How to use
'owed, had to'
negative short form
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?
used to say what would have been right or sensible, but was not done
They should have called the police.
used to give or ask for advice
What should I do? Should I trust him?
You should read his new book.
stay in bed
if I were you.
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.'
used to say what was expected, but did not happen
It was an easy test and he should have passed, but he didn't.
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.
used in official orders and instructions
Passengers should proceed to Gate 12.
used in a
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.
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.
especially British English
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.
especially British English
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.
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.
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.
you should have seen/heard something
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.
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?
I should think/imagine/hope
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.'
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.'
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
Dictionary results for "should"
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