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Must / Have to

MUST                              HAVE TO


must and have to are used to express obligation or the need to do something.

They can be used interchangeably.

I) Meanings:

 ---MUST:    (subjective obligation)  In general, it expresses what the speaker thinks is necessary.

                 I must stop smoking.  / We must go it's already midnight.  /They must work harder.

 __HAVE TO:   (objective obligation)  In general, it suggests that somebody else has imposed the decision.

                     Tom has to wear a uniform at school.

II) Affirmative clauses:

            1° have to can be used in all tenses:

                      Tom had to wear a uniform last year  /  Tom will have to wear a uniform next year

                      Sonia is having to wait  / she may have to come back tomorrow

            2° must can be used to talk about the present or the future

                     Tom must call his mother tomorrow

                but it can't be used to talk about the past  ( you use have to)

III) Interrogative clauses:

                       Do you have to leave now?    /   Must you leave right now?

IV) Negative clauses:

                  The negative form of must and the negative form of have to are very different in meaning.

          1° must not / mustn't   is used to say that something is not allowed.

                  Children mustn't play with fire.   /   Passengers must not talk to the driver.  /  Visitors mustn't smoke. 

                  'must not' can't be used to talk about the past, you use another structure.

                  example: We were not allowed to park near the museum.

          2° don't have to  means that there is no obligation to do something, but you can do it if you want.

                  You don't have to drink alcohol, you can have a soft drink.

                  She doesn't have to arrive before 9.

V) Example:

        When the lights are red you must stop.

        You mustn't go on.

VI) Video in English for advanced users:

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English exercise "Must / Have to" created by lili73 with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from lili73]
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1. To drive a car you possess a driving licence.

2. While you are driving you listen to the radio, it is not necessary.

3. You drive without wearing a seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt is compulsory for the passengers too.

4. It is dangerous to talk on a cell phone and drive at the same time. Drivers do that.

5. In most countries it is illegal to use a cell phone in a car. In those countries drivers use phones in their cars.

6. Drivers be kind to other drivers

7. They get angry when there is a problem.

8. In France you insure your car. It's the law of the country.

9. On the road you respect the speed limit even if there isn't any radar.

10. Adult cyclists wear a helmet but a cautious rider should have one.

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