By Judy Vorfeld
Let’s start with “ought.” * Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary says:
“– used to express obligation , advisability , natural expectation , or logical consequence .”
Ought expresses obligation, advisability (giving advice), expectation, or consequence. It’s a word that suggests rather than demands.
Have is a verb that can be used in many ways.
The phrase “have to” means “must.“
The phrase “ought to” means “should.”
If I say you have to leave, then you’d better leave. If I say you ought to leave, I’m not being as firm, which leaves the door open for you to stay.
*By permission. From Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary at www.m-w.com by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.