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Dare to

Dare to – auxiliary verb

Modal auxiliaries are helping verbs that connect with normal/ordinary verbs to express a meaning, ask a question or negate. Modal auxiliaries are never used with the main auxiliaries; be, have and do, and do not make sense on their own, therefore, they must be connected with a normal verb in order to make sense. Here, we are going to elaborate on the modal auxiliary verb, dare to.

Do modal auxiliaries change form?

Modal verbs never change form (they cannot be conjugated).  (Note that modal auxiliaries are never followed by ‘to’ before the infinitive, except with, need to, ought to and dare to).

‘Dare to’ is used as an auxiliary and an ordinary verb. We use dare to’ to encourage someone to be courageous or daring

Auxiliary form (dare to): 

  • I dare you to leave twenty minutes early.
  • My friend dared me to jump off the cliff, but I didn’t do it.
  • People dare one another to do things all the time.

Ordinary form (dare): 

  • He didn’t dare me to buy it because he knew it wouldn’t be a good decision.
  • Harry’s sister dared him to cross the road on a red light, thank God he didn’t do it.
  • You really must dare him to take some risks every so often, eh?

English Verbs – The Complete Guide

Lesson #16: Dare to


  • ‘Dare to’ is used as a modal auxiliary verb and an ordinary verb. ‘Dare to’ is used to encourage someone to be courageous or daring in what could be some kind of act.


  • Hey James, I dare you to skip class with me today.1
  • I don’t know if that’s such a good idea, Jake.
  • Come on! It’ll be fun.2 I dare you to.
  • I don’t like dares, you know.3
  • Look, I don’t mean to dare you,4 but I just thought it would be kind of fun.
  • OK, well, just this one time.
  • Awesome!


  1. I dare you to skip class with me today. ‘Dare to’, in this sentence is being used as modal auxiliary verb. The ordinary verb is ‘skip’.
  2. It’ll be fun. ‘It’ll’ is the contraction of ‘it will’. All contractions of ‘will’ are: I’ll, you’ll, he’ll, she’ll, it’ll, we’ll, you’ll (plural), they’ll.
  3. I don’t like dares, you know. ‘Dares’ in this example is the plural noun form. ‘Dare’ without ‘to’ also functions as a noun. I.e. I love dares, especially if the dares are scary.
  4. Look, I don’t mean to dare you. ‘Dare’ in this sentence is being used as an ordinary verb. The auxiliary verb in this sentence is ‘do’, and it’s being used in the negative form, ‘don’t.

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