English Lesson: Using Need To & Must for Advice & Obligation

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

Study Abroad in the USA!

If you want to come to the USA to study English, I have some advice for you. First of all, you should decide which city you would like to study in. Of course I think New York City is the best destination for international students, but because NYC is so popular, it is a popular destination for study abroad. So, you ought to consider a smaller city in a less popular place. In a small town, you are less likely to run into other students from your country. I think you need to carefully consider your options. You need to apply for your visa at least three to six months before you are planning to begin studying, and when you do, you must make sure you submit all of the required documents. If you don’t, you might experience a delay.

We use need to when we give advice, and must to talk about obligation. Do you know how to use these words? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson: 

Yesterday, we talked about using should and ought to when we give advice. We also use need to + base verb when we give advice. Need to is stronger than should and ought to. For negative sentences, in American English, we usually use don’t need to + base verb. We rarely use need not or needn’t, except in very formal conversations. Here are some examples:

  • I think you need to carefully consider your options.
  • You need to choose a school that has a good reputation.
  • If you work with a study abroad agency, you don’t need to worry about making a mistake on your visa application. The agency will make sure everything is ok before sending the documents.

We use must when we talk about obligation. We use must + base verb in positive sentences, and must + not + base verb in negative sentences. Notice the difference in meaning in the following sentences:

  • You must have a student visa to be a full time student in the USA. Using must means you have no choice. If you do not have a student visa, you cannot be a full time student in the USA.
  • You need to apply for your visa at least three to six months before you are planning to begin studying. Using need to means it is a strong suggestion to apply for a student visa at least three to six months before the date you plan to begin studies. However, this is only a strong suggestion, and it is not mandatory for you to do so.

Here are some other examples using must. All of these things are obligatory:

  • You must have a valid passport and your school’s I-20 form when you apply for a student visa.
  • You must sign the bottom of your I-20 form before submitting it with your visa application.
  • You must present your passport and I-20 form to the immigration officer when you enter the USA.

It seems like a lot of work to get a student visa, but you don’t need to worry. As long as you have all of the correct paperwork, the visa application process should go smoothly. Thanks for studying with me today!

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