What's the Difference between "Must Not" and "Don't Have To"?


Must Not

Must not = mustn't = this is not allowed / this is against the rules.

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"You mustn't drive further."

"You mustn't drive further."

Examples:
  • "You mustn't smoke in here."
  • "Kids must not drive."
  • "You must not cross the road when there is a red light."

Don't Have To

Don't have to = this is not necessary / it's okay not to do it.

"You don't have to buy from him."

"You don't have to buy from him."

Examples:
  • "You can come with us to the trip, but you don't have to."
  • "She doesn't have to work there. She can quit."
  • "I don't have to agree with everything he says."

In summary, "must not" is a command not to do something, and "don't have to" leaves the choice to you.

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