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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Should


SHOULD. shood. The preterit of shall, but now used as an auxiliary verb, either in the past time or conditional present. 'He should have paid the debt at the time the note became due.' Should here denotes past time. 'I should ride to town this day if the weather would permit.' Here should expresses present or future time conditionally. In the second and third persons, it denotes obligation or duty, as in the first example above.

1. I should go. When should in this person is uttered without emphasis, it declares simply that an event would take place, on some condition or under circumstances.

But when expressed with emphasis, should in this person denotes obligation, duty or determination.

2. Thou shouldst go.

You should Without emphasis, should, in the second person, is nearly equivalent to ought; you ought to go, it is your duty, you are bound to go. [See Shall.]

With emphasis, should expresses determination in th espeaker conditionally to compel the person to act. 'If I had the care of you, you should go, whether willing or not.'

3. He should go. should, in the third person, has the same force as in the second.

4. If I should, if you should, if he should, etc. denote a figure contingent event.

5. After should, the principal verb is sometimes omitted, without obscuring the sense.

So subjects love just kings, or so they should. Ktyden.

That is, so they should love them.

6. should be, ought to be; a proverbial phrase, conveying some censure, contempt or irony. Things are not as they should be.

The biys think their mother no better than they should be. Addison.

7. ' We think it strange that stones should fall from the aerial regions.' In this use, should implies that stones do fall. In all similar phrases, should implies the actual existence of the fact, without a condition of supposition.