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Need sometimes behaves like a modal, for example 'She need know', 'She needn't know', or, in more formal English, 'She need not know'.

Examples:

1: You needn't worry

2: Buying budget-priced furniture needn't mean compromising on quality or style...

3: Loneliness can be horrible, but it need not remain that way...

4: You needn't come again, if you don't want to...

[an excerpt from Collins COBUILD Dictionary]

I would have written the above examples as:

1: You needn't to worry

2: Buying budget-priced furniture doesn't mean compromising on quality or style...

3: Loneliness can be horrible, but it need not to remain that way...

4: You needn't to come again, if you don't want to...

Questions:

1: I suppose to is functioning as a preposition in the above examples. Why can't a preposition be used after a modal?

2: What is the difference in meaning between my version of example #2 and the original one?
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Comments  
Hi Jackson

1. For your first question, let me ask you a counter-question (since I think you actually know at least part of the answer already):
What type of word follows a preposition?

2. Your version:
Buying budget-priced furniture never means compromising on quality or style.

The original version:
Buying budget-priced furniture often means compromising on quality or style, but it doesn't necessarily have to mean that.
(The suggestion here is that it is possible do something in order to make sure that you don't have to compromise on quality or style.)
Hi Amy,

I think a preposition can only be followed by a noun, pronoun, gerund, or a noun phrase. That's what I know.
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Jackson6612Need sometimes behaves like a modal, for example 'She need know', 'She needn't know', or, in more formal English, 'She need not know'.

Examples:

1: You needn't worry

2: Buying budget-priced furniture needn't mean compromising on quality or style...

3: Loneliness can be horrible, but it need not remain that way...

4: You needn't come again, if you don't want to...

[an excerpt from Collins COBUILD Dictionary]

I would have written the above examples as:

1: You needn't to worry

2: Buying budget-priced furniture doesn't mean compromising on quality or style...

3: Loneliness can be horrible, but it need not to remain that way...

4: You needn't to come again, if you don't want to...

Questions:

1: I suppose to is functioning as a preposition in the above examples. Why can't a preposition be used after a modal?
Hi Jackson

You've got it wrong. To isn't a preposition in your sentences after need, it's a particle before an infinitive.

Examples of to as a preposition:

I am going to the park.
We are listening to him.

Examples of to as part of an infinitive:
I want to go there.
It's impossible to learn this.

The to-particle is normally not used after a modal auxiliary, or a defective auxiliary, as they are also called:
I will do it tomorrow.
Can he swim?
You should buy it.
You should have bought it.

If you use need or dare in the same way as the modals are used, they behave in exactly the same way as the modals:
1. You don't use do in questions and negations.
2. You don't use the third person singular s-inflection.
3. You don't use to before the infinitive.

Examples:
Can he come? Need he come? Dare he come?
1. NOT: Does he can come? (Wrong!!!)
2. NOT: Cans he come? Needs he come? Dares he come? (Wrong, wrong, wrong!!!)
3. NOT: Can he to come? Need he to come? (Wrong!!!)

You cannot use need in the past tense at all in the above way, but dare is sometimes possible in the past tense as well:
He dared not do it. (Or: He didn't dare to do it.)

Cheers
CB
Need sometimes behaves like a modal, for example 'She need know', 'She needn't know', or, in more formal English, 'She need not know'.
Palmer (The English Verb) says, "The modal forms [of need] are available only with ... negation and interrogation." So She need know is not possible. It has to be She needs to know.
He also says that "modal dare can be used with past time reference though it cannot have any past tense marking", that is, there is no modal form dared. His example is:

I wanted to go, but I daren't.

CJ
CalifJim
Need sometimes behaves like a modal, for example 'She need know', 'She needn't know', or, in more formal English, 'She need not know'.
Palmer (The English Verb) says, "The modal forms [of need] are available only with ... negation and interrogation." So She need know is not possible. It has to be She needs to know.

CJ

Hi CJ,

I quoted that example from Collins COBUILD Dictionary. Does that mean Collins is not a reliable resource?
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Collins may be a very reliable source for most purposes. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water!
But in this case, it turns out that a grammarian (Palmer) and the Collins Dictionary do not agree on the correct use of the verb need. It is not unusual to find disagreements of this kind in different books.

(Personally, I've never heard the kind of usage quoted in the Collins Dictionary. The usage I've always heard and used is that described by Palmer.)

CJ
Thanks for the important information, CJ.
Jackson6612I quoted that example from Collins COBUILD Dictionary. Does that mean Collins is not a reliable resource?
Hi all

As Jim says, usage experts - including us Emotion: smile - often disagree.Dared is frequently used by native speakers, I for one have heard it many times. A Google search for dared not say gives 24,200 hits, for example.

CB
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