Should / Should have

Express expectation, convention or advice

streaming movies
 

 

Expectation—should vs. will

SHOULD

Should expresses one's expectation for something to happen in the present or near future. We use should to make an assumption based on personal knowledge, information, or insights. ("inference")

EXPECTATION

The movie should be available online next week.  (It has left theaters, so it should go for release online.)

The movie should be good. (I've read some good reviews.)

Movie fans should be excited to see the James Bond movie. (They usually are.)

WILL

Will also expresses one's expectation for something to happen, but with more certainty.  We use will for stating information, calculations, or schedules.  (See willcertainty.)

PREDICTION

The movie will be available online next week. (It's scheduled.)

The movie will be here good.  (I've read the reviews.)

Movie fans will be excited to see the James Bond movie. (They always are.)

 

insight – understanding the true nature of something; intuition

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should

Convention

 

 

 

Convention—should vs. be supposed

SHOULD

Should expresses one's expectation of behavior based on cultural norms. Cultural expectations come from rules, ethics, and codes shared by social groups. ("social rightness")

MODAL PLAIN FORM VERB

People should

be honest and not steal creative work.  (ethical convention)

People shouldn't

talk on cell phones during movies. (social convention)

Should we

wear black pants to work? (fashion convention)

(BE) SUPPOSED

The same may be expressed with is / are / am supposed, which is followed by an infinitive. (Also, known as be supposed to.)

PARTICIPLE INFINITIVE

People are supposed

to be honest and not steal creative work.

People aren't supposed

to talk on cell phones during movies.

Are we supposed

to wear black pants to work?

 

norm – a standard, a model, or pattern

plain form – also called base form, simple form  (Huddleston 106)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should

Options and Advice

 

 

 

Options and Advice—should / had better vs. ought

SHOULD / HAD BETTR

Should / Had better express one's advice usually by giving options to another person. The advice is based on one's sense of "rightness" often moral, but also logical. (Had better is "modal-like" .)

MODAL PLAIN FORM VERB

You should

You had better

try ordering your movies online. (option)

He should

He had better

ask one of his professors for a recommendation. (option)

Should he

*Had he better

ask a professor for a recommendation?

She shouldn't

She had better not

talk on her cell phone when she's with you. (advice)
 

OUGHT

Ought expresses "weak advice", options or solutions used in problem-solving. It is modal-like in that it does not take the auxiliary do. However, its complement is an infinitive (to+verb) rather than a plain form verb.

EXPRESSION INFINITIVE

You ought

to try ordering your movies online.(option)

He ought

to ask one of his professors for a recommendation. (option)

Ought he

to ask a professor for a recommendation. (very awkward sounding)

She ought not

to talk on her cell phone when she's with you. (advice)

 

*awkward sounding here.  Question form:   Hadn't you better ask first? Hadn't he thought of this before? (negative question)

try out  (verbal expression) – experiment with, do in order to get a particular outcome

Also see: Had Better    Should / Should have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should have

Failed Expectation

 

 

 

Failed Expectation—should have vs. would have

SHOULD  HAVE

Should have expresses a past expectation that was not met, disappointment. What we normally expect did not happen. A should have clause is often followed by a but clause.

MODAL PERFECT

The movie should

have been available last week. (but it wasn't)

The mailman should

have been there an hour earlier. (but he wasn't)

Students should

have been nervous about taking their exams last week. (but they weren't)

WOULD HAVE

Would have expresses a similar meaning, a failed effort. What was scheduled, predicted to happen did not happen. A would have clause is often followed by an reason.

MODAL PERFECT

The movie would

have been available last week, but the stores ran out of it.

The mailman would

have been there an hour earlier, but he stopped for lunch.

Students would

have been nervous about taking their exams, but they were well prepared.

 

perfect – verb form (have / has / had + participle) – completed: an action or situation that occurred earlier than the present time with focus on the resulting state rather than on the occurrence itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should have

Failed Convention

 

 

Failed Convention—should have vs.be supposed

SHOULD HAVE

Should have expresses a failure to meet a social norm or expectation in a past situation. The past is expressed with should+have+participle (perfect verb form)

MODAL PERFECT

People should

have been honest. (but they weren't)

People shouldn't

have talked on cell phones during meetings. (but they did!)

We should

have worn black pants to work. (but we did.)

(WERE / WAS ) SUPPOSED

Was / were supposed expresses a similar meaning of disappointment in meeting expectations of a past action, activity or event.

EXPRESSION INFINITIVE

People were supposed

to be honest. (but they weren't)

People weren't supposed

to talk on cell phones during meetings. (but they did.)

Were we supposed

to wear black pants to work?(we didn't )

had better – is used occasionally in the past: You had better not have eaten the last cookie! (warning)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should Have

Past – Advice

 

 

 

Should have / Ought to have

SHOULD HAVE

Should have expresses advice that comes too late, after a specific event has already occurred. One evaluates other options that were not taken as possible future remedies.

