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need, needs

Both needs and need are used as the third person singular of the verb to need, but in different contexts.


Needs is the usual form in affirmative statements, either with noun objects or with to and an infinitive.

  • She needs more input from her colleagues before writing the project summary.
  • He needs to practise his public speaking.


However, in negative statements and in questions, need is sometimes used as an auxiliary verb, followed by the infinitive without to.

  • Your inoculation need not be given today.
  • Need your husband come to the theatre with us?

In formal English, need may be used even when the negation is merely suggested by a word like only.

  • The department need identify itself only in the letterhead.