Modal Verbs Exercises for IELTS on Obligation, Necessity and Suggestions
Writing
Modal Verbs Exercises for IELTS on Obligation, Necessity and Suggestions

Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed my previous blog post. Today we're going to continue looking at modal verbs. If you haven't already read Modal Verbs 1 then I hope you find that a useful resource too. If you've read it already then let's get started! Obligation and Necessity We use the expressions must (mustn’t), have to, have got to, and need to talk about obligation and necessity when there is a need to do something. It might be that rules or the situation make it necessary (an external need) or that the speaker feels it is necessary (an internal need). Let’s take a closer look.  Must Must is a modal verb so its form doesn’t change. We use it in the present tense to talk about obligation and necessity.  Must is commonly used to express an obligation that comes from the speaker. I must get up earlier – I waste so much time in the mornings. (the speaker is making a rule for themselves) You must come and visit me in Paris. (the speaker wants this) Must is often used on signs, notices and printed information.  Have to/Need to Have to and need to are NOT modals so they can change. We use them to talk about obligation and necessity in the past and future as well as the present. My brother works at the hospital, he has to do night shifts every weekend.  Have to and need to are usually used when the obligation comes from an external source. e.g. a law or an institution. An obligation that we see as out of our control.  All students have to wear school uniform.  You have to get a work visa before you apply for the job.  Have to is more common in spoken English than must, but both are used in written English. We use have got to in British English (have got to is rare in US English) for external obligation like have to, but it is more informal and more common in speech than in writing. I’ve got to finish this essay, the deadline is 9am tomorrow. (Click to enlarge) No Obligation We use not need to and not have to when there is no necessity to do something. Sometimes you will hear people use need not, this is less common and I don’t recommend you use it.  You don’t need to bring food, lunch will be provided by the hosts. (= it is not necessary to bring food) When I was at school we didn’t have to wear a uniform. (= there was no rule about uniforms) You needn’t worry about your IELTS, you have worked hard and will do well.  (= there is no need for you to worry)   You mustn’t wait here. (= you are not allowed to wait here) You don’t have to wait here. (= you can go to another place to wait if you want to, or you can continue and not wait at all) (Click to enlarge) Suggestions We can use modal verbs should (not) and ought (not) to, to make suggestions and give advice. If we want to give strong advice we can use must. Here are some examples to show you the difference. You can add adverbs after a modal verb too. You should not listen to the news every day if it upsets you. (= It’s not a good idea) You ought to take some loose change with you. (= it’s a good idea) You must never give your personal details to strangers. (= I feel very strongly that this is important) Formal Written English When you want to give an opinion in formal or academic written English the verbs of obligation, necessity and suggestion that we have looked at in this blog post come in very useful. Here are some examples that you could easily adapt to use in your next Writing Task 2 essay: Governments should take advice from experts before they make new laws.  Parents should not let their children play violent video games. Companies ought to allow staff to work more flexibly.  Families need to spend more time together.  (Click to enlarge) I hope that you have enjoyed doing the activities in this post, the answers are below. If you have any questions then get in touch with the We Love IELTS team via Facebook or Instagram. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to our YouTube channel too.  Bye for now, Emma

Emma Cosgrave

1 July, 2021

Modal Verbs Exercises for IELTS on Obligation, Necessity and Suggestions

Modal Verbs Exercises for IELTS on Obligation, Necessity and Suggestions

Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed my previous blog post. Today we're going to continue looking at modal verbs. If you haven't already read Modal Verbs 1 then I hope you find that a useful resource too. If you've read it already then let's get started!

Obligation and Necessity

We use the expressions must (mustn’t), have to, have got to, and need to talk about obligation and necessity when there is a need to do something. It might be that rules or the situation make it necessary (an external need) or that the speaker feels it is necessary (an internal need).

Let’s take a closer look.

Must

  • Must is a modal verb so its form doesn’t change. We use it in the present tense to talk about obligation and necessity.
  • Must is commonly used to express an obligation that comes from the speaker.

I must get up earlier – I waste so much time in the mornings. (the speaker is making a rule for themselves)

You must come and visit me in Paris. (the speaker wants this)

  • Must is often used on signs, notices and printed information.

Have to/Need to

  • Have to and need to are NOT modals so they can change. We use them to talk about obligation and necessity in the past and future as well as the present.

My brother works at the hospital, he has to do night shifts every weekend.

  • Have to and need to are usually used when the obligation comes from an external source. e.g. a law or an institution. An obligation that we see as out of our control.

All students have to wear school uniform.

You have to get a work visa before you apply for the job.

  • Have to is more common in spoken English than must, but both are used in written English. We use have got to in British English (have got to is rare in US English) for external obligation like have to, but it is more informal and more common in speech than in writing.

I’ve got to finish this essay, the deadline is 9am tomorrow.

Activity 1 from IELTS Grammar for bands 6.5 and above

(Click to enlarge)

No Obligation

We use not need to and not have to when there is no necessity to do something. Sometimes you will hear people use need not, this is less common and I don’t recommend you use it.

You don’t need to bring food, lunch will be provided by the hosts. (= it is not necessary to bring food)

When I was at school we didn’t have to wear a uniform. (= there was no rule about uniforms)

You needn’t worry about your IELTS, you have worked hard and will do well. (= there is no need for you to worry)

Watch out! Tip From Emma

 

You mustn’t wait here. (= you are not allowed to wait here)

You don’t have to wait here. (= you can go to another place to wait if you want to, or you can continue and not wait at all)

Activity 3 from IELTS Grammar for bands 6.5 and above

(Click to enlarge)

Suggestions

We can use modal verbs should (not) and ought (not) to, to make suggestions and give advice. If we want to give strong advice we can use must. Here are some examples to show you the difference. You can add adverbs after a modal verb too.

You should not listen to the news every day if it upsets you. (= It’s not a good idea)

You ought to take some loose change with you. (= it’s a good idea)

You must never give your personal details to strangers. (= I feel very strongly that this is important)

Formal Written English

When you want to give an opinion in formal or academic written English the verbs of obligation, necessity and suggestion that we have looked at in this blog post come in very useful. Here are some examples that you could easily adapt to use in your next Writing Task 2 essay:

  • Governments should take advice from experts before they make new laws.
  • Parents should not let their children play violent video games.
  • Companies ought to allow staff to work more flexibly.
  • Families need to spend more time together.
Activity 4 from IELTS Grammar for bands 6.5 and above

(Click to enlarge)

I hope that you have enjoyed doing the activities in this post, the answers are below. If you have any questions then get in touch with the We Love IELTS team via Facebook or Instagram. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to our YouTube channel too.

Bye for now,

Emma

Answer Sheet: Modal Verbs

Emma Cosgrave

Emma has been teaching IELTS for 20 years. She enjoys helping people to develop both their language skills and confidence.

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