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How to distinguish "needn't do" & "don't need to do"?

How to distinguish "needn't do" & "don't need to do"? if I want to express that it's not necessary to do somthing. should I use "needn't do" or "don't need to do"? if I use one of them, and how to explain another? thanks for your answering, I am looking forward there is anyone who can help me to distinguish them.

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    From my experience, these phrases are interchangeable. However, in conversational English, you will almost never hear someone say "needn't do". This is an older style of speaking that is rarely heard in your everyday conversations. So, I would say that the better choice would be to say "don't need to do".

     

    They have the same meaning. Maybe someone else can tell the nuance...

    To me the only difference lies in grammar. The "need" in "needn't do" is a modal verb while the "need" in "don't need to do" is just a verb.
    I don't think you have to tell the grammar difference though. To know how to use them is just enough.

    You can also say "you have no need to do".

     

    Both are grammatically correct.
    "Needn't do" is probably more British. "don't need to do" is more American.

     

    I think Xiaolei has come closest to the answer! We use modal verbs when we are theorising or imagining an action (ie. not a real event). We'd use the simple form of the verb when we want to express something as a reality or fact.

    So even though the meaning is very much the same, you'd use "don't need to do" much more often, and save "needn't do" to suggest "I think that..." or "I suppose..."

    That is, if you wanted a definition between the two. I agree with Eddie and Rose in that most speakers will opt for the direct "don't need to do".

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