have to

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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Alternative forms[edit]

  • hafta (informal, nonstandard)


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈhæv.tuː/ (careful)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈhæf.tu/ (careful)
  • (file)
  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈhæf.tə/ (relaxed pronunciation)


have to (third-person singular simple present has to, present participle having to, simple past and past participle had to)

  1. Must; need to; to be required to. Indicates obligation.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
      I was about to say that I had known the Celebrity from the time he wore kilts. But I see I will have to amend that, because he was not a celebrity then, nor, indeed, did he achieve fame until some time after I left New York for the West.
    • 2013 July-August, Henry Petroski, “Geothermal Energy”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 4:
      Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame.
    I just have to have that shirt;  you have to wear a seat belt
  2. (with be) Must (logical conclusion).
    that has to be the postman;  it has to be an electrical fault

Usage notes[edit]

  • have to is always followed by a bare infinitive verb, unless the verb is assumed:
I don't want to go to school, but I have to.



("logical conclusion"):


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]