Added: Jonette Alkire - Date: 09.10.2021 02:36 - Views: 40578 - Clicks: 8872
It only takes a minute to up. Connect and share knowledge within a single location that is structured and easy to search. My English grammar knowledge tells me that "need" doesn't have the same status as the modal verbs "may", "can", "should" and what not. Hence the second usage where two verbs appear consecutively is incorrect. But yesterday, my native English speaking friends Americans told me that "I need compute this. How can this be? Is it a colloquial usage but grammatically incorrect, or is it grammatically correct?
If it is grammatically correct, is it because "need" is a semi-modal verb? EDIT2: the exact phrase that raised the question was "The advantage of this representation is that we need only compute sums and products". Your friend is correct. The verb "need" is a funny case; it is only modal in the negative. In the positive, we already have an equivalent modal verb; namely, "I must". However, there are two possible meanings for the opposite of "I must do this": "I am forbidden to do this" and "I am not required to do this".
These two different meanings are conveyed by the modal verbs "I must not" and "I need not". Searching with Google books, it appears to have been this way at least since although back then, there was a positive construction "I must needs", which has since for the most part fallen out of use. Thus, you get various grammatical constructions. Over the last few centuries, "I don't need to" has slowly been replacing "I need not", but "I need not do this" is still used reasonably frequently, and is grammatical. However, if "I need do this" was ever grammatical, it was in the long distant past.
Today, I believe most people would use "need to" here. But if your friend was using "need compute" in the negative, there is a good case to make for it being grammatical.
There's something missing from the description of the problem, which is the omission of the word only. I grant that it is an archaic construction, but I do not concede it is incorrect. I'm adding a note forwarded by "friend 2".
In fact, it appears that only does indeed affect grammaticality. Need can also have the same present-tense forms as modal auxiliary verbs In this case, need is normally followed by an infinitive without to. She needn't reserve a seat - there'll be plenty of room. These forms are used mainly in negative sentences needn'tbut they are also possible in questions, after if and in other 'non-affirmative' structures.
You needn't fill in a form. So, it seems we can use need as a modal verb in an affirmative sentence when a 'non-affirmative' word such as only, hardly, seldom etc. Look at Swann's last example: the sentence becomes incorrect when only is removed. Hope that helps. Simply put, your friends are wrong. Unfortunately, being a native speaker does not mean that one can speak a language correctly.
Far from it. Indeed, it is often the case tat those who speak a language best are those who have learned it very well as a second language. They tend to be more aware of the grammatical rules. I remember a Scottish friend trying to convince me the following sentence is correct English:.
That said, your friends may be confused by an archaic idiom. For example, a character in Shakespeare's Hamlet says:. This, however, is both archaic and different from needs compute. You could, if consciously trying to be pretentious say. I had red about "Need" and "Need to". When you use this sentence: "you do not need paper," means it is not necessary. I think it is regional usage. For example, "this needs solved" is common in western Pennsylvania. It might show up elsewhere. It is not grammatically correct. up to this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top.
Stack Overflow for Teams — Collaborate and share knowledge with a private group. Create a free Team What is Teams? Learn more. Asked 8 years, 8 months ago. Active 8 months ago. Viewed 92k times. Consider: I need to do this. I need do this. EDIT: in particular, is it okay to use "need compute" in a scientific paper? Improve this question. JEL Memming Memming 5 5 gold badges 10 10 silver badges 18 18 bronze badges. Here's a web with some links I haven't gone there.
In specific: No, it's not okay to use "need compute" in a scientific or academic paper. Unless you have a specific sentence, however, the question is moot: two words in isolation don't allow a good question. Please see this answer for more about the quasi-modals like need and dare. In contemporary English, modal need almost only ever occurs under inversion or negation.
Add a comment. Active Oldest Votes. Modal verbs do not use a "to". That is, you say I can do this. In the negative, you have: I need not do this. I do not need to do this. In the positive, you have: I must do this. I need to do this. Finally, in the past you could say it is not the case that I need compute this, since that is a negative use and this is why your friend might not be wrong. Improve this answer. Peter Shor Peter Shor Very nice answer. Thank you Peter Shor. I was not expecting to get an answer from one of the QC gods! But looking in Google books, you can easily find sentences such as "I do not think, however, that I need apologize for having done so"using the modal "need" in the same type of negative construction.
So it was still in use not so long ago. True, I've seen sentences structured that way, however, the construction of that sentence differs slightly from the construction of your last sentence. Also that is written English, which has remained much more formal then spoken English. Which of course is one of the reasons for confusion when it comes to English, there are differences between written and spoken English rules!
Searching among the first 50 instances of "need take" in Google books beforeaside from the construction "had need take" which isn't used nowadaysI only find one instance of need take that isn't negative in some way: "I should be obliged to you if you'll leave a Line or Two with Directions how to take the Things, and how long I need take them," from I'd say that need as a positive modal verb is currently ungrammatical. Show 5 more comments.
In this setting, we need only consider X. We could equivalently say 2. In this setting, we only need to consider X. I agree that the second is more common, but would submit that the first is not incorrect. According to Swann Practical English Usage, 3rd ed.
Need I fill in a form? I wonder if I need fill in a form. This is the only form you need fill in. Sorry: substitue "compute" for "consider" to recover the original sentence. But "only" wouldn't change the grammaticality of the problem. But why would the different position of only in the sentence alter the grammar of the sentence itself? Why would it be right to use need as a modal if you insert only between need and the following verb, whereas the same wouldn't be true when placing only before need?
Patrick T. Randolph Patrick T. Randolph 1, 3 3 gold badges 16 16 silver badges 25 25 bronze badges. Rather, they take a bare infinitive complement.
Need is a Semimodal or semi-modal verb. It's plenty peculiar. I remember a Scottish friend trying to convince me the following sentence is correct English: Where has Dave went? For example, a character in Shakespeare's Hamlet says: Such love must needs be treason in my breast. You could, if consciously trying to be pretentious say [ Samyar Esfandiari Samyar Esfandiari 1.
Ellie Kesselman 5, 3 3 gold badges 24 24 silver badges 50 50 bronze badges.
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need to do something