dare

dare
dare verb.
1. Dare is an example of a so-called semi-modal auxiliary verb, because, like the modal verbs can, may, should, etc., it is used in certain special ways, but unlike these fully modal verbs it can also behave like an ordinary verb. Its special characteristics are (1) use with a so-called ‘bare’ infinitive without to (I'm not sure that I dare answer), (2) use in the negative and in questions without do (I dare not answer / Dare I answer?), although in practice interrogative forms are normally confined to how dare you, he, they, etc., as discussed in 6 below, (3) a third person singular form dare without addition of s (He says he dare not answer). Note that in all these uses dare is an auxiliary verb followed by an infinitive without to.
2. Dare is also used as an ordinary verb, with or without a following to-infinitive, forming negatives and questions with do, and having a third person singular form dares: They would not dare to come / Do you dare to contradict me? / I don't dare to answer / He dares to answer / Tell me if you dare. In practice, not all these options are used, and some constructions sound more natural than others. For example, I don't dare to answer is perfectly grammatical, but I dare not answer is more idiomatic, at least in everyday English. In the present tense, dare behaves as a modal verb much more often than as an ordinary verb.
3. As a modal verb, dare is sometimes used in the past without inflection. Though formerly condemned (by the OED among others) as ‘careless’, the practice is common in writing as well as speech:

• ‘Yes, yes,’ she stuttered, then ‘thank you’, as an afterthought. She dare not look at his face —M. Duckworth, 1960.

4. It is also noticeable that dare occurs more frequently in negative constructions and in questions, or preceded by if. As we have seen, the negative form can be dare not or do (etc.) not dare; and dare not is contracted to daren't in informal use (I daren't answer). The past dared not is rarely if ever contracted to daredn't.
5. Further examples follow of dare used as a modal verb and as an auxiliary verb: (modal)

• He hates only because he dare not love —J. M. Coetzee, 1977

• I dare not speak these dreams to any person —Garrison Keillor, 1986

• No one dared defy the group by going out at the last moment —Ian McEwan, 1986

• (ordinary) Marcus wouldn't dare to tell a lie like that unless it was true —R. Hill, 1970

• I did not dare to look down —B. Rubens, 1985

• How do they dare to be different? —New Yorker, 1987

(This construction is needed to avoid the special meaning of how dare they…?)

• She no longer dared to go into these shadowy apartments —Anita Brookner, 1988.

6. There are two other special uses of dare: (1) in the phrases how dare you (etc.) …? and don't (you) dare…, both normally followed by a bare infinitive

• (How dare you come in without knocking? —R. Dahl, 1984

• Now you sit down there and don't you dare even look at anybody till I get back —Kingsley Amis, 1988

• How dare someone walk up my path and take my property? —Gloucestershire Echo, 2007)

and (2) in the phrase I dare say (or I daresay, as one word), meaning ‘it is probable’, normally followed by a that-clause (often with omission of that)

• (I daresay I'll come back to it, in the fullness of time —Penelope Lively, 1987).

7. Finally, there is the use of dare with an object, meaning ‘to challenge or defy someone (to do something)’, followed by a to-infinitive:

• He looked round the table as if daring anyone to smile —David Lodge, 1988.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • dare (1) — {{hw}}{{dare (1)}{{/hw}}A v. tr.  (pres. io do , tu dai , egli dà , noi diamo , voi date , essi danno ; imperf. io davo ; pass. rem. io diedi  o detti , tu desti , egli diede  o dette , noi demmo , voi deste , essi diedero  o dettero ; fut. io… …   Enciclopedia di italiano

  • dare — [lat. dare ] (pres. do /dɔ/ o dò [radd. sint.], dai, dà, diamo, date, danno ; imperf. davo, davi, ecc.; pass. rem. dièdi o dètti, désti, diède [poet. diè ] o dètte, démmo, déste, dièdero [poet. dièro ] o dèttero ; fut. darò, darai, ecc.; condiz.… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • Dare — may refer to: Contents 1 Arts and entertainment 1.1 Music 2 Companies …   Wikipedia

  • Dare — Студийный альбом The Human League …   Википедия

  • Dare! — Studioalbum von The Human League Veröffentlichung 20. Oktober 1981 Label Virgin Records …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dare — steht für: Dare (Automobil), Automobil Dare!, Album der Band Human League Dare (Band), britische Rockband Dare (Film), US amerikanischer Spielfilm von 2009 Dare (Magazin), Kunstmagazin Dare (Dili), ein Ort in Osttimor (Subdistrikt Dili) Ortsteil… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • dare — DÁRE, dări, s.f. Acţiunea de a da2. ♢ loc. adj. (Despre oameni) Cu dare de mână = înstărit, bogat. ♦ Dare de seamă = raport, referat asupra unei activităţi, unei gestiuni etc. într o anumită perioadă; prezentare critică a unei scrieri literare… …   Dicționar Român

  • Dare — (d[^a]r), v. i. [imp. {Durst} (d[^u]rst) or {Dared} (d[^a]rd); p. p. {Dared}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Daring}.] [OE. I dar, dear, I dare, imp. dorste, durste, AS. ic dear I dare, imp. dorste. inf. durran; akin to OS. gidar, gidorsta, gidurran, OHG. tar …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Darè —   Comune   Comune di Darè …   Wikipedia

  • dare — [der, dar] vi. DARED, daring; 3d pers. sing., pres. indic., dare, dared, dares [ME dar, der < OE dear, dearr, 1st pers. sing., pres. indic. of durran, to dare < IE base * dhers , to dare > Gr tharsein, to be bold] to have enough courage… …   English World dictionary

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