MODAL PERFECT

You should

have tried ordering your movies online. (but you didn't)

He should

have asked one of his professors for a recommendation. (but he didn't)

She shouldn't

have talked on her cell phone when she was with you. (but she did)

OUGHT TO HAVE

Ought to have expresses a similar meaning. Ought is followed by a perfect infinite verb form. (ought to is a semi-modal)

EXPRESSION PERFECT INFINITIVE

You ought

to have tried ordering your movies online. (but you didn't)

He ought

to have asked one of his professors for a recommendation. (but he didn't)

She ought not

to have talked on her cell phone when she was with you. (but she did)

 

Also see Could / Should Have

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*We should had left earlier.

*Do we should take another bottle of water?

*Should we supposed to wear black pants to work?

SOLUTION

We should have left earlier.    (Use the "perfect" verb form, which does not change to a past form.)

Should we take another bottle of water.   (Use should not do as the auxiliary.)

Are we supposed to wear black pants to work?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Descriptions

Advanced

 

 

Traditional and Linguistic Description

AZAR / SWAN BIBER / HUDDLESTON
AZAR BIBER

Should expresses advisability. It ranges in strength from suggestion to responsibility (duty). Had better and ought to also express this meaning. "This is a good idea; this is my advice; this is an important responsibility."  (Azar 9-7)

Modal auxiliaries generally express speakers attitudes. Modals can express whether a speaker feels something is:

  • necessary (must, need to, have to)
  • advisable (should, ought to, had better)
  • permissible (may, can, could, might, would you mind)
  • possible (may, might, could)

And a modal can express the strength of the attitude. Each modal has more than one meaning.     (Azar 9-1, 10-1)

Should expresses obligation/necessity:  He should leave. (intrinsic (6.6.4.2)  [prediction (likelihood): He should leave soon. (extrinsic)]

Nine central modal auxiliaries: can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would  — They differ from other verbs both lexical verbs and primary auxiliaries, in that they have no nonfinite forms.  (but have contracted forms I'd, can't, )

  • permission/ possibility / ability: can, could, may, might
  • obligation / necessity: must, should, had better, have (got) to, need to ought to, be supposed to
  • volition / prediction: will, would, shall, be going to

 Semi-modals be going (to), ought (to), have (to), need (to), had better, have got (to), be supposed (to)
 

SWAN HUDDLESTON

Should expresses:

  • obligation, duty (less strong than must)
  • probability
  • a reaction or unexpected occurrence (that clause) – It's surprising that she should appear now.
  • conditional – Should you see her, call me. / If I had more time, I would / should / might call her.

(Swan 518-521)

Should is the preterit of shall, but is only used in that sense when "backshifting" tense in a subordinated clause.  I shall do it.  I thought that I should do it

Should expresses "medium strength" deontic (advice) or epistemic (inference) modality—less than must, "strong".

  • mandative should He should be told.  (morally right)
  • emotive shouldI was walking and who should I see but my ex-husband.
  • conditional shouldShould you need me, please call.

(Huddleston 3 §9.4)

Be supposed to

"There are a few adjectives that are morphologically related to the past participles of verbs but whose meaning has changed so that they are no longer comparable to verbal passives with the same form and its connection with passives proper is purely historical."  bound, engaged, meant, numbered, related supposed, used (Huddleston 16 §10.1.3)

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Viewing Options

movie watchers
 

 

 

Identify the meaning of should.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 1-5" button.

 

1.
Next year, more and more music titles should be available online.

       

2.
We should use online music stores instead of pirating music. (stealing by copying and sharing)

       

3.
We should see a greater number of video downloads soon.

       

4.
We should respect artists' rights so that they can make a living from their creative work.

       

5.
You should use iTunes, they have a lot of great titles to offer.

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Mail Order Movies

mail in movies

 

 

 

Which expression means the same as "should have"?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 6-10" button.
6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

A Faulty Machine

vcr

 

 

 

Read for Errors

Do you think we should to take this DVD player back to the store where we bought it? It plays the picture out of sync with the sound.

It should have worked fine. I was watching it this morning and it was all right.

I want to take it back because the salesman should tell us about that problem, but he didn't.

The instructions say that we should restarting the machine to fix the audio-video sync problem.

Am I suppose to restart it three or four times during a movie?  That's unreasonable.

We shouldn't have to do that, do we?

You ought to call the store and ask them what you should to do.

I called them and they told me that I should return it to the company that makes it.

I didn't know that I am supposed to keep the original box.

Don't worry.  We can buy a box at the post office. They ought to had one big enough.

out of sync – not synchronized or matched together; not having the same timing

 

 

 

 

Edit for errors.

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 11-20" button.
11.
Do you think we should to take this DVD player back to the store where we bought it? 


12.
It should have worked well. I was watching it this morning and it was all right. 


13.
I want to take it back because the salesman should tell us about that problem, but he didn't. 


14.
The instructions say that we should restarting the machine to fix the audio-video sync problem.  


15.
Am I suppose to restart it three or four times during a movie?  That's unreasonable.   


16.
We shouldn't have to do that, do we?      


17.
You ought to call the store and ask them what you should to do. 


18.
I called them and they told me that I should return it to the company that makes it.   


19.
I didn't know that I am supposed to keep the original box.   


20.
Don't worry.  We can buy a box at the post office. They ought to had one big enough.