Rob talks about the different ways we use the verb need.

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Hi, I would like to know whether we say:
a) Everyone has to die one day.
or
b) Everyone is destined to die one day.
or
c) Everyone needs to die one day.
Please note that my question is in the following context:
If we say 'Everyone has to die.' or 'Everyone needs to die.' it sounds odd since 'has to' talks about obligation and necessity, while 'dying' is something that we're bound to face; i.e. it is our fate, not the obligation. That is, what I want to ask is the sense of the sentence, not the grammar itself. In short here I am referring to death as an ultimate fate, not the necessity.
Please reply

Hi Zeeshan Siddiqii,

All of these sentences are grammatically correct and all makes sense. English is a flexible language and structures can be used to represent a range of meanings. Thus, while 'have to' is used for obligation, it can also be used to describe things which are unavoidable:

I'm sorry, it's time for you to go. The shop has to close sometime!

The temperature has to fall to at least 0℃  before water freezes.

Everybody has to die sooner or later.

In all of these examples 'needs to' can be used without any change in meaning.

 

'Destined to' has a much more specific sense. It refers only to something in the future (at least relative to the moment when something is destined) and sees the future as an inescapable fate. It also has a more literary and portentous tone. In the examples above it would not be appropriate for the first two sentences, which have a sense of requirement rather than fate, but it could be used in the last sentence.

 

I would say that in the example you gave the choice is really one of style rather than meaning.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanx

i need a new telephone .
i need to go to England
i dont need to watch tv .

I need to learn English. Thanks a lot for The LearnEnglish Team.

I think a person born in a country is automatically a native of that country.

oops
I mean (obligation mean duty ) it's something i have to do it.
thanks a Million

Dear teacher

could you please tell me what is the difference between commitment and obligation because in our language we have one meaning for this two words ,(or obligation become like duty).

Regards
Ali Ibrahiem

Hello Ali Ibrahiem,

I'd recommend that you read the definitions and examples of these words in our dictionary - see the Cambridge Dictionaries Online search box on the lower right side of this page - but in general a commitment is a kind of obligation that we choose, whereas a duty is usually something more external, i.e. usually we don't choose it.

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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