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Unit 7.2

Modal Auxiliary Verb – Should


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 action.

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

Should is used as modal auxiliary verb and its form is always the same even for the third person. Should has the three forms:


The affirmative form of the verb should has this structure:
Subject + should + verb.

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


The negative form of the verb should has this structure:
Subject + should + not + verb.

  • Short version of the form is: “shouldn’t“.
I/You should not work
He/She/It should not work
We/You/They should not work


The interrogative form of the verb should has this structure:
Should + subject + verb + …?

Should I/You work …?
Should he/she/it work …?
Should we/you/they work …?
  1. Obligation/duty
    • should never be late to school again!
    • He shouldn’t talk to his classmates during the exam.
    • We should always wear seatbelts when we drive the car.
  2. Advice
    • You should be quiet when you visit a public library.
    • She shouldn’t revise the units that are not in the exam.
    • Should we be studying more if we’re studying medicine?
  3. Recommendation
    • If you want to be sure about it, you should pay the registration.
    • He shouldn’t take that course, I think it’s a waste of time.
    • Should we memorize this rule?
  4. Expectations
    • I should have arrived at school by now.
    • Our bus shouldn’t be far.
    • They should be at the public library by now.

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

  1. We indicate obligation or duty (affirmative, negative);
  2. We give advice (affirmative, negative, interrogative);
  3. We recommend something to somebody, ask for a recommendation (affirmative, negative, interrogative);
  4. We express expectations (affirmative, negative).

We use the modal verb should to express obligation and duty through advice or recommendations.

The structure for should in its three forms is:

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

It can be considered to not be as strong as “must”.

For example:a
— “You should do your homework to understand the subject.” = Should is used to give advice in a friendly manner.
♦ “You must do your homework or you will fail the class.” = Must expresses obligation to pass the class.

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


Modal Auxiliary Verb - Should Copyright © 2016 by My Language Skills. All Rights Reserved.