Questions as mayn’t you have done or mustn’t you have done would be rare in American, and they might impress unfavorably, as superfluous or even incorrect. The preference is for patterns without syntactic HAVE, and we can try to explain this with human logic.
54. *MAYN’T you HAVE worked a lot?
54a. *NEEDN’T you HAVE worked a lot?
54b. *MUSTN’T you HAVE worked a lot?
Please compare,
55. DIDN’T you NEED / HAVE TO work a lot?

Asking questions with Modals MAY, NEED, or MUST involves making a theory. Unless we ask a question for no reason or purpose and expect no answer at all — unless our question is just a teaser — we think about some PROBABILITY at least.

With regard to language economy, that is efficiency, we do not need to use linguistic devices multiple times. Let us make a Closed Frame Theory. Our inquiry is about a context in the PAST. We may compare the toolkit for our Modal Net, in ■→SUBCHAPTER 9.2.

For the Affirmative, Modal phrases can involve three extents: Map Real Time, Modality, and Auxiliary.

In questions, Modal verbs MAY, NEED, or MUST bring theory-making with word sense.

The Interrogative would add another extent: we would have 4 extents, theory marked twice, as auxiliary time can be only hypothetical in questions.

The extent for auxiliary time becomes redundant. With the Interrogative, Map Real Time and Modality are enough.

55. DIDN’T you NEED / HAVE TO work a lot?

Let us compare the Modal CAN.
56. COULDN’T you HAVE worked away?

The Modal CAN narrates mostly about ability and circumstance; in closed frame questions, it usually inquires on the circumstance. To ask about effectiveness, we have the phrase to be able to, without the theory anchor.
56a. WEREN’T you ABLE to work?

We may now compare the PRESENT Interrogative for all Modals we have analyzed so far.

57. We CAN work a lot.
CAN we work a lot?
58. We MAY work a lot.
MAY we work a lot?
59. We SHALL work a lot.
SHALL we work a lot?

60. We WILL work a lot.
WILL we work a lot?
61. We SHOULD work a lot.
SHOULD we work a lot?
62. We MUST work a lot.
MUST we work a lot?
63. We OUGHT TO work a lot.
OUGHT we TO work a lot?


Spring Flowing Colors

Let us compare the Negative along with the short forms. They come from the way the language has been spoken.

64. We CANNOT | CAN’T skip work.
65. We MAY NOT | MAYN’T skip work.
66. We SHALL NOT | SHAN’T skip work.
67. We WILL NOT | WON’T skip work.
68. We SHOULD NOT | SHOULDN’T skip work.
69. We MUST NOT | MUSTN’T skip work.
70. We OUGHT NOT | OUGHTN’T TO skip work.

The Modal CAN attracts the particle NOT directly. They become one word, CANNOT. We may come upon the shape CAN NOT in historic texts, as the ■→GETTYSBURG ADDRESS.

President Abraham Lincoln gave the speech at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863. The shape “can not” is rarely used today.

Feel welcome to read the ■→ADDRESS as well as to do the ■→VOLUNTARY EXTRA PRACTICE.

MUST NOT usually implies that something is forbidden or strongly discommended. NEED can take on the regular negative. The auxiliary is the verb to do.

71. We DO NOT NEED to memorize dictionaries.
We can use the short form, DON’T, when our contexts are not formal.
71a. We DON’T NEED to memorize dictionaries.

NEED can take on Modal negation, too. The Modal form may be more emphatic.
71b. We NEEDN’T memorize dictionaries.
(There is definitely no need to memorize dictionaries.)

Our paths may diverge, for NEED and the auxiliary PAST.
72. You DIDN’T NEED to do this.
(Something didn’t need to be done and it was not done.)
72a. You NEEDN’T HAVE done this.
(You did it, but the claim is you COULD HAVE left it alone.)

HAVE TO takes the regular negative.
73. We DO NOT HAVE TO memorize dictionaries.
73a. We DON’T HAVE TO memorize dictionaries.

Inversion patterns for the Negative Interrogative will depend on the form we use, short or full.

74. CAN we NOT work a lot?
74a. CAN’T we work a lot?
75. MAY we NOT work a lot?
75a. MAYN’T we work a lot?
76. SHALL we NOT work a lot?
76a. SHAN’T we work a lot?

77. WILL we NOT work a lot?
77a. WON’T we work a lot?
78. SHOULD we NOT work a lot?
78a. SHOULDN’T we work a lot?
79. MUST we NOT work a lot?
79a. MUSTN’T we work a lot?
80. OUGHT we NOT TO work a lot?
80a. OUGHTN’T we TO work a lot?

The pattern,
asks about the proper course of things, not about permission.

The pattern, OUGHT we NOT | OUGHTN’T we, becomes used without the infinitive more and more often: again, we may think about theory making and logical extents, to comprehend the language economy.

HAVE TO takes the regular Negative Interrogative.
81. DO we NOT HAVE TO work a lot?
81a. DON’T we HAVE TO work a lot?

Let us now exercise our gray matter in some

■→This text is also available in Polish.


In the first part of the language journey, feel welcome to consider a picture for
■ the grammatical Past, Present, and Future;
■ the Simple, Progressive, and Perfect;
■ infinitive, auxiliary, and head verb forms;
■ the Affirmative, Interrogative, Negative, and Negative Interrogative;
■ irregular verbs and vowel patterns: high and low, back and front.
Third edition, 2022.

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The world may never have seen her original handwriting, if her skill was taken for supernatural. Feel welcome to Poems by Emily Dickinson prepared for print by Teresa Pelka: thematic stanzas, notes on the Greek and Latin inspiration, the correlative with Webster 1828, and the Aristotelian motif, Things perpetual — these are not in time, but in eternity.
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