Modal Verb: “Must”

“Must” is another modal verb used to express strong obligation or necessity. Must is the strongest and most serious modal verb. Here’s how you can use it:

  1. Affirmative Sentences:
  • I must finish this project by tomorrow.
  • She must attend the meeting at 9 AM.
  • They must submit their application forms before the deadline.
  1. Negative Sentences:
  • I mustn’t forget to call my parents.
  • She mustn’t arrive late for the interview.
  • They mustn’t ignore the warning signs.
  1. Questions:
  • Must I complete this form today?
  • Must she bring anything to the party?
  • Must they follow this procedure exactly?

“Must” is used to convey strong necessity or obligation, often based on rules, regulations, or personal convictions. It’s more authoritative than “have to” and is often used in formal contexts. It is unusual to use “must” in questions. 

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You can use “must” in English in a few different ways to express obligation, strong possibility, or even advice:

  • Obligation: This is the most common way to use “must.” It indicates something that is necessary or essential. Here are some examples:
    • “I must finish this report before the meeting.”
    • “The windows must be closed before it starts raining.”
    • “You must be at least 18 years old to vote.”
  • Strong Possibility: “Must” can also be used to show that you are very sure about something, even though it can’t be proven for certain.
    • “He must be angry because he didn’t say goodbye.”
    • “She must have gotten lost; she’s been gone for hours.”
    • “There must be another explanation for what happened.”
  • Giving Advice (Strong): While “should” is more common for advice, “must” can be used for emphatic recommendations.
    • “You must try this new restaurant; the food is amazing!”
    • “You must practice your presentation if you want to do well.

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English speakers prefer to use softer modal verbs such as “should not” or “ought not” to dissuade rather than prohibit.
Here are some things to keep in mind when using “must”:

  • It can sound demanding: Because “must” expresses strong obligation, it can sometimes sound bossy or demanding. If you’re giving someone a suggestion, “should” might be a better choice.
  • Usually present or future: “Must” is mainly used to talk about things that are happening now or in the future. For obligations in the past, we often use “had to” instead.
  • Questions: You can use “must” in questions, but “have to” is also common and can sound less forceful.

I hope this helps!

Check out. Modal verb: Have to.

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