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Table of contents Chapter 20 20.3.3 shall and have to in negative clauses

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Chapter 20: Modal verbs (Auxiliaries)

  20.3.3 shall and have to in negative clauses

The best known negative clauses with shall are the ten commandments of the bible.

  The 10 commandments

I     You shall have no other gods but me.
II    You shall not make unto you any graven images.
III   You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
IV   You shall remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.
V    You shall honour your mother and father.
VI   You shall not murder.
VII  You shall not commit adultery.
VIII You shall not steal.
IX   You shall not bear false witness.
X    You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour.

It is quite clear somebody who has the power to do so demands something. When substituting shall with must the meaning is not altered but rather emphasised.

  shall substituted with must

I     You must have no other gods but me.
II    You must not make unto you any graven images.
III   You must not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
IV   You must remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.
V    You must honour your mother and father.
VI   You must not murder.
VII  You must not commit adultery.
VIII You must not steal.
IX   You must not bear false witness.
X    You must not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour.

The meaning changes drastically when substituting shall / must with to have to.

  shall substituted with have to

I     You have to have no other gods but me.
II    You do not have to make unto you any graven images.
III   You
do not have to take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
IV   You have to remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.
V    You have to honour your mother and father.
VI   You
do not have to murder.
VII  You
do not have to commit adultery.
VIII You
do not have to steal.
IX   You
do not have to bear false witness.
X    You
do not have to covet anything that belongs to your neighbour.

Suddenly we have all the freedom in the world, which is the not-intended result of a linguistic experiment. However, every single one thinks about the wide possibilities given this way of thinking the author rather turns back to Spanish than to the philosophic implications of language technicalities.

Point here shall be that in also Spanish negative clauses deber (shall) can't be substituted with tener que (to have to). Since there is no other word than tener que for must the question about this is rather obsolete.

The ten commandmends can be found in Spanish in three different versions

  Using the future

No tendrás dioses ajenos delante de mí.
= You will not have other gods but me.
No tomarás el nombre de Jehová tu Dios en vano.
= You will not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Honra a tu padre y a tu madre.
= You will honour your mother and father.
No cometerás adulterio.
= You will not commit adultery
No hurtarás.
= You will not steal.
No hablarás contra tu prójimo falso testimonio.
= You will not bear false witness.


  Using the imperative

No mates. = Do not murder.
No cometas adulterio. = Do not commit adultery.
No robes. = Do not steal.
Honra a tu padre y a tu madre. = Honour your father and mother.


  With deber

No debes matar. = You shall not murder.
No debes cometer adulterio. = You shall not commit adultery.
No debes levantar falso Testimonio. = You shall not bear false witness.

Even though the translation into English in future-form and imperative is possible and sounds plausible, it would probably mostly be translated with shall.

We have the same picture in the Spanish logic. The verb deber can't be substituted with tener que because the meaning would be altered.

  Example

No debes fumar tanto.
= you should not smoke so much.
No tienes que fumar tanto.
= You do not have to smoke so much.


  Example

Yo pienso que no debes ser tan avaricioso.
= You shouldn't be so mean.
Yo pienso que no tienes que ser tan avaricioso (,para ahorrar dinero).
= You do not have to be so mean.


  Example

No debes ser tan curioso.
= You shouldn't be so curious.
No tienes que ser tan curioso(,para saber lo que pasó).
= You do not have to be so curious.


El ensayo no tiene que ser tan corto que parezca una meditación, ni tan largo que se asemeje a un tratado.
= The essay doesn't have to be so short that it is similar to a meditation, but also not that long that it seems to be a contract.
El ensayo no debe ser tan corto que parezca una meditación, ni tan largo que se asemeje a un tratado.
= The essay should not be so be so short that it is similar to a meditation, but also not that long that it seems to be a contract.
Un hombre no debe llorar

= A man shall not cry. (meaning: It's not good if he does.)
Un hombre no tiene que llorar
= A man doesn't have to cry. (meaning: There is no one demanding it or setting an obligation to do so).


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