Shall and Should
'Shall' and 'Should' are like relatives, because 'Should' is the past tense of 'Shall', but they have different functions despite their similarities.
Shall and Should
In this lesson, we will study two modal verbs: shall and should.
'Shall' is used to talk about or predicting the future. It is also used in questions to make offers, suggestions, or to ask advice.
'Should' is a modal verb used to make recommendations or give advice. It can also be used to express obligation.
'Shall' is a modal verb that is used to talk about:
- predicting the future
- showing determination
- making suggestions
- making promises or offers
Talking about or Predicting the Future
Traditionally, the modal 'shall' was used with 'I' and 'We' and 'You' to express a future action. In modern English, 'shall' is replaced with 'will'.
'Shall' is used in formal contexts to express determination.
Another use of 'shall' is for making suggestions.
Should and Shall
You can also use the modal verb 'should' to make suggestions. There is no difference in meaning.
Making Promises or Offers
Especially in British English and formal contexts, 'shall' is used for promising something or volunteering for something.
'Should' is a modal verb that is used for:
- giving advice, suggestion or recommendation
- predicting future and talking about expectations
- expressing an order or instruction
- advising not to do something
Giving Advice, Suggestion or Recommendation
'Should' is used when you want to say what is right or appropriate. It is used especially when you are criticizing somebody's actions.
This sentence refers to a piece advice or a recommendation.
This sentence refers to a suggestion.
Predicting Future and Talking about Expectations
'Should' is also used to talk about a situation that is likely and probable to happen in the present or the future. It is used to talk about expectation and prediction.
Expressing an Order or Instruction
'Should' can also be used to express an order, obligation or instruction.
This example refers to the obligation. They must pay the fee beforehand.
The modal verb 'must' can also be used for expressing an order. The difference between 'should' and 'must' is that 'should' is not as strong as 'must'. Using 'should' is more polite.
Using ''must'' is less polite.
Talking about Expectations in the Past
'Should' can also be used to talk about something that was expected to happen in the past, but it did not happen.
In this case, we use 'should + have + past participle'.
But unfortunately he wasn't careful enough.
Here in this example the person means; I didn't finish the book by Friday.
Talking about Expectations in the Present
'Should' can also be used in the present continuous tense to talk about obligations that is not being met or to talk about somebody who is not acting the right way right now.
Here, we use 'should + be + verb-ing'.
You should be studying for the exam.
In this case the listener is not studying.
Ought to and Should
Sometimes 'should' is replaced by the modal verb 'ought to'. 'Ought to' is more formal and it is not used very commonly in spoken English.
Advising Not to Do Something
By using the negative form of 'should' i.e. 'shouldn't' or 'should not' you can advise somebody NOT to do something.
Do NOT use phrases like 'I think...' or 'I believe...' with the negative form of 'should.
More commonly in English, they make the verb 'think' or 'believe' negative.
I don't think you
shouldn't eat too much candy.)
'Shall' and 'Should' are used as modal verbs. They have many functions as were discussed in the article. So, let us take a look at some more examples to be clarified.
|predicting the future||
|making promises or offers||
|giving advice, suggestion or recommendation||
|predicting future and talking about expectations||
|expressing an order or instruction||
|advising not to do something||
- Shall and Should