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Meaning of “ought to” in the English Dictionary

"ought to" in British English

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ought tomodal verb

uk   /ˈɔːt ˌtə/  us   /ˈɑːt ˌtə /
  • ought to modal verb (DUTY)

B1 used to show when it is necessary or would be a good thing to perform the activity referred to by the following verb: [+ infinitive] You ought to be kinder to him. We ought not/oughtn't to have agreed without knowing what it would cost. "We ought to be getting ready now." "Yes, I guess we ought (to)."

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  • ought to modal verb (PROBABLE)

B2 used to express something that you expect will happen: He ought to be home by seven o'clock. They ought to have arrived at lunchtime but the flight was delayed. If you show the receipt, there ought not to be any difficulty getting your money back.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

(Definition of ought to from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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“ought to” in British English

A blazing row: words and phrases for arguing and arguments
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by Kate Woodford We can’t always focus on the positive! This week, we’re looking at the language that is used to refer to arguing and arguments, and the differences in meaning between the various words and phrases. There are several words that suggest that people are arguing about something that is not important. (As you might

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