should S1 W1 /ʃəd; strong ʃʊd/ BrE AmE modal verb ( negative short form shouldn’t )
[ Language: Old English ; Origin: sceolde 'owed, had to' ]
1 . RIGHT THING
a) used to say what is the right or sensible thing to do:
He shouldn’t be so selfish.
Children shouldn’t be allowed to play in the street.
‘I don’t care what people think.’ ‘Well, you should.’
Why shouldn’t I smoke if I want to?
b) used to say what would have been right or sensible, but was not done:
They should have called the police.
2 . ADVICE used to give or ask for advice:
What should I do?
Should I trust him?
You should read his new book.
I should stay in bed if I were you.
3 . EXPECTED THING
a) used to say that you expect something to happen or be true:
It should be a nice day tomorrow.
Try phoning Robert – he should be home by now.
Australia should win this match.
‘Artistic people can be very difficult sometimes.’ ‘Well, you should know – you married one.’
b) used to say what was expected, but did not happen:
It was an easy test and he should have passed, but he didn’t.
4 . CORRECT THING used to say what is the correct amount, the correct way of doing something etc:
Every sentence should start with a capital letter.
What do you mean, there are only ten tickets? There should be twelve.
White wine, not red, should be served with fish.
5 . ORDERS formal used in official orders and instructions:
Passengers should proceed to Gate 12.
6 . AFTER 'THAT' British English used in a ↑ clause beginning with ‘that’ after particular adjectives and verbs:
It’s strange that you should say that.
It is essential that he should have a fair trial.
The residents demanded that there should be an official inquiry.
7 . POSSIBILITY used to talk about something that may possibly happen or be true:
Naturally, he was nervous in case anything should go wrong.
What if I should fall sick and not be able to work?
should somebody/something do something
Should you need any help (=if you need any help) , you can always phone me at the office.
8 . IMAGINED SITUATIONS especially British English formal used after ‘I’ or ‘we’ to say what you would do if something happened or was true:
If anyone treated me like that, I should complain to the manager.
I should be surprised if many people voted for him.
9 . REQUESTING/OFFERING especially British English formal used to politely ask for something, offer to do something, or say that you want to do something:
I should be grateful if you could provide me with some information.
‘What can I get you?’ ‘I should like a long cool drink.’
We should be delighted to help in any way we can.
I should like to thank you all for coming here tonight.
10 . PAST INTENTIONS/EXPECTATIONS used as the past tense of ‘shall’ after ‘I’ or ‘we’ to say what you intended or expected to do:
We knew that we should be leaving the next day.
11 . what should I see but something/who should appear but somebody etc used to show that you were surprised when you saw a particular thing, when a particular person appeared etc:
Just at that moment, who should walk in but old Jim himself.
12 . you should have seen/heard something spoken used to emphasize how funny, strange, beautiful etc something was that you saw or heard:
You should have seen the look on her face when I told her I’d won first prize.
13 . how/why should ... ? used to express surprise that something has happened or that someone has asked you a particular question:
Why should anyone want to marry Tony?
Don’t ask me. How should I know?
14 . I should think/imagine/hope spoken
a) used to say that you think or hope something is true, when you are not certain:
I shouldn’t think they’ve gone far.
‘I suppose there’ll be a lot of complaints?’ ‘I should imagine so.’
b) used to emphasize that you are not surprised by what someone has told you because you have moral reasons to expect it:
‘She doesn’t like to hear me swearing.’ ‘I should think not.’
‘He did apologize.’ ‘I should hope so, after the way he behaved.’