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  5. "We have to buy more milk."

"We have to buy more milk."

Translation:Tenemos que comprar más leche.

June 4, 2018



Why does it have to be "tenemos QUE comprar" instead of "tenemos comprar"?


'Tener' on its own is to have. 'Tener que' is an idiom, meaning to have to. 'Tenemos comprar' would mean 'we need buy'.


It's the difference in meaning (in English) between "I have an apple" and "I have to ____." In the latter case "have" is similar to "need". Apparently, though, DL distinguishes "having to" and "needing to" since it's rejecting "necesitamos".


Thats what im trying to figure out


Why doesn't necesitamos work?


Necesitamos == need


Are "needing to _" and "having to_" equivalent in English? I would have thought so. I think it depends on how "need" is interpreted -- it has different logical meanings.

The funny thing is DL, instead of "necesitamos" suggests "debemos" __ "ought".


They are different words with different meanings and although they can be interchangeable colloquially, to be precise needing to do something and having to do something are not the same. You need to do something for your own purposes and you have to do something when someone or something else makes you to is maybe one way of distinguishing it.


From what I've been able to work out, if you have a "need" followed by an infinitive (a "to be" verb) then you use "tener que + to be". But if you have a "need" not followed by an infinitive, then you use "necesitar".

Example: I need + to buy bread = yo tengo que comprar pan. I need bread = yo necesito pan.


'Necesitar' can also be followed by an infinitive:

  • Necesito estar libre. I need to be free.
  • Necesitas hacer ejercicio. You need to exercise.
  • Necesitan salir ya si quieren alcanzar su vuelo. You need to leave now if you want to make your flight.
  • Necesitamos cenar. We need to have dinner.
  • Necesito ir al supermercado para comprar leche. I need to go to the supermarket to buy milk.


I thought comprar means to buy and tenemos means we have therefore I put nosotros tenemos comprar etcétera why was it wrong

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