Learn How To Use “Need” Correctly To Improve Your English

need and its uses

The word need can be used both as a principal and as an auxiliary verb. When it is used as a principal verb, the word need is used having the meaning require and is followed by an infinitive- to. The word has two forms needs which is used in the present tense with third person singular. In the past tense we use it in the form needed.


  • We require more active workers to make the project successful.
  • I need more time to complete my project.
  • She needs money to pay her dues.
  • She got what she needed most.
  • You need to change your attitude to become successful.

But when the word need is used as an auxiliary verb it remains unchanged irrespective of the number or person of the subject. The use of need is common in negative sentence. You will not find here any addition of – s to the verb need even though the person is third person singular.


  • You need not talk to him again. I have already discussed the matter.
  • She need not ask my permission to come inside.
  • Need we wait for her any longer?

When need is used in the question, if the answer is negative, then no, you need not and if it is in positive, then yes, you must.

The auxiliary need is also used sometimes used with the adverb hardly


  • I need hardly say that you are mature enough to understand.
  • We need hardly say that again. We are all eagerly looking forward to your visit.

The word need can also be used with only


  • You need only to put your signature. Rest of the formalities will be looked after by us.
  • You need only to say yes and not worry about organizing the function.

If the time referred to is past need is followed by the perfect infinitive (have+past participle)


  • Tom need not have lost his temper ( Tom lost his temper but that was unnecessary)
  • I need not have wasted my time and valuable energy if I knew the result would be zero.( I wasted my time and that was not all necessary)


Final Thoughts

Hopefully you would be now in a much better position to use need in your communication as well as in your writing and improve your spoken and written skills. If you have any more information to share about the use of need, feel free to share it in the comment section below.




Sujit Das

Site Owner and Main Content Creator. Works as Teacher at Skill English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *