Bestival Scene 2 Language Focus

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

Watch the video and then complete the Tasks.

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Submitted by Bruno2020 on Wed, 08/07/2020 - 00:36

Nowadays, We need health for everyone!

Submitted by Zeeshan Siddiqii on Mon, 04/12/2017 - 05:37

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,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ayka91 on Tue, 23/05/2017 - 12:28

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