Need or needs with bare infinitive


He need worry about the weather today.

He needs worry about the weather today.

Mostly we see the use of 'need' as modal verb in negative or interrogative sentences where it takes bare infinitive with it. But when the word 'need' is used as a verb, it takes infinitive with it. I found these two statements in a question paper which perplexed the learners much. Which one is the correct statement and what is its constitution with reference to grammar rules?

Best Answer

*He need/needs worry about the weather today.

This is ungrammatical.

"Need" can be either a modal auxiliary verb or a lexical verb. As an auxiliary, it occurs only in non-affirmative contexts, i.e. negatives and interrogative constructions, thus ruling it out as an auxiliary in your example.

"Need" can therefore only be a lexical verb here, but infinitival clauses as complement of lexical "need" must be of the to type.

You therefore need to reword it using a to-infinitival clause as complement:

He needs to worry about the weather today.

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