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English definition of “should”

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:See moreGrammar:Had you (Had with inversion)In formal situations, we can use had + subject + verb instead of if in third conditional sentences:See moreGrammar:+ In formal situations, we can use if + were to when we talk about things that might happen but which we think are unlikely:See moreGrammar: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).See moreGrammar:Or and otherwiseWe often use or and otherwise with conditional meanings:See moreGrammar: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:See moreGrammar:If + shouldWe can use if with should to refer to events which might happen by chance or by accident:See moreGrammar:Conditionals: other expressions (unless, should, as long as)See moreGrammar:UnlessConditional clauses can begin with unless. Unless means something similar to ‘if … not’ or ‘except if’.See moreGrammar: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:See moreGrammar:ShouldSee moreGrammar:Should: formsSee moreGrammar:Should: usesSee moreGrammar:Should and wouldWe use should as a more formal alternative to would with I and we in conditional clauses.See moreGrammar:Should and ought toShould and ought to have similar meanings and uses. Ought to is more formal and less common than should:See more
(Definition of should modal verb (POSSIBILITY) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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