3 Vote
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.I need to brush my teeth.

When would I use "Necesito cepillar los dientes' and when would I use 'Tengo que cepillar lose dientes.'

Are those sentence even correct?

  1. Would I use los dientes in that expression or mis dientes? .

Thanks in advance!

  • Posted Sep 30, 2011
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5 Answers

3 Vote

These are basically interchangeable.

I think in Spain you almost always use tener que.

In Latin America, I believe Necesitar is used more (that is, more than in Spain). Tener que might have a higher sense of obligation, like you really must do something, but really, although there are differences they have more in common than not.

  • Would "Debo cepillar los dientes" be the highest form of obligation? Or perhaps "Dios me exige que..." :) - tomsky Oct 1, 2011 flag
2 Vote

Would I use los dientes in that expression or mis dientes? .

Los dientes would be correct. Generally, when speaking of body parts, possessive adjectives are not used as they are in English.

1 Vote

Me tengo que cepillar los dientes or tengo que cepillarme los dientes. I think this varies by region even in a small region. I hear tener que most of the time, and I'm in a Texas but surrounded by people of Mexican heritage.

1 Vote

I think there is a distinction in their use, though a subtle one:

  • Necesito... = I need to...
  • Tengo que... = I have to ...
1 Vote

Yes, I learned "los dientes" and yet, I have seen it used as mi/mis (which then confuses me!)

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