must - have to

simonaj

Senior Member
italian, Italy
I studied the difference between "must" and "have to": Must is personal, have to is impersonal. But in what cases is it possible using them interchangebly?
 
  • MrJamSandwich

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    In terms of context, the two are virtually always interchangeable, but must - being monosyllabic - sounds more immediate, more imperative. In British English (I'm not sure about usage elsewhere), must is more frequently used in written language, whereas have to is more commonly spoken. To my ears, must when spoken can sound quite brusque.

    Another spoken variant, more informal and, some would argue, incorrect, is have got to - as in, I've got to feed the cat. The meaning is again exactly the same, but it sounds more casual.
     

    simonaj

    Senior Member
    italian, Italy
    Thanks, so the difference is not so strict... and for instance : "I must go" can be "I have to go" too (even if it's a personal feeling)?
     

    MrJamSandwich

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Thanks, so the difference is not so strict... and for instance : "I must go" can be "I have to go" too (even if it's a personal feeling)?
    Both are correct in any context - but personally I rarely use "must" when speaking, except in this sort of construction:
    Why isn't Paul here?
    He must have forgotten.

    This sounds perfectly natural, for all registers and situations because have to doesn't really fit into the compound past tense:

    He has to have forgotten.
    This doesn't sound particularly wrong to me, but it is very seldom used, if ever.

    As for nearly every grammar point, this may vary between different English-speaking regions.
     

    simonaj

    Senior Member
    italian, Italy
    Potete darmi qualche esempio di quando possono essere utlizzati sia "must" che "have to"? E cosa significa che "have to" è impersonale?
     

    ElaineG

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    Must is personal, have to is impersonal
    Non capisco. Dove hai trovato quest'idea?

    I must do my homework before I can go to the party.
    I have to do my homework before I can go to the party.

    I must eat something soon!
    I have to eat something soon!

    You must tell me what's going on with your new boss.
    You have to tell me what's going on with your new boss.

    Secondo me, vogliono dire più o meno la stessa cosa, è solo che "must" è po' più forte.
     

    Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    Thanks, so the difference is not so strict... and for instance : "I must go" can be "I have to go" too (even if it's a personal feeling)?
    Or, casually and more often spoken (at least in the US):

    I have got to go ---> I've got to go ---> I've gotta go.

    The last one there is purely a written form of spoken English and it is incorrect as written, but essentially correct when it is spoken. I never say I have got to go, or even I've got to go. I would always say "I've gotta go," with no break between got and to (a distinction that may only be discernable to the cautious listener or a native). Sorry if this confuses you :)
     

    Panpan

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I think the one time I would definitely use 'must' instead of 'have to', is when it is follwed by the verb 'to have'. E.g. Devo averlo - 'I must have it', prefered to 'I have to have it'. (A fashion item is sometimes described as a 'must-have'). Otherwise I agree, they are interchangable.

    Panpan
     

    Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    I think the one time I would definitely use 'must' instead of 'have to', is when it is follwed by the verb 'to have'. E.g. Devo averlo - 'I must have it', prefered to 'I have to have it'. (A fashion item is sometimes described as a 'must-have'). Otherwise I agree, they are interchangable.

    Panpan
    In AE, I'm use to hearing have to have with this emphasis:

    I have to have it.

    I think, but I'm not sure, there is a greater use of "must" in BE, though not by too much, really.
     

    Panpan

    Senior Member
    England, English
    You wouldn't be more likely to say 'I gotta have it'? I agree with you though, 'have to have' is just as comprehensible, I am only talking about my own preference for 'must have'.
    Panpan
     

    simonaj

    Senior Member
    italian, Italy
    Non capisco. Dove hai trovato quest'idea?

    I must do my homework before I can go to the party.
    I have to do my homework before I can go to the party.

    I must eat something soon!
    I have to eat something soon!

    You must tell me what's going on with your new boss.
    You have to tell me what's going on with your new boss.

