should */*/*/

should */*/*/
UK [ʃʊd] / US modal verb

Should is usually followed by an infinitive without "to": You should eat more fresh fruit. Sometimes should is used without a following infinitive: I don't always do everything I should.
Should does not change its form, so the third person singular form does not end in "-s": She should see a doctor about that cough. Questions and negatives are formed without "do": Should we come back later? You should not bring up embarrassing topics. The negative form should not is often shortened in conversation or informal writing to shouldn't: Those kids shouldn't be in there.
Should is often used in question tags: We should leave a tip, shouldn't we?
Should has no participles and no infinitive form. There is no past tense, but should have followed by a past participle can be used for referring to actions that did not happen or for actions that have probably happened: I should have brought an umbrella (=I did not bring one). The meeting should have finished by now (=it is likely it has ended). When indirect speech is introduced by a verb in the past tense, should can be used as the past tense of shall: I explained that I should be too busy to see them the following day.
Usage note:
should or would? When "I" or "we" is the subject of the modal verb either would or should can be used in polite requests, for describing the results of imagined situations, or for talking about past intentions or plans, but would is more common: I would/should like to discuss the matter with you. If I had enough money, I would/should buy a Mercedes. I said that I would/should be willing to help. When the subject is not "I" or "we", would is always used: He would like to see you. You promised you wouldn't be late.
1) used for talking about what is right, sensible, or correct
a) used for saying or asking about the right or sensible thing to do or the right way to behave

Parents should spend as much time with their children as possible.

It's an amazing book – you should read it.

You shouldn't drive so fast.

What should I do? Should I look for another job?

What should be taught in our schools?

There should be a law against spreading false rumours.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

b) used for saying what is correct, especially when the situation is different from this

There should be a comma after "Yours sincerely".

The total should come to £728.50.

2) when something seems likely used when you have strong reasons for believing or expecting something

There should be a knife in the drawer.

There'll be lots of games, so it should be fun.

Sheila's a brilliant student – she should get a first class degree.

should have (done something):

They should have got home by now.

That was disappointing – we should have won that game easily.

3) when something is a possibility used after "if" or instead of "if" for describing a situation that may possibly happen

Should you need help, do not hesitate to call me.

If anything should happen to me, please give this letter to my wife.

4) when something is important used for saying what someone thinks is important

It is essential that we should protect the environment.

Curtiz was determined that Ingrid should star in the new film.

5) when someone has an opinion about something used for describing a fact or event that someone has a particular feeling or opinion about

It's hardly surprising that people should be suspicious of politicians' promises.

How sad that she should have no one to comfort her.

Claudia was shocked that anyone should believe such a scandalous story.

It's odd you should mention Ben – I was just thinking about him.

6) British used in polite requests used for making polite requests or statements about what you prefer

I should be grateful for a prompt reply.

I should like:

I should like to introduce our guest speaker.

I should like to see you alone for a moment.

7) British used for stating imaginary results used for saying what you would do or how you would feel in a situation that you imagine

I should go mad if I had to spend any longer in this place.

If there was a problem, I should know exactly what to do.

"Will you come to London?" "I should love to, but I can't leave Emily here on her own."

If we had stayed any longer, we should have missed our train.

8) British used as a past tense of "shall" used about a situation in the past when you said or knew what you would do or what would happen

I said that I should be happy to cooperate with the investigation.

We realized that we should have to pay a large sum to the lawyers.

9) formal used for stating a purpose used for saying what the purpose of an action is

He used a false name so that no one should discover his secret.

10) used for stating a decision or order used for saying what someone decides, suggests, or orders

The committee recommended that the chief executive should be dismissed.

Our orders were that we should advance towards San Pedro.

I should think/imagine/hope — mainly spoken used for saying what you think/hope is true, when you have reasons for your opinion

I should think that most of the people around here vote Tory.

I should imagine that his parents are really upset.

I should think/imagine/hope so:

"Will Janet's boyfriend be at the wedding?" "Oh, I should think so."

I should think/hope not:

"Ken would never break his promise." "I should hope not."

should have (done something) — used for saying what was the right thing to do when you realize that someone did not do it

I'm sorry, I shouldn't have interfered.

You should have taken my advice.

He didn't make reservations, but he should have.

who/what should...? — used for showing that you were surprised when something happened

I was just leaving when who should I see but Pat Doyle.

why should someone do something?spoken used for showing that you do not believe what someone has told you

Why should anyone want to steal Trevor's diary?

you should have seen/heardspoken used when telling someone about something that you saw/heard for emphasizing that it was very funny, shocking, beautiful etc

You should have seen the look on his face when I told him I'd won.

You should have heard the way she talked about her husband.

you shouldn't (have)spoken used when someone has brought you a present for showing that you were not expecting it

Oh, Martin, what lovely flowers. You shouldn't have!


English dictionary. 2014.

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