<i>Have to, gotta, must</i>?

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Quantitative analysis of forms used to express obligation/necessity in a variety of northern British English reveal that <i>must</i> is decreasing across generations. Instead of a marked increase in <i>got to</i> and <i>gotta</i> as reported for southern varieties of British English, these forms are used very little. Instead, there is stable variability between <i>have to</i> and <i>have got to</i>. Multivariate analysis of internal and external factors contributing to the different forms demonstrates that <i>have got to</i> is favoured for generic statements, while <i>have to</i> is favoured for stative, personal statements. However, there is no significant effect of age or sex. It is suggested that <i>have to</i> and <i>have got to</i> both remain vigorous in this variety due to specialization of their respective functions.


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