Definition of need modal verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  

need

 modal verb
modal verb
BrE BrE//niːd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//niːd//
 
Verb Formsneed notneedn't
BrE BrE//ˈniːdnt//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈniːdnt//
 
 
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 (need not, needn’t
BrE BrE//ˈniːdnt//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈniːdnt//
 
)
used to state that something is/was not necessary or that only very little is/was necessary; used to ask if something is/was necessary need (not) do something You needn't bother asking Rick—I know he's too busy. I need hardly tell you (= you must already know) that the work is dangerous. If she wants anything, she need only ask. All you need bring are sheets. need (not) have done something You needn't have worried (= it was not necessary for you to worry, but you did)—it all turned out fine. Need you have paid so much? Grammar Pointmodal verbs The modal verbs are can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will and would. Dare, need, have to and used to also share some of the features of modal verbs. Modal verbs have only one form. They have no -ing or -ed forms and do not add -s to the 3rd person singular form:He can speak three languages. She will try and visit tomorrow. Modal verbs are followed by the infinitive of another verb without to. The exceptions are ought to, have to and used to:You must find a job. You ought to stop smoking. I used to smoke but I gave up two years ago. Questions are formed without do/does in the present, or did in the past:Can I invite Mary? Should I have invited Mary? Negative sentences are formed with not or the short form -n’t and do not use do/does or did.You will find more help with how to use modal verbs at the dictionary entries for each verb.
Word Origin Old English nēodian (verb), nēod, nēd (noun), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch nood and German Not ‘danger’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: need