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English definition of “should”

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should

modal verb uk   strong /ʃʊd/ weak /ʃəd/ us  

should modal verb (DUTY)

A2 used to say or ask what is the correct or best thing to do: If you're annoyed with him, you should tell him. You should change trains at Peterborough if you're going to Newcastle. "Should I apologize to him?" "Yes, I think you should." You should be ashamed of yourselves. This computer isn't working as it should. There should be an investigation into the cause of the disaster. He said that I should see a doctor. I should have written to her but I haven't had time. It's very kind of you, but you really shouldn't have bothered. Where should (= do you suggest that) we meet tonight? It's rather cold in here. Should I (= do you want me to) turn the heating on?
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should modal verb (PROBABLE)

B1 used to show when something is likely or expected: My dry cleaning should be ready this afternoon. You should find this guidebook helpful. I wonder what's happened to Annie. She should be (= it was expected that she would be) here by now. "Could you have the report ready by Friday?" "Yes, I should think so (= it is likely that it will be ready)." This should be good (= this is likely to be interesting or amusing).
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should modal verb (POSSIBILITY)

formal used when referring to a possible event in the future: If anyone should ask for me, I'll be in the manager's office. Should you (= if you) ever need anything, please don't hesitate to contact me. used after "that" and adjectives or nouns that show an opinion or feeling: It's odd that she should think I would want to see her again. It's so unfair that she should have died so young. used after "that" to suggest that a situation possibly exists or might come into existence: We agree that the money should be paid tomorrow. formal used after "so that" and "in order that" to show purpose: He took his umbrella so that he shouldn't get wet. formal used after "for fear that", "in case", and "lest": He took his umbrella in case it should rain.
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should modal verb (REASON)

B2 used after "why" when giving or asking the reason for something: Why should anyone want to eat something so horrible? Why shouldn't she buy it if she can afford it?
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should modal verb (WOULD)

mainly UK formal used instead of "would" when the subject is "I" or "we": I should like a whisky before I go to bed. I shouldn't expect you to pay, of course.
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should modal verb (SURPRISE)

used to express surprise in sentences that are in the form of questions: I was just getting off the bus when who should I see but my old school friend Pat!

should modal verb (ADVISE)

UK used after "I" when giving advice: I shouldn't worry about it if I were you. I shouldn't (= I advise you not to) let it worry you.
Grammar
(Definition of should from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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