Uses of Need

Need is used both as an ordinary verb and as an auxiliary verb. As an ordinary verb need is used in the sense of require. The ordinary verb need has -s in the third person singular. Questions and negatives are made with do.

  • Do you need any help?
  • We need more volunteers.
  • We have got what we needed.
  • I need more time to decide the question.
  • He needs our help.

The auxiliary verb need remains unchanged, whatever be the number or person of the subject. It is common in negative clauses. It does not have -s in the third person singular.

  • You need not wait.
  • He need not ask my permission.
  • They need not make such a fuss over it.

The auxiliary need is sometimes used with hardly.

  • We need hardly say that we are very grateful.
  • I need hardly say that you are always welcome.

It can also be used with only.

  • You need only sign this paper and I will do the rest.

The auxiliary need is usually used in questions without ‘not’.

  • Need we wait any longer?
  • Need I come again?

If the answer is in the negative, say ‘No, you need not.’ If the answer is in the positive, say – ‘Yes, you must.’

When referring to past time, need is followed by the perfect infinitive (have + past participle).

  • We need not have waited for them.
  • We need not have wasted our time and energy on that project.
  • You need not have lost your temper.