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need - definition and synonyms

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verb     need pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleneeding
past tenseneeded
past participleneeded
Need can be used in the following ways:
as a transitive verb (followed by a noun or pronoun object): I need a drink.Do you need anything? (followed by an infinitive with ‘to’): She needs to rest.You don’t need to worry. (followed by ‘to’ without a following infinitive): You can stay longer if you need to.
as a modal verb (usually followed by an infinitive without ‘to’): This is the only thing you need do.
The modal verb need is mainly used in questions and negatives, which are formed without ‘do’: Need I pay now?You need not worry. In American English, except for a few phrases such as ‘need I say more?’, the modal verb is used only in formal language and some journalism.
The negative need not is often shortened to needn’t in conversation and informal writing. The modal verb need does not change its form, so the third person singular of the present tense does not end in ‘-s’: He need not take the exam.
The ordinary transitive verb need has a regular past tense needed: They needed to be careful.
The modal verb need has no past tense, but it can be used in the pattern need not have/needn’t have followed by a past participle, to show that although someone did something, it was not necessary: You needn’t have waited for me.
The ordinary transitive verb has a future tense will need: You will need to show your passport.
In many cases, especially in questions and negatives using the simple present tense followed by an infinitive, there are two possible patterns: Need I come with you? = Do I need to come with you?He needn’t come. = He doesn’t need to come.
  1. 1
    [not usually progressive] if you need something, you must have it because it is necessary

    You’ll need some warm clothes for the winter.

    I don’t need any advice from you.

    Will you be needing any help?

    need something for something:

    I need £1.50 for the bus.

    need someone to do something:

    I need someone to help me carry these books downstairs.

    1. a.
      used for saying whether it is necessary to do something
      need to do something:

      She’ll need to take the test again.

      I’ll need to know your decision by next week.

      Do I need to buy tickets for the children?

      We don’t need to get into an argument over this.

      need do something:

      Need I go into details?

      You needn’t apologize, it wasn’t your fault.

      need not have done something:

      We needn’t have worried – everyone got home safely.

    2. b.
      used for saying whether it is necessary for a particular situation to exist

      You need to be over 18 to be able to vote.

      You don’t actually need to be a member to attend the event.

  2. 2
    used for emphasizing that something should be done
    something needs painting/cleaning etc:

    The bathroom needs cleaning.

    badly needs (=needs something very much):

    Their house badly needs a coat of paint.

    need to do something:

    I need to spend more time studying.

    The issue of pay needs to be discussed at our next meeting.

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