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Should (Modals)

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Should is used to give advice and to make recommendations. It is also used to express obligation and expectation.

Recommendation: When you go to London, you should go to the theatre.
Advice: You should try to focus more on your writing skills. Advice
Obligation: I should be going now. It's getting late.
Expectation: You should have understood the text by now.

Most modal verbs have different forms depending on their function when used in the present, past or future times.
Here are some examples:



Present: You should do more exercise. / You shouldn't smoke.
Past: You should have done more exercise. / You shouldn't have started smoking.
Future: You should start doing more exercise. / You shouldn't start smoking.


We should report the incident. / No Negative Form
For obligation 'be supposed to' can replace 'should'.


Present:  Sarah should be landing now. / Sarah shouldn't be landing yet
Past: Sarah should have landed by now. / Sarah shouldn't have landed yet.
Future:  Sarah should be here in an hour's time. / Sarah shouldn't be landing until an hour's time.

For expectation 'ought to be' and 'be supposed to' can replace 'should'.

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Now complete the following using the correct from:

  • 1. The weather _ get better soon.

  • 2. You _ started practising six months ago not a week before the test.

  • 3. Don't worry. The interview _ take too long.

  • 4. Peter _ be finished by now. Let's call him.

  • 5. When you go to Rome, you _ see the pantheon. It's stunning.

  • 6. You _ late for the presentations. It wasn't fair on the participants.