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This modal verb may be either a defective or a regular verb. As a defective verb “Need” has only on form and combines with a bare infinitive. For example:

Need I do it?

You needn’t do it just now.

In the reported speech it remains unchanged,

As a regular verb it has the Past Simple form ”Needed” and regular negative and interrogative forms .The regular form is used mainly when the following infinitive denotes habitual action. For example:

You don’t need to say it every time you see him.

It is used to express:

  • Necessity/mainly used in questions and negative sentences/

Do you need to work hard?

Need she come tomorrow?

  • Absence of necessity

She needn’t go there today He is ill.

  • When followed by a perfect infinitive “need” indicates that the action expressed by the infinitive was performed but was not necessary.

You needn’t have spent all the money.

She needn’t have left her child alone.


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