Daring to Know the Grammatical Uses of Dare
The so called semi-modal, ‘Dare’, means ‘be brave enough’. Like the modal verbs canOpens in new window, mayOpens in new window, shouldOpens in new window,etc., it is used in various forms, but unlike these regular modal verbs it can also stand as an ordinary verb.
Characteristic and Functions of Dare
In its typical dynamic nature, the semi-modal dare can function in constructions variously as:
1. Auxiliary Verb
- √ I’m not sure that I dare answer.
Dare may be used in the negative sense and in questions without do, for example:
- √ I dare not answer.
- √ Dare I answer?
Although, in formal practice, the interrogative forms are normally confined to ‘how dare you,’ ‘how dare he,’ ‘how dare they’, etc.
Dare may also be used in the form of third person singular without addition of -s, for example:
- √ He says he dare not answer.
2. Ordinary Verb
Dare is also used as an ordinary verb, with or without a following to- infinitive Opens in new window. As an ordinary verb, dare is also used in forming negatives and questions with do. Its third person singular form is dares. Survey the examples below.
- They would not dare to come
- Do you dare to contradict me?
- I don’t dare to answer
→ (or in a somewhat idiomatic way, as I dare not answer)
- He dares to answer.
- Tell me if you dare.
Note that in the present tense, dare behaves as a modal verb much more often than as an ordinary verb.
3. Negatives and Interrogative sense
The negative form dare not (daren’t) is most often used in negative sense and in questions, and sometimes preceded by if. The past form dared not is rarely used if ever contracted to daredn’t.
4. Modal Verb
As a modal verb, dare sometimes occur in the past tense without inflection, as:
- She dare not look at him in the face.
Examples of Dare used as Modal and Ordinary Verbs
Note also the use of dare with an object, meaning to challenge or defy a person to do something followed by a to- infinitive Opens in new window as in: