The Verb Need

The Verb Need

The verb “need” is a versatile verb in English that is used to express necessity or requirement. Understanding how to use the verb “need” correctly is important for effective communication and to convey your intended meaning. In the TOEFL exam, you may encounter questions or prompts that require you to use “need” appropriately.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when using the verb “need”:

1- “Need” as a Main Verb: When “need” is used as a main verb, it follows the typical verb conjugation rules. In this form, it expresses the necessity for someone or something to have or require something else. For example:

– “I need a pen to write the letter.”

– “They need more time to complete the project.”

– “The car needs regular maintenance.”

2- “Need” as a Modal Verb: “Need” can also be used as a modal verb, similar to “must” or “should.” In this form, it is followed by an infinitive without “to” and is used to express necessity or obligation. For example:

– “You need to study for the exam.”

– “We need to finish this report by tomorrow.”

– “She needs to take a break and relax.”

3- Negative Forms of “Need”: To form the negative of “need” as a main verb or a modal verb, the word “not” is inserted between “need” and the infinitive verb. For example:

– “He does not need to go to the store.”

– “They don’t need any help right now.”

– “She needed not to worry about the outcome.”

4- Question Forms of “Need”: In question forms, “need” is usually placed at the beginning of the sentence, followed by the subject and the main verb. For example:

– “Do you need any assistance?”

– “Need they complete the assignment today?”

– “Does he need help with his luggage?”

5- “Need” with “To” and “Ing” Forms: Depending on the context, “need” can be followed by the infinitive form (“to + verb”) or the gerund form (“-ing”). The choice between the two forms depends on the intended meaning. For example:

– “I need to finish my homework.” (expresses an action that needs to be completed)

– “She needs help with her presentation.” (expresses a general necessity for assistance)

It’s important to pay attention to the form and usage of the verb “need” to ensure clear and accurate communication. By practicing and familiarizing yourself with different sentence structures and contexts, you can confidently use “need” in various situations.

Remember to review and apply the appropriate verb tense, subject-verb agreement, and word order when using “need” in your sentences. This will enhance your overall language proficiency and help you succeed in the TOEFL exam.


Make sentences with need and -ing. Use the verb in brackets. Example: This coat is rather dirty. (clean) It needs cleaning.

1. This room hasn’t been painted for years. (paint)
2. Your hair is too long. (cut)
3. Those shoes are rather dirty. (polish)
4. This plant hasn’t been watered for some time. (water)
5. Those screws are loose. (tighten)
6. Your jeans are too long. (take up)

Answers :

1. needs painting / to be painted
2. needs cutting
3. need polishing
4. needs watering
5. need tightening
6. need taking up

The Verb Need


Put the verb in parentheses into the correct form.

1. The chair is broken. I need (fix) it. The chair needs (fix).
2. What a mess! This room needs (clean) up. We need (clean) it up before the company arrives.
3. The baby’s diaper needs (change). It’s wet.
4. My shirt is wrinkled. It needs (iron).
5. There is a hole on our roof. The roof needs (repair).
6. I have books and paper all over my desk. I need (take) some time to straighten my desk. It needs (straighten) up.
7. The apples on the tree are ripe. They need (pick).
8. The dog needs (wash). He’s been digging in the mud.
9. His car needs (fix).
10.The rug needs (clean) before we move in.
11 .The house needs (paint), but we plan to wait until next summer to do it.
12. Her watch needed (repair).
13. The hem of this dress needs (mend) before I wear it again.

Answers :

1. to fix; fixing / to be fixed
2. cleaning / to be cleaned; to clean
3. changing / to be changed
4. ironing / to be ironed
5. repairing / to be repaired
6. to take; straightening / to be straightened 13. mending / to be mended
7. to be picked
8. to be washed
9. fixing / to be fixed
10. cleaning / to be cleaned
11 .painting / to be painted
12. repairing / to be repaired

The Verb Need

The Verb Need