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English definition of “should”


modal verb (POSSIBILITY)    strong /ʃʊd/ weak /ʃəd/
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.Possible and probable 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 .Opinions, beliefs and points of view 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 .Goals and purposes formal used after "for fear that", "in case ", and " lest ": He took his umbrella in case it should rain . Grammar:Should you (Should with inversion)In formal situations, we can use should + subject (s) + verb (v) instead of if:Grammar:Had you (Had with inversion)In formal situations, we can use had + subject + verb instead of if in third conditional sentences:Grammar:+ In formal situations, we can use if + were to when we talk about things that might happen but which we think are unlikely:Grammar:As long as, so long as, providing, etc.Sometimes we need to impose specific conditions or set limits on a situation. In these cases, conditional clauses can begin with phrases such as as long as, so long as, only if, on condition that, providing (that), provided (that).Grammar:Or and otherwiseWe often use or and otherwise with conditional meanings:Grammar:SupposingSupposing may be used with a conditional meaning. It can be used in first, second or third conditional sentences. The speaker invites the listener to imagine a situation:Grammar:If + shouldWe can use if with should to refer to events which might happen by chance or by accident:Grammar:Conditionals: other expressions (unless, should, as long as)Grammar:UnlessConditional clauses can begin with unless. Unless means something similar to ‘if … not’ or ‘except if’.Grammar:Ought to or should?Ought to and should are similar in meaning. Should is more common than ought to. Ought to is more formal than should:Grammar:ShouldGrammar:Should: formsGrammar:Should: usesGrammar:Should and wouldWe use should as a more formal alternative to would with I and we in conditional clauses.Grammar:Should and ought toShould and ought to have similar meanings and uses. Ought to is more formal and less common than should:
(Definition of should modal verb (POSSIBILITY) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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