Should

English Grammar - Modal Verbs


Should is a modal verb.

After Should you use the base form of the infinitive (= verb without To e.g. Go instead of To Go)

Should + Verb (base form of infinitive)

e.g. You should go now (do not say: You should to go now.)

SHOULD

1. To give advice, a recommendation or a suggestion

This is to say that it is the right thing to do or the correct thing.

2. Expresses that a situation is likely in the present

3. Expresses that a situation is likely in the future (prediction)

4. Expresses an obligation that is not as strong as Must.

Sometimes Should is used instead of Must to make rules, orders or instructions sound more polite. This may appear more frequently on formal notices or on information sheets.

All of the above example sentences can have must instead of should making the obligation stronger and less polite.

5. Was expected in the past but didn't happen (should + have + past participle)

This expresses the idea that the subject did not fulfill their obligation in the past or did not act responsibly.

6. Not fulfilling an obligation (should + be + verb-ing)

This expresses the idea that the subject is not fulfilling their obligation or is not acting sensibly.

7. Sometimes should is replaced by ought to without a change in meaning. Note that ought to sounds more formal and is used less frequently.

Shouldn't

We use shouldn't to advise not to do something, usually because it is bad or wrong to do.

Should Summary Chart

Should - English Modal Verb



Next activity

See our notes about other Modal Verbs.



If you found this grammar guide about Should in English useful, let others know about it:


Grammar Notes

A variety of English grammar notes and rules including charts and examples for beginner to advanced level students.

Learn Grammar

Grammar Games

Improve your English with our interactive English grammar games. There are many different topics and levels.

Play our Games

Connect with us

Woodward English on Facebook Woodward English on Twitter Woodward English on YouTube Woodward English on Instagram Woodward English on Periscope Woodward English on Pinterest Woodward English on Google Plus