English

Is there a way to express the verb 'must' such that it means the subject does not have to do something? See:

I must go. -- I have to go.
I must not go. -- I have to avoid going.

I can't think of any 'must' equivalent to "I do not have to go". Is it conventional to use 'must not' here?

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  1. Yes. I must not go is a conventional sentence.

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    Ms. Sue
  2. Yes, but that seems to say that I must avoid going, whereas what I want to say is that I do not have to go, or that it is not true that I must go, not in so many words.

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  3. "I must not go" implies that you shouldn't go.

    Other examples:

    I must not eat chocolate or I'll gain weight.

    I must not eat peanuts because I'm terribly allergic to them.

    If "I must not" isn't exactly what you mean, then you can use other words such as "I don't have to go."

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    Ms. Sue
  4. Okay, thanks. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't a possible use of 'must' I was overlooking that would allow me to express "I don't have to" using 'must'.

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  5. You're welcome.

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    Ms. Sue

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