Difference Between Have To and Should

Everything is in a state of expansion. Be it the universe, the mentality or the languages we use. English is also expanding with new words and phrases coming up every day. It’s important to know and implement new words as well as old ones too. Some words have the same meaning, but the usage makes them different.

Have To vs Should

The main difference between have to and should is that have to is used to emphasize the need of an event in a forceful manner while should means suggesting someone a piece of advice or telling them something right or appropriate about something.

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The word ‘have to’ is used to convey something important. It’s expressed to say that is something necessary or required. Also, the implementation doesn’t stay here. It’s used in spoken phrases to highlight a statement. Have to can also be used in question statement that conveys arrogance or furiousness.

Should is simply a word which meant to convey something correct and appropriate to someone. It can also be used to give a piece of advice. For example, “The police should make sure that the actions towards criminals are strict”. Here it’s advised to the policemen to punish the criminals. Few more examples can be “You should eat this dish”, “I should leave” are a few examples.

Comparison Table Between Have To and Should

Parameters Of ComparisonHave toShould
DefinitionIt is used to emphasize a thing to must occur or sound important or necessary.It means to suggest something right or appropriate to someone or something.
SoundingIt sounds quite forceful, necessary, strong, compulsion.It sounds quite a suggestion, correctness, appropriate, probability, prediction, expected result.
DerivationIt has a replacement, but no such derivation is there.Should is derived from the word may.
ExpressionIt expresses obligation or a needful thing. Must is a good replacement of it.Should express a concern. It expresses a right and better thing.
Example“I have to go to work every day”
“The judges have to verdict disinterested”
“You have to keep moving forward to achieve goals”
“You should take precautions, or you’ll catch a cold.”
“Should I go with him at this time?”
“People should know and learn new things from Nature”.

What is Have To?

When we express something necessary, we use ‘have to.’ It concerns general obligations. When we talk about another person’s obligation, we use ‘have to.’ Have to simply mean to show a kind of compulsion thing strongly.

It’s not an auxiliary verb because it uses the verb ‘have’ as the main verb. It’s grouped with modal auxiliary verbs for convenience most of the time. Also, it’s not a modal verb, of course. The structure goes like with a subject, an auxiliary verb, then using have, a then to-infinitive.

The usage is wide in case of having to. It can be used to say that something is needed by the law. To show some direction or abide by something. For example,” People have to wear a mask when they come out on the road” it’s a needful thing. Or like” All the passengers have to exit at next station”.

If we talk more about have to, we will realize that it can also be used to show desire or something to be executed. For example, “You have to taste this dessert. It’s mouth-watering” expresses an emotion, a desire to let them taste the dessert. Or like” You have to read this novel, it’s impeccable”.

What is Should?

Should is an auxiliary verb. It is a modal auxiliary verb, to be specific. Its main use is to give a piece of advice, talking about obligations, talking about the probability and expectations as well, replace a subjunctive method, expressing a mood based on some conditions.

When you convey your view or an appropriate thing about something, we use should. The word should expresses something right and correct to someone to do or entertain something or for an event to occur. The implementation part also extends to suggest someone about something.

If we talk about the pseudo subjunctive, its main use is to let know that event or happening that somebody wants it to happen, hopes to become true. For example, “The head of the team wants me that I should join the team”. This type of insisting way is quite a certain thing in case of should.

Taking about conditional statements, it could be used as in “If I went outside without mask, I should catch a disease”. This reveals that if the first part doesn’t get executed, the second part will come true.

Main Differences Between Have To and Should

  1. Have to is used to show some compulsion in something while should means to tell someone appropriate about something.
  2. Have to could be used to express desire or longing powerfully while should be used to suggest.
  3. Have to is no modal verb and an auxiliary verb, but it consists of ‘have’ that is a verb but should is a modal verb and an auxiliary one.
  4. Have to has no such derivation or origination type something while should is derived from shall.
  5. “I have to hit the gym to maintain the body”.
  6. “The authorities have to make changes in some laws to function smoothly” are some examples, while “Should I go to work today?”, “You should walk at least 2 km every day” are some examples of should.
Difference Between Have To and Should


It’s important to realize the meanings of words that sound similar. Have to and should sound similar in some way. If we use ‘have to’ and should in sentences, the intend remains quite the same, but the meaning is different. English had developed so much and is a medium to communicate with those groups who speak different languages. So it is important to learn words.

Words could be quite confusing in English vocabulary. So it’s important to know where to use what. It’s important to convey the message properly, and that can happen if you make sure that the meanings of words are crystal clear to you.


  1. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1496196
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/journals/bul/74/1/68/
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