    Secondo me, vogliono dire più o meno la stessa cosa, è solo che "must" è po' più forte.
    Ho fatto una piccola ricerca e ho trovato che have to si usa quando è un'obbligazone che viene da circostanze o regole esterne.
    For instance "In England you have to drive on the left", ma forse è una regola solo teorica che resta sui libri di grammatica?
     

    cjwoodso

    Senior Member
    English,Castellano, Perú
    I believe that "must" does not have the urgency that "have to" has. the word "must" dictates a responsibility whereas "have to" is a requirement.

    charles
     

    SidneyB

    New Member
    UK, English
    An additional thought, albeit a little late:

    One circumstance where "must" and "have to" are most definitely not interchangeable - when they are used in the negative.

    "You must not drive on the left" means driving on the left is forbidden, or highly inadvisable

    "You don't have to drive on the left" means driving on the left is not necessary, or not obligatory.

    Hope this helps.
     

    pagliaccio

    Member
    ITALIAN
    I have to pick them up = devo andarla a prendere

    Ma non è corretto usare must al posto di have to

    I must pick them up.

    Ciao a tutti e buona Champions
     

    sdon

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Vorrei sapere ma "non dovrai farlo" nel senso è proibito

    You won't have to do it

    VA bene o è meglio You won't be allowed to...

    Me lo chiedo perchè mustn't e haven't to hanno significati in pratica opposti al negativo mentre al positivo sono spesso intercambiabili
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    You won't have to do it = Non avrai bisogno di farlo (o qualcosa del genere)
    You won't be allowed to do it = Non sei permesso di farlo

    Due accezzioni decisamente diverse.
    Hai menzionato 'haven't' ma non lo vedo nel tuo post in un esempio?
     

    sdon

    Senior Member
    Italian
    IL senso è NON DOVRAI FARLO perchè è proibito.

    Siccome so che have to sostituisce MUST nei tempi futuro e passato che Must non ha pensavo che

    You won't have to do it

    Significasse appunto

    Non dovrai farlo (perchè è proibito!)

    IN quel caso il senso di must è reso da not allowed to?!
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Per non dovrai farlo direi
    You shouldn't do that.
    Per non devi farlo
    You mustn't do that.
    Sono sbagliato?
    We also say you're not supposed to do that which is difficult to translate accurately, I think.
     

    Phil9

    Senior Member
    UK English
    You mustn't do it means that it is probably forbidden or that you shouldn't do it. e.g.:

    You mustn't go through a red light (because it's forbidden).

    Mother to child:You mustn't interrupt your teacher when she's talking (because it's considered rude, but not illegal)


    You won't have to do it means that it will not be necessary for you to do it or that no one will force you to do it. It doesn't mean that it's forbidden. e.g.:

    You should have an audition to join this choir, but you won't have to do it. (because they're desperate for new singers).
     

    sdon

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Quindi anche se volessi dire

    "NOn dovevi farlo" potrei dire meglio

    "YOu shouldn't have done it" invece di "You didn't have to do" nel senso che era proibito (forbidden)??
     

    cavazzina

    New Member
    italian-english
    Ciao, dovrei tradurre questa frase ma non so con precisione come fare. la frase è : devo andare da mia mamma perchè è malata. riuscite a tradurla? magari spiegando, grazie in anticipo!

    must o have to? come tradurre questa frase? devo andare da mia mamma perchè è malata
     
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    Benzene

    Senior Member
    Italian from Italy
    Ciao cavazzina!

    Si usa "must" quando chi parla ritiene molto importante e/o indispensabile fare qualcosa.

    Quando il verbo "dovere" implica un obbligo o un comando allora si usa "to have to".

    La forma negativa "must not or must'n" indica una proibizione.

    Bye,

    Benzene
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Ciao, dovrei tradurre questa frase ma non so con precisione come fare. la frase è : devo andare da mia mamma perchè è malata. riuscite a tradurla? magari spiegando, grazie in anticipo!

    must o have to? come tradurre questa frase? devo andare da mia mamma perchè è malata
    Ciao e benvenuta.

    I need to go visit my mother because she is sick.
    I must go visit my...

    Forse la prima forma sia più naturale.
     
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