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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Must or Have to    

Must or Have to

Alyona C.

Must or Have to
Help me to choose the correct word, please.
1) The doctor says we must/have to take vitamins because we worrk a lot.
2) My father tells me that I must/have to walk the dog in the evening.
I think it �s have to. Am I right?
Thanks in advance.

6 Oct 2011      


Hi! sentence 1 is an external obligation comes from outside means that it is a necessity that should be taken into account by every one and not an order just to obey or please the doctor. So,we use have to. But in sentence 2 there �s an inter-subject relationship  a rule or order given by my father to me and expected to be obeyed just to please my father, it means that it �s an obligation related to the person himself. So, we use must
I hope it �s clear Smile

6 Oct 2011     

United States

As an American English speaker, I tend to use must and have to interchangeably. For me, must is a little stronger. But I would use either one in either of your examples.

7 Oct 2011     


I agree with MoodyMoody.
I use them somewhat interchangeably too, but I prefer �have to � for your sentences. It often depends on the context.
I must phone my mother. / I have to phone my mother.
I must buy some milk on the way home./ I have to buy some milk on the way home.
I might be a bit late, I have to buy some milk on the way home. (I wouldn �t use must here)
You must wash your hands before eating. (Formal rule)
You have to wash your hands before you eat. (What a mother might say to a child)

7 Oct 2011     


I must lose weight. (just determination)
I have to lose weight. (a strong obligation) If I don �t lose weight, they won �t accept me to the Royal Ballet Academy.
You must finish your homework. (strong advice)
You have to finish your homewok. If you don �t, you won �t pass the test tomorrow. (some external circumstances might be involved)
You must rustproof your car annually ( suggestion)
You have to rustproof your car annually. If you don �t, you �ll lose your warranty. (obligation)
For the the sentence # 1 I �d take �have to�. You must take the vitamins. General advice. You have to take the vitamins, because you work a lot. If you don �t, your health might get worse.
For the the sentence # 2 depends on the contest, if the dog hasn �t been taken for a walk during the day, then "have to", if it �s advice, then "must".

7 Oct 2011     


 as a english learner and according to what I have studied in grammar books ,I find NAZAR �s explanation the best

8 Oct 2011