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Table of contents Chapter 20 20.3.2 Determination of the degree of freedom

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Chapter 20: Modal verbs (Auxiliaries)

  20.3.2 Determination of the degree of freedom of choice

Then there loads of examples where both shall and have to can be used. However, we will find the meaning altered in the two sentences:

  Example

(1) You shall do your homework.
(2) You must / have to do your homework.

(1) You shall eat what's on your plate.
(2) You must / have to eat what's on your plate.

The sentences marked with (1) emphasises the person that demands something. It's the person's will that the other person does what is requested. These cases are translated into Spanish usually with the imperative.
The sentences marked with (2) emphasises that there is something that makes it impossible to do something else than the required action. With an extension of the sentences it will be even clearer.

  Example

(1.X)

(2.X)

(1.X)

(2.X)

You shall do your homework and not sleep.
Haz tus tareas y no duermas. (Do your homework and don't sleep)
You have to do your homework if you want to pass this year.
Tienes que hacer tus tareas, si quieres pasar el año.
You shall eat what's on your plate and not talk so much.
Come lo que está sobre tu plato y no hables tanto. (Eat what's on your plate and don't talk so much)
You have to eat what's on your plate if you want to become big and strong.
Tienes que comer lo que está sobre tu plato, si quieres hacerte grande y fuerte.


In the (2.X) marked sentences shall cannot be substituted by have to anymore. Because there is no alternative than do what is demanded.

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