Unit 7.2

Should: Modal Auxiliary Verb

Modal Verbs

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.

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


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



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

  • Short version of the negative form is: shouldn’t.
Subjectshould + notVerb
I/Youshould notwork
He/She/Itshould notwork
We/You/Theyshould notwork


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

  1. Weaker obligation/duty
    • should never be late to school again!
    • He shouldn’t talk to his classmates during the exam.
    • We should always wear a seat belts whilst driving a car.
  2. Advice (recommendation)
    • You should be quiet when you visit a public library.
    • She shouldn’t revise the parts that are not to be examined.
    • Should we memorise this rule?

Should can be considered not to be as strong as must. We use should when:

  1. We indicate weaker obligation or duty;
  2. We give and ask for advice (recommendation).

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

The structures are:

  • Affirmative: Subject + should + verb + …
  • Negative: Subject + should + not + verb + …
  • Interrogative: Should + subject + verb + …?

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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