Both should and ought to belong to the group of auxiliary modal verbs that have no meaning on their own but they modify the main verb, change its meaning and give more details about action.
Should and ought to are used to express obligation and duty through advice or recommendations.
Should and ought to are always followed by the infinitive of the verb. Should and ought to have the same forms even for the third person. Below we can see structural differences between should and ought to:
- Should: Subject + should + infinitive;
- Ought to: Subject + ought to + infinitive.
- Should: Subject + should + not + infinitive;
- Ought to: Subject + ought + not + to + infinitive.
- Should: Should + subject + infinitive + …?
- Ought to: Ought + subject + to + infinitive + …?
- We should go now. (NOT:
We should to go now.)
- We shouldn’t go now.
- Should we go now?
- We ought to go now. (NOT:
We ought go now.)
- We oughtn’t to go now.
- Ought we to go now?
Both these modal verbs have a very similar meaning and one can replace the other. They can be considered to not be as strong as “must”.
However, should is used much more often and it is less formal than ought to. Ought to is almost never used in interrogative and negative form.
Should and ought to are two modal verbs which are used to express obligation and duty through advice or recommendations.
Should and ought to are always followed by infinitive.
They differ in usage despite both having similar meaning. Should is used more often and is less formal than ought to. Ought to especially in its negative and interrogative form is very uncommon in everyday use.
— “You should apologize.” / “You ought to apologize.” = Should and ought to have the similar meaning. Should is used in less formal situations while ought to is used in a formal way.
Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.