Grammar Language

Difference Between Must and Ought To

Difference Between Must and Ought To

Summary: Difference Between Must and Ought To is that Must remains unchanged whatever be the tense or the number and person of the subject while Ought expresses ideas such as duty, necessity, moral obligation etc. It is not as forceful as must, but it is stronger than should.

Difference Between Must and Ought To

Must

remains unchanged whatever be the tense or the number and person of the subject. It can refer to the present or future. It can point to the past only when it is used with the present perfect tense of the principal verb.

Compare:

  • He must go (Future / present)
  • He must have gone (Past)
  • We must seethe minister now. (Present)
  • He must have seen the minister by now. (Past)
  • You must file a writ petition. (Future)

Uses of must

Must expresses compulsion or strong obligation. It is much stronger than should.

  • He must apologize for his mistakes.
  • They must pay the fine.
  • You must be loyal to your country.

Necessity

  • We must get up early and start on our way.
  • Must we wait for them?

Probability or likelihood

Must can express probability or likelihood.

  • He must be mad to do this.
  • Oh, there is the door bell; that must be the postman.

Strong determination

Must signifies strong determination.

  • must have my own way.

Ought To

Ought is different from other modal auxiliary verbs; it is followed by an infinitive with to.

Compare:

  • ought to go.
  • must go.
  • She must wait.
  • She ought to wait.

Ought expresses ideas such as duty, necessity, moral obligation etc. It is not as forceful as must, but it is stronger than should.

  • We ought to help the poor and the needy. (Duty)
  • You ought to exercise (Necessity)
  • She ought to be back by 10 o’clock.

When ought refers to past time, it is followed by the perfect infinitive.

  • You ought to have helped

Also Read:

 

Difference Between Below and Under

Difference Between Can and Could

Difference Between May and Might

Difference Between Lay and Lie

Difference Between Can and Be Able to