibition is expressed by mustn't. There you don't leave any choice for your listener and therefore it is very "serious"; to be used with a lot of caution!)

    Do you mean something like this: You must see this film - Vai visto questo film.? Sorry, I never met this construction. You must have meant something else.

    It is true that you are fairly sure of what you are saying when you use must to express deduction. I suppose this is why it is replaced by "have to" in some cases as was mentioned above... (But not in BE.)
    But the fact that there are several ways of translating it into Italian indicates that there are also other factors to be taken into consideration when translating it. What these factors are exactly depends mainly on the Italian.
    In any case, translation is made easier when you have a context (know what the author wants to express exactly), you just have to imagine that in such a situation what would be the most natural thing to say...
    This is why there is a preference for translating into your own native language because you are supposed to master that language the best.

    Monica, just the other way round! :)
  26. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Naples, Italy
    Italian, Neapolitan
    Well, because of the influence of AE on BE, the use of have (got) to for deduction has become common in BE. The following quote is from 1995:

    "Both must and have (got) to can be used to express the conclusion that something is certain. Have (got) to used to be unusual in BE in this sense, but is now becoming common: This must be the worst job in the world (BE) or This has (got) to be...; You must be joking (BE) or You've got to be joking"
    (Michael Swan)

    Even the Longman dictionary lists this use of have (got) to without labelling it as AE:

    "4. used to say that you are sure that something will happen or something is true House prices have to go up sooner or later. This has to be a mistake. You have got to be joking! No one else could have done it - it had to be Neville."
  27. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Thank you, giovannino, it was very interesting!
    However, I do feel a difference in some of these sentences between deduction and speculation as well as colloquial, everyday use and "classical examples" for a grammatical rule.
    It is difficult to please more and less advanced learners at the same time! :)
  28. Wobby Senior Member

    English [England]
    I was actually thinking more along the lines of 'La zuppa va servita fredda' - 'The soup must/should be served cold', in reference to the obligatory definition of must. Although it's a passive form of obligation? :)

    I'm not sure if it would work with 'You must see this film!' - 'Certamente questo film va guardato!'? And I doubt that it would work with the deduction version. :D
  29. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Naples, Italy
    Italian, Neapolitan
    Actually it would indeed work, Wobby: è un film che va visto (a tutti i costi), or è un film da vedere.
    However, especially if must is stressed (You must see this film) I would translate it as devi assolutamente vedere questo film, which is stronger.
  30. Wobby Senior Member

    English [England]
    Aah, that's pretty cool then! So 'andare + p.p' works for the first 2 meanings of 'must' - i.e. 1) one is instructed to do something (p.es. "In un'aula di tribunale, la verità va sempre raccontata"), and 2) one is strongly advised to do something (p.es. "È una canzone che va ascoltata a tutti i costi"). :)

    But I'm guessing it does not work for meaning 3) - deduction. For example, 'John must not be hungry (as he has already eaten several packets of crisps)', probably cannot be translated with 'John va senza fame', as it probably makes little sense or means something different, and is not a passive sentence anyway, so is not of the same construction? :confused:

    By the way, I just want to check - does 'dovere' work with the idea of deduction as above? I.e. 'John non deve aver fame' - could that have all 3 interpretations of must [ 'John should not be allowed to go hungry at all costs', 'It is recommended that John does not go hungry' and 'I doubt that John is hungry (due to previous circumstances)' ], or do all 3 not work? Or possibly none of them sound right? If it does, then it would seem that 'dovere' is the perfect translation of 'must'... ;)
  31. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Isn't the negative form of deduction: John cannot be hungry (because he's already eaten...)?

    For me John must not be hungry means that it is forbidden to him - strange.
  32. Montesacro Senior Member

    You guessed right: “andare + participio passato” cannot be used to express deduction.

