Difference Between Ought To and Have To (With Table)

The words ‘Ought to’ and ‘Have to’ are modal auxiliary words according to English grammar. Both these words are used widely across by people living in different countries using the English language as their medium of communication. Both these words are quite similar, but they sure do have some differences in them too.

Ought To vs Have To

The difference between Ought to’ and Have to’ is that when someone has to say something in a Sentence in a way to obligate eternally, then the word ‘have to’ is to be used, and on the other hand, when someone wants to give any advice or request in place of the word should then ‘Ought to’ is supposed to be used. 

The word ‘Ought to’ is a modal auxiliary verb. This word sometimes is used in replacement of the word should. When this word is used in a sentence, it states an obligation or a duty to do something. When this word is used in a sentence, it states that a situation is sure to happen on completion of a certain work.

The word ‘Have to’ is a modal auxiliary verb. This verb is usually used in replacement of the word need to. When this word is used in a sentence, it denotes a state of necessity of an action to be done by a person in a specific situation. This modal auxiliary verb is used by many people in an informal type of communication.

Comparison Table Between Ought To and Have To

Parameters of ComparisonOught ToHave To
FunctionThis word is used to obligate someone.This word is used when someone wants to advise someone.
How often it is usedThe word ‘Ought to’ isn’t that commonly used by people.The word ‘Have to’ is used commonly by people.
Types of communicationThe word ‘Ought to’ is used more in written communication.The word ‘Have to’ is used in both spoken and written communication.
TypeThe word ‘ought’ is a semi-modal verb.The word ‘have to’ is a modal auxiliary verb.
Degree The degree of intensity of doing something where ‘Ought to’ is used is less.The degree of intensity of doing something where ‘Have to’ is used is more in a sentence.

What is Ought To?

The word ‘Ought to’ is a modal auxiliary verb. This word is replaced by people with the word should. This word aims at stating an obligation or a duty of a person in a sentence. When this word is used in a sentence, it states that a situation is sure to happen on completion of a certain work.

This word is often stated as a semi-modal verb. This means that this word can be used as a modal verb as well as the main verb. In a sentence, this word comes before another verb and after a subject. There is also a rule which states that this word cannot be used with another modal verb.

The following are some examples where the word ‘Ought to’ is used in a sentence-

  1. Isn’t this ought to happen at this point?
  2. She ought to study as her exams are Coming near.
  3. Everyone ought to do more exercise and yoga daily.
  4. Sanitary napkins ought to be free here.

What is Have To?

The word ‘Have to’ is a modal auxiliary verb. This verb is usually used in replacement of the word need to. This word is widely used in both spoken as well written communication by people. When this word is used in a sentence, it denotes a state of necessity of an action to be done by a person in a specific situation. The negative form of ‘have to’ is do not have to.

This word states that someone has to do a certain work compulsorily. This word is the present tense of the word had to. When this word is used in a sentence when a person feels certain about something that may be true, this modal auxiliary verb is used by many people in the informal type of communication.

Following are some examples where the word ‘Have to’ is used in a sentence-

  1. We have to go to the party tomorrow.
  2. I have to attend the meeting tomorrow.
  3. You have to finish eating before time from now on.
  4. They will have to study to pass the exam.

Main Differences Between Ought To and Have To

  1. When someone wants to show a sense of obligation, the word ‘Ought to’ is used, and on the other hand, when someone wants to give advice or ask for permission, the word ‘Have to’ is used.
  2. The word ‘Ought to’ isn’t that commonly used by people, and on the other hand, the word ‘Have to’ is used commonly by people.
  3. The degree of intensity of doing something where ‘Ought to’ is used is less in a sentence, and on the other hand, the degree of intensity of doing something where ‘Have to’ is used is more in a sentence.
  4. The word ‘Ought to’ is used more in written communication, and on the other hand, the word ‘Have to’ is used in both spoken and written communication.
  5. The word Ought to is a semi-modal verb, and on the other hand, the word Have to is a modal auxiliary verb.

Conclusion

‘Ought to’ and ‘have to’ are two verbs that are used by the people in spoken as well as the written form of communication. Both these words are quite similar, but they sure do have some differences in them too. They should be used carefully in a sentence without replacement as they would change the meaning of a sentence. Both these words have their negative forms in which they are used in a sentence. One should have basic knowledge of the differences between these two words. This will help them to form meaningful sentences, which would help them to bring about effective communication.

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2252826
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-15336-7_13

x
Noun vs Verb video