need


need
need verb.
1. Like dare, need can behave in two ways: as an ordinary verb and as a modal auxiliary verb sharing some of the characteristics of the main modals including can, may, might, should, etc. As an ordinary verb, need is regular and can be followed by a simple object (We need more bread), a verbal noun (The cupboard needs cleaning), or a to-infinitive (They need to see for themselves). As a modal verb, it has certain grammatical restrictions: (1) it is only used with a so-called ‘bare’ infinitive without to (I'm not sure you need answer), (2) it is only used in the negative and in questions without do (You need not answer / Need I answer?), (3) the third person singular form is need without addition of s (He says she need not answer). Note that in many cases the modal use can alternatively be expressed by need as an ordinary verb, e.g. He says she does not need to answer, but the sense is then more one of neutrally stating a fact whereas the modal use normally expects a type of response (i.e. he does not want her to answer).
2. Some contextual examples follow: (modal use)

• The Landlady need never know —J. Frame, 1985

• But need she lie? Was he just a boy? —M. Leland, 1985

• It need not only be children who can enjoy guessing games —Spectator, 1988

• Contemporaries do not conveniently die at the same time, nor need they all be dead before we write the history of their exploits —M. Inwood, 2000

• (ordinary use) The K2 tragedy shows that much more needs to be done to bring home the lesson —Times, 1986

• She acted as if Strawberry needed to be cuddled —New Yorker, 1988

• That's the area that one needs to be a little careful about —CNN news transcripts, 2002 [OEC].

3. In its use as an ordinary verb in the meaning ‘stand in want of’, need can be followed by either a verbal noun (which is more common in speech) or a passive to-infinitive (The car needs washing / The car needs to be washed). A third type, The car needs washed, is primarily Scottish:

• I walked round the cottage to see what needed done —C. Burns, 1989.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • need — [nēd] n. [ME nede < OE nied, akin to Ger not, Goth nauths < IE * neuti < base * neu , to collapse with weariness > Welsh newyn, starvation] 1. necessity or obligation created by some situation [no need to worry] 2. a lack of something …   English World dictionary

  • need — n Need, necessity, exigency may all denote either a state or condition requiring something as essential or indispensable or the thing required. Need implies pressure and urgency arising either from external or internal causes or forces; it may… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Need — (n[=e]d), n. [OE. need, neod, nede, AS. ne[ a]d, n[=y]d; akin to D. nood, G. not, noth, Icel. nau[eth]r, Sw. & Dan. n[ o]d, Goth. nau[thorn]s.] 1. A state that requires supply or relief; pressing occasion for something; necessity; urgent want.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • need — need·ces·si·ty; need·ful·ly; need·ful·ness; need·i·ness; need·less; need·ment; need; need·ful; need·less·ly; need·less·ness; …   English syllables

  • Need To — Single by Korn from the album Korn Released April 8 …   Wikipedia

  • Need To — «Need To» Сингл Korn из альбома Korn Выпущен 1995 Формат CD Записан …   Википедия

  • Need — 〈[ni:d] n. 15; unz.; Psych.〉 Menge aller subjektiven, an der Umwelt orientierten Bedürfnisse [<engl. need „Bedürfnis“] * * * Need [ni:d], das; [s] [engl. need = Bedürfnis] (Psychol.): Gesamtheit der Antriebe, Bedürfnisse, Wünsche u. Haltungen… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Need — (n[=e]d), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Needed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Needing}.] [See {Need}, n. Cf. AS. n[=y]dan to force, Goth. nau[thorn]jan.] To be in want of; to have cause or occasion for; to lack; to require, as supply or relief. [1913 Webster] Other… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • need — [n1] want, requirement charge, commitment, committal, compulsion, demand, desideratum, devoir, duty, essential, exigency, extremity, longing, must, obligation, occasion, ought, requisite, right, the urge, urgency, use, weakness, wish; concepts 20 …   New thesaurus

  • need|y — «NEE dee», adjective, need|i|er, need|i|est. not having enough to live on; characterized by poverty or need; very poor: »a needy family, to be in needy circumstances. SYNONYM(S): indigent, destitute, penniless …   Useful english dictionary