Do we really need grammar

The use of modal verbs is often a problem for German learners. Therefore I would like to briefly explain the use of the modal verbs at this point.

In principle, we use the three modal verbs when we want to say that we are one Task or duty to have. Which modal verb we specifically need depends on how strong the task or duty is and where the task or duty comes from.

have to

With "have to" let's press one Task / duty From the from ourselves comes. We ourselves think or believe that something is ours own task / duty. The task is coming Notfrom another person, but it is ours own task / duty.

I need to eat something. I'm hungry.

Here it is important for the speaker to eat something, because he is hungry. He sees it asHIS Duty / task. So in this situation you use the modal verb HAVE TO.


With "should" we mean Duties / duties / orders, the from another person (s) come. We are expected to do something.

The doctor told me to take the drug every day.

Here comes the job from the doctor and the speaker does what the doctor says. So we use the modal verb hereSHOULD.

But it can be that you have an order / a task / a duty (=> should) thinks himself correct or important. So you make a task / duty your own and therefore use the modal verb HAVE TO. Then of course the speaker can also say it like this:

I have to take the drug. I need it.

Please do not think of English !!!

“Don't have to” does not mean “musn’t”! It really means you don't have to do something. If we"Musn’t" want to say we use "not allowed".

But if we do NOT TO HAVE TO (= needn’t) mean, we use DO NOT NEED + TO.


You don't NEED to clean the kitchen because I cleaned it yesterday.


The verb "should" is a special case.

It comes from SHOULD and can have several meanings.

  1. SHOULD as Recommendation:

    You should be eating less.

    You should do more exercise.

    Here we have one recommendation, the from another person (s) comes. However, it is only a recommendation, not an order or duty.

  2. SHOULD as past tense (Preterite) ofSHOULD

    I was supposed to be at the dentist yesterday at three o'clock.

    We see one here Duty / duty in the past.

The following graphic shows the three verbs.