Unit 7.2

Should: Modal Auxiliary Verb

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Introduction

A modal verb is a type of auxiliary (helping) verb that has no meaning on its own but it modifies the main verb, changes his meaning and gives more details about the action.

Should is a type of auxiliary modal verb used to express obligation and duty through advice or recommendations.

Form

Should always has the same form even for the third person, and we find this structure in its three forms: affirmative, negative and interrogative.

Affirmative

Its structure, in the affirmative form, is:
Subject + should + verb + …

Subject should Verb
I/You should work
He/She/It should work
We/You/They should work

Negative

Its structure, in the negative form, is:
Subject + should + not + verb + …

Subject should + not Verb
I/You should not work
He/She/It should not work
We/You/They should not work

Short version of the negative form is: shouldn’t.

Interrogative

Its structure, in the interrogative form, is:
Should + subject + verb + …?

Should Subject Verb Question
Mark
Should I/you work ?
Should he/she/it work ?
Should we/you/they work ?

 

Example

Affirmative:

  • I should go before I miss the bus.
  • You should be quiet when you visit a public library.
  • We should always wear seatbelts when we drive the car.

Negative:

  • You shouldn’t stereotype people. 
  • He shouldn’t talk to his classmates during the exam.
  • They shouldn’t have come here.

Interrogative:

  • Should I follow my heart?
  • Shouldn’t you be studying now?
  • Should we memorise this rule?

Use

We use should when:

  • we indicate weaker obligation or duty;
  • we give and ask for advice (recommendation).

Should can be considered not to be as strong as must.

Summary

The modal verb should expresses weaker obligation or advice. It can be considered not to be as strong as must.

We can use it in its different forms:

  • affirmative: we start with the subject followed by should and the verb;
  • negative: we start with the subject followed by should not and the verb;
  • interrogative: we start with should followed by the subject and the verb (the sentence ends with a question mark).

For example:
— Affirmative: “You should do your homework to understand the subject.” = Should is used to give advice in a friendly manner.
— Negative: “You shouldn’t do your homework to understand the subject.” = Shouldn’t is used to give advice in a friendly manner.
— Interrogative: “Should you do your homework to understand the subject?” = Should? is used to ask for a confirmation of advice.
♦ “You must do your homework or you will fail the class.” = Must expresses stronger obligation.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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