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Have to: strong obligation or a duty.
- Example: I have to study now.
- Example: We don’t have to pay for food. (in the negative, use ‘don’t’ or ‘doesn’t’)
- Example: Do you have to work tomorrow? (use ‘do’ or ‘does’ to form a question)
- Example: We had to leave early yesterday. (in the past, use ‘had to’)
- Example: If I don’t go to university, I will have to get a job. (‘will have to’ in the future tense.)
Have got to: means a strong obligation.
- Example: I’ve got to finish my homework.
- Example: We haven’t got to pay for the food. (use ‘have not’ in the negative)
- Example: Have you got to go to work tomorrow? (to make a question, place ‘have’ or ‘has’ before the subject)
- Example: I have got to call my mom tomorrow. (use ‘have got to’ for an action to take place in the future. Do not use ‘will have got to’
- Example: You can’t be serious. You’ve got to be kidding.
- Example: This has got to be your shirt. It’s definitely not mine.
The last two examples show that the speaker is certain about something. You can use ‘have got’ when you are certain about what you are saying.
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