The Semi-Modal Verb Need

The Semi-Modal Verb Need

It conveys an absence of necessity or obligation, and it is followed by a bare infinitive as a modal verb.

Need is a semi-modal verb. It is used in two ways as a modal verb and an action verb (main verb).

  1. Need is used as a modal verb:

Sub + need + action + obj.

You need go there.

She need take a rest now.

He need prepare his topic.

Needn’t /need not is used in no obligation or not essential to do something.

She needn’t go there. (Modal verb)

You needn’t fight with your neighbours.

She needn’t go alone over there.

She need not shift her house.

There are different words to indicate no obligation to do something—for example, no one, nobody, nothing. Need is used without ‘not’ when the above negative words are taken.

No one need tell a lie to him. I will handle the situation.

Nobody need express anything.

Interrogative sentence:

Need + Sub + action + obj?

Need you take a shower?

Need he learn the guitar?

Need they sell their property?

Need I take medicine thrice a day?


 ‘Need not have’ is used as a modal verb that denotes past. Or we can say it is used to convey an action that was not required but was done.

He need not have gone there.

I Need not have worked in school last year.

  • Need is also used as an ordinary verb/action. For examples:

You need to get ready soon.

He needs to win the match. Otherwise, he may lose his money in games of snooker.

You don’t need to go with him.

He doesn’t need to ask her.

Employees don’t need to tell a lie.

Does he need to teach kids?

Does he not need to leave his job? Or doesn’t he need to leave his job?

Do you need to carry the luggage?

Don’t you need to make a speech for the conference?

Note: ‘s’ is not used with need as a modal verb.


  1. Her hair is looking dirty. she ……. to wash. ( needs, need)
  2. Her bicycle is not helping in riding. She …… repair it. (need, needs)
  3. My animals are not hungry. They ……… to feed. (don’t need/need not)
  4. She knows how to speak English. She …….. learn English. (need not/ needs not)
  5. His room is untidy. He …….. to clean it. (needs/need)
  6. Bhupendra …….. to work in school last year. (didn’t need/need not have)
  7. He …………… gone there last month. (need not have/ didn’t need to )
  8. Do you …….. learn computer for a job? ( need to/needs to/need)

Does he …….. meet his uncle?  

  • (needs to/need to/ need)

10. did he ……. Speak English before the interviewer? (need to/ needed to/need have)

3,109 thoughts on “The Semi-Modal Verb Need

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