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Should

Should

 

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Requirements

Should

 

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn to use the modal verb "should" to give advice and make suppositions.

In previous lessons, we have learned how to use the modal verbs "can, could, will," and "would". Like the other modal verbs, the modal verb "should" does not change conjugations. It is always "should".  

Like other modal verbs, it is used with the bare form of other verbs.
The modal verb "should" is usually used to give advice and make recommendations. For example, we might say "You should wash your hands before you eat dinner.", or "It is cold.

David should wear his jacket outside.". We might say "People should be kind to animals.". We can also give advice with "should not".

For example, we might say "You should not drive fast on the ice." or "We should not eat a lot of chocolate cake.".        

The modal verb "should" is also used to express a near-obligation, something we are supposed to do, but it is not absolutely necessary.

For example, "I am watching TV, but I should clean the kitchen.", or "I should not eat so much cake.".

The modal verb "should" is also used to express expectations. For example, if Jennifer usually comes home at 5:00, David might say "It is 5:00. Jennifer should be home.". This is not advice. This is an expectation based on past experience.

Another example might be "On Saturday, we should have time to wash the car.". This is not advice. It means that we usually have time on Saturdays, so on Saturday, we will probably have time to wash the car – a supposition based on our past experience.

We can also use "should not" to make suppositions or express expectations. For example, we might say "It is only 3:30. Jennifer usually comes home at 5:00. Jennifer should not be home now.".

Now that we have an idea of how to use the modal verb "should", let us listen to the dialog.

Jennifer: The car is very dirty. We should wash it.

David: We cannot wash it now. We should have time on Saturday.  

Jennifer: We should wash it every Saturday.

David: We should not get it dirty this summer. We will walk a lot.

Jennifer: We should not drive so much.We should walk more.

David: We should have time 20 years from now.


Now that we have listened to the dialog, let us examine the sentences more closely to understand exactly what they mean.


Jennifer starts the conversation by saying "The car is very dirty. We should wash it.". Jennifer is expressing a near-obligation with this statement. Since the car belongs to David and Jennifer, it is their job to wash it. However, this is not a demand or a command. It is a recommendation or statement of obligation.

David responds "We cannot wash it now. We should have time on Saturday.". This usage of the modal "should" is not a recommendation; it is an expectation about the amount of time they will probably have on Saturday, based on previous experience.

Jennifer says "We should wash it every Saturday.". This is a recommendation or statement of obligation. It means that David and Jennifer have a near-obligation to wash the car every Saturday.
David says "We should not get it dirty this summer. We will walk a lot.". This usage of the modal "should" is an expectation about the summer. Since they will be walking a lot, they will probably not get the car dirty.

Jennifer says "We should not drive so much. We should walk more.". This is a recommendation. Jennifer thinks they drive too much. She thinks they should walk more.

David answers "We should have time 20 years from now.". David is comically stating his expectation that they will have time to give up driving the car twenty years from now. This is an expectation, but probably not a true expectation; they might never have time, or they might actually have time now. But David is using the modal "should" to make a joke which indicates he thinks they do not have time to walk anywhere -- that they need to use their car in order to get places on time.

Now that you have an idea of how to use the modal verb "should", listen to the dialog again. Listen for the various ways the modal verb "should" is used – advice, recommendation, and suppositions about the future.

Jennifer: The car is very dirty. We should wash it.

David: We cannot wash it now. We should have time on Saturday.   

Jennifer: We should wash it every Saturday.

David: We should not get it dirty this summer. We will walk a lot.

Jennifer: We should not drive so much. We should walk more.  

David:  We should have time 20 years from now.

Excellent! You have learned how to use the modal verb "should" to give advice, make recommendations, and state your expectations for the future. Use the modal verb "should "in your English conversations, and take this advice with the modal verb "should": "You should speak English."