Easy Learning

Should - Easy Learning Grammar

The modal verb should is used in the following ways:
  • to talk about moral obligation. Compare ought to on Ought to.
  • They should do what you suggest.
  • People should report this sort of thing to the police.
  • She suggested we should visit Aunty Irene more often.
  • Rob insisted that we should think of others before ourselves.
  • to give advice or instructions.
  • You should undo the top screws first.
  • You should keep your credit card separate from your chequebook.
  • to suggest that something follows on logically from what has just been said.
  • They left here at 6 o’clock, so they should be home now.
  • to show politeness in a conditional clause. This use is used in formal written communication.
  • If you should decide to go, please contact us.
  • Should you need more information, please call the manager.
  • Should can be used with the main verb after certain set expressions such as, it is a pity that, it is odd that, I am sorry/surprised that. This is a more formal use than the same expression without should.
  • It’s a pity that this should happen.
  • I was quite surprised that he should be doing a job like that.
  • Should + the perfect form of the main verb can be used to express regret about something that was done or not done. Compare with ought to.
  • He should have stopped at the red light.
  • You should have told me you were ill.
  • When changing sentences from direct to reported speech, should does not change.
  • Anna said that I should try to relax more.
In formal English, should can be used with I or we in conditional clauses, instead of the more common would. This form is usually, but not always, found together with an if clause.
  • I should love to visit Peru if I had the money.
  • I should be very cross if they didn’t give me a certificate.
  • We should hate to miss the play.
In this sense, would is more common in modern spoken English.
  • I would love to visit Peru.
  • I would be very cross if they didn’t give me a certificate.
  • We would hate to miss the play.
The contracted negative form is:shouldn’t.

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