Submitted by tomolonight on May 21, 2009
What is an infinitive without “to”?
He need not wait.
He needs not wait.
Can you explain more about this?
May 21, 2009, 5:06pm
This is the use of "need" as an auxiliary, like "ought" or "must". Auxiliaries are followed by the plain form of the verb without "to".
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May 22, 2009, 8:22am
...except for "ought". Other auxiliaries are "can", "will", "should", "would", "might".
May 24, 2009, 8:51am
we call them <strong>modal</strong> verbs.
June 21, 2009, 6:47am
"He needs not wait" does not seem right to me. I would say, "He does not need to wait."
January 5, 2011, 12:39am
Is it ok to say HE NEED NOT WAI(T as the word, need, serves as an auxiliary??
June 15, 2014, 1:57pm
An infinitive without "to", also known as the bare infinitive, is used after modal auxiliary verbs (amongst others), for example:
"can do, will do, must do" etc
The verb "need" is a semi-modal, which means it can be used like a modal auxiliary verb or an ordinary verb:
"He need not wait." - modal with bare infinitive"He doesn't need to wait." - normal verb with "to"-infinitive
The modal use "need" really only occurs in negatives an questions "Need I do it right now?", and normal verb use is probably becoming more common, and the modal use .
As far as I'm concerned "He needs not wait."is ungrammatical: it is neither modal nor normal verb use, but is trying to mix the two. At Oxford Online they say "he need not worry, not he needs not worry":
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/en... (see Usage Note)
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