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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #129964: To be to? or To have to?
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Making portraits, describing | Idioms [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Describing a face - Describing a picture - Adjectives: where to place them? - Vocabulary: sight - Vocabulary: room, place or space - Cause and consequence - Order of Adjectives - Vocabulary: idioms: emotions 1
    > Double-click on words you don't understand

    To be to? or To have to?

    " Il doit "... This verb phrase is very often used in French! 



    Yet, let's think about its meaning with a context: 

    - " Il doit arriver ce matin après un vol d'une nuit. " In this sentence, " il doit " expresses a

    prediction, a future action which is predicted,  fixed or planned... In English it will be: 

    'He is to arrive this morning after a night's flight.'


    - Now,  " Il doit arriver ce matin, sinon il sera disqualifié. " has exactly the same verb phrase, but the context

    is very different... Here, " il doit " means 'He has to', 'he is obliged to'. Therefore, the verb phrase expresses an   

    obligation: 'He has to arrive tomorrow morning, otherwise he'll be disqualified.'

    Such is the difficulty that French speakers have to overcome if they insist on wanting to translate their productions 

    [, which should never be done!...   ] Therefore, they'll have to decide very quickly whether they want to express

    a predicted action (to be to) or an obligation (to have to)! 

    Not that difficult, is it?   




    I) a) Generally: 

    The structure 'TO BE TO' is used to deal with actions that are fixed in advance. 

    It exists in the present and in the past. 

    - The Foreign Ministry is to fly to Washington urgently.


    b) 'Was/ were to' may express destiny or fate. 

    - She was to die at the age of 20... 


    c) An action that was planned but not realised is expressed by 'WAS/ WERE to+ past infinitive'. 

    (WAS/ WERE TO + [ have + past participle] )

    - The plane was to have landed this morning but has a 12-hour delay. 


    d) The expression 'You're (not) to' is often used to give strict orders (especially to children). 

    - You are to do your homework, and are not to play video-games. 


    e) In user manuals, 'IS/ ARE TO+ past infinitive' are very often used.  

    - The capsule is to be taken twice a day. 

    f)  Take care not to confuse 'TO BE TO' and 'TO HAVE TO', both expressed by the same verb in French: devoir. 


    It is, in fact, the purpose of this lesson; 

    - The sales are to start tomorrow and I have to buy a lot of clothes with little money! 





    II) a) 'HAVE +TO-INFINITIVE' expresses obligation: 

    - I have to go. 

    b) 'Got' is only used in the present, and in familiar English.  

    - I've got to go to the dentist's tomorrow. 


    c) The negative form expresses an absence of obligation. 

    - You don't have to tell him the truth.  

    d) The structure 'HAVE TO' exists in all tenses.  

    - She has never had to drive her own car.


    That's it! Make sure you remember when to use one verb phrase or the other.

    It's mainly 'TO BE TO' which seems to be problematic for you. Be careful! 

    The test will show you that it's very easy to distinguish them. Go for it!    


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    English exercise "To be to? or To have to?" created by here4u with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from here4u]
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    1. 'We had an agreement! You open and read my mail! It's strictly confidential!'

    2. 'Go to bed now! You take the train at 7.15... You've had this ticket for days...'

    3. 'Sorry, but I have no choice... I with him tomorrow, but don't worry, I'll be back in a few days.'

    4. 'You take this syrup every night before going to sleep..., but not too late!'

    5. 'The sales start next week and I'm making a list of what I need.'

    6. ' leave tonight? I have two tickets to the Opera tomorrow, and would like to go with you...'

    7. 'Your kids play with my computer! I need it for my work!'

    8. 'If we early for your appointment, we'd better leave home before lunch-time and have a sandwich on our way.'

    9. 'As the last rehearsal next week, I'd better learn my lines again to be ready for the show!'

    10. 'You if you don't want to, but it would be a great help for your sister.'

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