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Christa

Must / must not - have to / don't have to

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Christa

A handful of interrelated questions here.

 

The first is: what would be your word of choice for must / have to?

 

The second is: I believe I have noticed a regional difference in terms of the use of the words for these terms. So, for instance, I feel like using 得 to mean "must" is a northern thing that is not used much in the south / Taiwan. Do you think this is true? The people I know from the south seem to prefer using 一定要 instead. But am I right in feeling that they are communicating something similar to must / have to with this phrasing? I have also heard 必須 used in the south but, as I say, never 得. 

 

The third one is: what would be your method of choice for communicating these terms when they are negative. So, how would you choose to say on the one hand "you must not..." and on the other "you don't have to..."? Obviously, the meaning between them in English is very different. How would you choose to communicate each of them in Chinese?

 

 

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achang1980

1. 需要 - “你需要吃饭。”

 

2. I think 得 can also mean "ought to" similar to 应该。

 

3. 你不能... or 你不行... for "you must not..." and 你不需要... or 你不用... for "you don't have to".   

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陳德聰

1. 必須 / 得 were the first to come to mind

 

2. I say 得 but it is definitely not a Southern thing.

 

3.

Must not 不准 不許 不要

Need not (don’t have to) 不必 不需要 不用

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889

It doesn't work in all contexts, but I always like the sound of 非V不可:非买不可。And your retort to remind the seller you really don't have to buy: 可以不买。

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Christa
2 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

I say 得 but it is definitely not a Southern thing.

 

Interesting. Yes, I thought I was right that this isn't something used in the south much.

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Christa

What about 一定要?

 

Any thoughts regarding how widely used this is? Is it a southern thing? Would "have to" be a good translation for it?

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ZC

Not super sure about 一定要 I’m in Shanghai and I see it wrote more than said. That said I might be a biased source since people def restrict their vocabulary talking to me.

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889

I wouldn't say it's a Southern thing.

 

Whether it's a firm "have to" or more shouldish depends.

 

-- 明天的派对肯定好玩儿可是去不去我还没决定。

 

-- 你一定要去!

 

As in English. "You HAVE to go!" in that conversation isn't the same as a bouncer's "YOU have to GO!"

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Christa
1 hour ago, ZC said:

ot super sure about 一定要 I’m in Shanghai and I see it wrote more than said.

 

9 minutes ago, 889 said:

I wouldn't say it's a Southern thing.

 

Thanks for this, guys. It's useful to know!

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