    No, this sentence makes no sense (and the past participle is missing…)

    Mmh, after musing profoundly over the mysteries of Italian usage, I’ve come to the conclusion that “dovere” works well with the idea of deduction only in affirmative sentences with the (auxiliary) verb “essere” :

    È sconvolto: gli deve essere successo qualcosa di grave :tick:
    È sconvolto: non gli deve essere successo nulla di buono :tick:(yes, I know, it is a negative sentence but the double negation sort of sets it right)
    Sono solo le cinque; non deve essere ancora tornato :cross:(don't like it)
    È sconvolto: non deve avere avuto una buona giornata :tick:(Mmh, this one sounds fine to me: I'm confuting my own theory...)

    È triste: la sua squadra del cuore deve avere perso :tick:(ok, but a bit clumsy)
    È triste: la sua squadra del cuore non deve avere vinto :cross:

    È da ieri che non mangia: deve essere affamato :tick:
    È da ieri che non mangia: deve avere fame :tick:(ok, but much less effective in conveying the idea of deduction than the previous example, although “Io ho fame” is much more common than “io sono affamato”)

    A pranzo ha mangiato come un bue: ora non deve essere più affamato (awful!)
    A pranzo ha mangiato come un bue: ora non deve avere più fame (no sense of guess here, only obligation!)

    Anyway we Italians prefer by far to use the future tense (or verbs like credere, supporre, immaginare + subjunctive) to make a deduction:

    È da ieri che non mangia: immagino che abbia fame
    È da ieri che non mangia: sarà affamato
  33. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    It was very interesting, Montesacro, thanks!
    Just one question
    If this sentence could be translated as : ... now he shouldn't be hungry or he shouldn't be hungry anymore then there is no obligation.
    For me it indicates that it is not reasonable to suppose [such a thing].
    Would you agree concerning the Italian, too?
  34. Montesacro Senior Member

    If I wanted to say that it is not reasonable to suppose something I would use the conditional tense:

    A pranzo ha mangiato come un bue: ora non dovrebbe avere più fame. (...he shouldn't be hungry anymore)

    and I would agree that it would be hard to perceive a sense of obligation here.
  35. Wobby Senior Member

    English [England]
    Yes, thanks, as Zsanna said, that was very interesting! :)

    So 'dovere' generally works for all definitions of 'must', apart from for 'deduction', which tends to require it to be an affirmative 'essere' sentence. In other cases of deduction, you could use 'credo che', 'suppongo che', and 'immagino che', etc.

    By the way, would the location of the word 'non' make a difference, or is there only one place you can put 'non'? E.g. 'Non credo che sia felice' as compared to 'Credo che non sia felice', where in English, the first would suggest that you don't think that he/she is happy - either because you think him/her not to be, or because you know that he/she is, for example. However, the second in English would only suggest that you don't think he/she is happy. Does one of these not work in Italian?
  36. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Oh, I'm not going to give it up as easily, Montesacro! :)

    In the conditional even in English you'd say it otherwise:
    ... he wouldn't be hungry.

    He+ should had a special use in the previous!
  37. Montesacro Senior Member

    Both sentences work in Italian:

    Non credo che Paola sia felice (you don’t think it is true that she is happy)
    Credo che Paola non sia felice (you think it is not true that she is happy)

    Actually the difference is rather blurred… ;)

    The same as in Italian:
    Non credo che Paola sia felice, lo so! :tick:(stress on credo and so). Even better:
    Non è che creda che Paola sia felice, lo so! :tick:

    Credo che Paola non sia felice, lo so! :cross:

    Zsanna, the problem lies in the definition of “conditional tense”, which is inevitably different in the two languages. :)
    English uses the auxiliary verb “would” to form the conditional, while Italian (just like any other romance language) has a specific tense.
    Generally speaking I can assure you that “should” is best translated in Italian using the conditional form of the verb dovere (dovrei, dovresti, dovrebbe), so:

    He shouldn’t be hungry = non dovrebbe avere fame


    He wouldn’t be hungry = non avrebbe fame.

    Will you give it up now? (I’m joking… :))
  38. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Now that I'm enjoying myself so much? :)
    Thanks, I understand now what you meant by conditional (of "dovere", not "just" conditional). However, I still do not know how to translate
    A pranzo ha mangiato come un bue: ora non deve avere più fame into English (if it is not with the help of "shouldn't").
    The funny thing is that just by reading it I have the impression of having understood it without any problem...

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