Dare and Need

In English grammar, some verbs express unique and specific actions or states of being. Two such special English verbs are “dare” and “need”. These verbs are a little unique, acting as both modal auxiliary verbs and main verbs. This tutorial aims to delve into their grammatical roles and provide extensive examples for a better understanding of their usage.

The verb ‘Dare’

The verb “dare” can act in two ways: as a modal auxiliary verb and as a main verb. Both usages hold a similar meaning of ‘to have the courage or audacity to do something.’

1. Dare as a modal verb

Here, ‘dare’ is often used in negative sentences, interrogative sentences, or with a negative word, implying the speaker’s doubt or hesitation about doing something. The structure usually goes like this:

  • Dare + subject + infinitive without to?

This structure is common in British English. And when used as a modal verb, ‘dare’ doesn’t change according to the person (e.g., I/we/you/they dare not…)

For example:

  • How dare you interrupt me?
  • I dare not disturb him. He’s very busy.

2. Dare as a main verb

As a main verb, “dare” can be followed by an infinitive with ‘to’. It can also be used in all forms, including the continuous and perfect tenses. Also, unlike as a modal verb, “dare” as a main verb can be used in declarative sentences:

  • She dares to challenge the traditional norms.
  • He doesn’t dare to express his feelings.

The verb ‘need’

Like ‘dare’, ‘need’ can be used as both a main verb and as a modal auxiliary verb.

1. Need as a modal verb

‘Need’ as a modal verb has a similar use to ‘must’. It implies obligation or necessity. Also, similar to ‘dare’, it is more commonly used in British English and usually appears in questions and negative statements in the present and past.

The structure of ‘need’ as a modal verb is:

  • Need + subject + infinitive without to?

For example:

  • Need I say more?
  • You needn’t have brought a gift.

2. Need as a main verb

When ‘need’ acts as a main verb, it refers to the absence or requirement of something. In other words, it means something is necessary.

The structure is as follows:

  • Subject + need + object + to-infinitive.

For example:

  • I need you to finish the report by tomorrow.
  • She needs to practice her presentation.

Common Rules and Notes

1. While ‘dare’ and ‘need’ can function as modal auxiliary verbs, they are not as broadly used as modals like ‘can’, ‘will’, ‘should’, etc. It’s essential to remember that their usages in this role are somewhat limited and specific.

2. As main verbs, both ‘dare’ and ‘need’ can adopt ‘not’ directly after them to make negative statements e.g., “I dare not”, “I need not”.

3. It’s worth noting that ‘dare’ as a modal verb isn’t largely found in American English, and ‘need’ as a modal verb isn’t common in the present tense.

In sum, understanding the usage of ‘dare’ and ‘need’ can add flexibility to your English expression, and ensure you are not only grammatically accurate but also sounding more native. Just remember the rules and practice with real-life examples!

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