Have To vs Must

The words must and have to can be problematic when explaining to very young students who do not see the FINE difference between the use of them.  This post talks a little bit about these differences which are important for examination purposes.

Must expresses the speaker’s feeling while have to expresses an impersonal idea.  E.g. You must come and watch the match in my house.  This means, I, the speaker, want you to come. You have to come and watch the match. This means that there is a rule requiring you to come.  Must I wear this awful shirt? This means, am I obliged to wear it – what do you think?  Do I have to wear a tie to school? This means, am I obliged to because there is a rule forcing me to?

Must is used for specific obligation while have to is used for general obligation.  However, when both are used in the negative, they have different meanings. Mustn’t means prohibition.  E.g Footballers mustn’t touch the ball with their hands.  Don’t have to means absence of obligation.  E.g. Footballers don’t have to wear their kits all the time.

The following exercises will help students practise must/mustn’t, have to/don’t have to.

Fill in the gaps with the given verbs:  train, speak(2), do, wear, copy, get up eat, to be,obey

  1. You mustn’t  ……… during an exam.

  2. We have to ……. quietly in the library.

  3. Footballers don’t have to ………..their cleats when they aren’t playing a match.

  4. I don’t have to ……… the dishes because we have a dishwasher.

  5. We don’t have to ……..  …… early at the weekend.

  6. Footballers must ………… their coaches.

  7. We must ……. respectful to our teachers and friends.

  8. Footballers have to …….. balanced diets.

  9. Footballers don’t have to …….. during the summer.

  10. You don’t have to ……… quietly in a bookshop.

ANSWERS

  1. You mustn’t COPY during an exam.

  2. We have to SPEAK quietly in the library.

  3. Footballers don’t have to WEAR their cleats when they aren’t playing a match.

  4. I don’t have to DO the dishes because we have a dishwasher.

  5. We don’t have to GET UP early at the weekend.

  6. Footballers must OBEY their coaches.

  7. We must BE respectful to our teachers and friends.

  8. Footballers have to EAT balanced diets.

  9. Footballers don’t have to TRAIN during the summer.

  10. You don’t have to SPEAK quietly in a bookshop.

Fill in the gaps with must/mustn’t, have to/don’t have to plus the following verbs.

  1. You …….. ……… …….. stand up when the teacher comes into the classroom.

  2. Some children ………. ……. wear uniforms to school.

  3. You ………….. insult your friends or teachers.

  4. You …….. drive on the left in Britain and Ireland.

  5. You ………… drop your litter in the street.

  6. Some people …….. …… get up early at the weekends.

  7. In Spain you ………  ………  …… wear coats in the summer.

  8. Fans ………….. boo referees at football matches.

  9. Footballers ……… keep the rules of the game.

  10. Children ………  ……..  ……. go to school in the summer.

ANSWERS

  1. You DON’T HAVE TO stand up when the teacher comes into the classroom.

  2. Some children HAVE TO wear uniforms to school.

  3. You MUSTN’T insult your friends or teachers.

  4. You MUST drive on the left in Britain and Ireland.

  5. You MUSTN’T drop your litter in the street.

  6. Some people HAVE TO get up early at the weekends.

  7. In Spain you DON’T HAVE TO wear coats in the summer.

  8. Fans MUSTN’T boo referees at football matches.

  9. Footballers MUST keep the rules of the game.

  10. Children DON’T HAVE TO go to school in the summer.

A Footballer’s Life

A footballer’s life isn’t always easy.  Use must/mustn’t, have to/don’t have to in the following sentences.

  1. The footballer is injured.  His physio has told him he ……. stay in bed.

  2. The goalkeeper is injured too, but his physio has said he …….  ……  …. stay in bed.

  3. All footballers ……… have a balanced diet and they …… do exercise everyday if they want to peform well.

  4. The coach doesn’t ……. ……. make his footballers do strenuous exercise today because they did a lot yesterday.

  5. Footballers ………. wear their team’s kit when they are playing a match.

  6. Footballers ……….  ……… ….. wear their team’s colours when they are not playing a match.

  7. Footballers ……… respect their opponents on and off the pitch.

  8. Footballers ……….. drink alcohol before a match.

  9. Footballers ……..  …….  …. go to university.

  10. You …….. learn the difference between must and have to.

ANSWERS

 

  1. The footballer is injured.  His physio has told him he MUST stay in bed.

  2. The goalkeeper is injured too, but his physio has said he DOESN’T HAVE TO stay in bed.

  3. All footballers MUST have a balanced diet and they MUST do exercise everyday if they want to peform well.

  4. The coach doesn’t HAVE TO make his footballers do strenuous exercise today because they did a lot yesterday.

  5. Footballers MUST wear their team’s kit when they are playing a match.

  6. Footballers DON’T HAVE TO wear their team’s colours when they are not playing a match.

  7. Footballers MUST respect their opponents on and off the pitch.

  8. Footballers MUSTN’T drink alcohol before a match.

  9. Footballers DON’T HAVE TO go to university.

  10. You MUST learn the difference between must and have to.