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I am wondering what the difference between 需 and 須 is. They seem close enough while 需 slightly hints to me that it is an "optional" kind of want, while 須 is a "demanding" want. Is this correct and is there a better way to think of them? Thanks!

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The answer to this question: What is the difference between 必须, 得, and 需要? already explained the difference between 需 and 須.

Basically:

需(need) apply to noun. For example: "必需品" (品 is a noun)

須(need to; must) apply to verb. For example: "須知人言可畏" (知 is a verb)

必需品: necessity; essential thing

人言可畏 criticisms should be feared; gossip is a fearful thing

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  • 这样划分并不对。需和须在“需要”这层意思上并没有分别。目前,需多用于客观的需要,须一般带有更强烈的主管需要的语气。“学习高等代数需有线性代数的基础。”“明日须阎先生来这事才能解决。” – Toosky Hierot Dec 5 '19 at 12:13
  • 即便是上述两句,需和须也有调换的可能。 – Toosky Hierot Dec 5 '19 at 12:16
  • 需....线性代数的基础 (n); 须....来(v) – Tang Ho Dec 5 '19 at 12:20
  • 公司须要有(v)阎先生 - the company need to have Mr. Yan. ; 公司需要阎先生(n) -the company need Mr. Yan – Tang Ho Dec 5 '19 at 12:23

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