Modal Verbs – Should

“Should” is used for suggestions and recommendations.

  • You should ask her to go out with you.
  • She should go on a diet, she’s gaining a lot of weight.
  • He should try out for the baseball team, he’s good.
  • We should get up early tomorrow, we’ve got a long drive.
  • They should eat at Jose’s, the food there is great!

When using “should” as a suggestion the structure is as follows:

 Subject  + Should  + Verb in Infinitive Form  + Complementizer
 my homework.
 a bath once in a while.
 the beauty contest!
 eating so much.
 at Jose’s, the food is great!
 to that new restaurant.
 their grandparents often.

The negative of “should” is “should not“, but we use the contracted form of “should not” (shouldn’t) more frequently.

  • I shouldn’t go out tonight, I don’t feel good.
  • You shouldn’t smoke, it’s not good for you.
  • She shouldn’t see him, he’s no good for her.
  • He shouldn’t swim there, it’s too dangerous!
  • It shouldn’t be left outside, it’s going to rain.
  • We shouldn’t be so lazy, we should study our Spanish.
  • They shouldn’t go to that bar, it’s a horrible place!

The structure for “shouldn’t” is the same as it is for “should”.

Subject + Shouldn’t + Verb in Infinitive Form + Complementizer

“Should” is also used as a strong possibility because usually the speaker has a reason or some evidence for making the statement.

  • I should pass the exam, I studied hard for it.
  • You should win the race, you worked out all summer.
  • She should get promoted, she’s worked hard all year.
  • He should be elected president, he’s popular and he’s intelligent.
  • It should rain, there are a lot of clouds and it’s the rainy season.
  • We should go to Chicago by six, we left eight hours ago.
  • They should come to the party, Daniela said they were coming.

In the above examples the speaker has reasons or evidence for believing what they are saying. The possibility when using “should” is a little more stronger when using “might” or “may” because the speaker is a little more certain of the situation because there is more evidence in the above situations.

The formula for using “should” as a strong possibility is the same as it is for “should” as a suggestion:

Subject + Should + Verb in Infinitive Form + Complementizer

The negative form is the same as well, that is we use the contracted form, “shouldn’t” much more frequently than “should not“.