1) Dilemma
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Should




“I’m in love with two girls. One is very beautiful but has no money, the other is ugly and has lots of money. Who should I marry?”

“ Well, I’m sure that you must really love the beautiful one, so I think you should marry her.”

“OK, thank you very much for your advice.”

“Don’t mention it. By the way, I wonder if you could give me the name and telephone number of the other girl?”



Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– You can say don’t mention it or I’m glad that I could help.
– To wonder is used in phrases, at the beginning of a request, to make it more formal and polite.



Agatha Christie once said “Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that’s no reason not to give it.” Today’s lesson will teach how to give advice or make recommendations but this is not all you are going to learn because the modal verb ‘should’ can be used in different contexts.

Let’s start with the form:

Affirmative: Subject + should + verb (short infinitive).
Negative: Subject + shouldn’t + verb (short infinitive).
Interrogative: Should/ shouldn’t + subject + verb (short infinitive)?

‘Should’ can be used for present and future or for past after a verb in the pats tense.

He shouldn’t smoke so much. (present)
He shouldn’t smoke when he visits his grandparents next week. (future)
He shouldn’t have smoked so much. (past)

We use ‘should’:

– to give advice or make recommendations

You should see a doctor.
You should exercise more.
Should we buy her a present?
You shouldn’t be so selfish.

– to express obligation or duty

I should call my dad tomorrow.
He should apologize to Martha.
You should be ashamed of yourselves.
We should return this book to the library by the 5th of May.

– ‘should + perfect infinitive’ expresses unfulfilled obligation or recommendation

She should have talked to him, but she didn’t.
I should have written to her but I haven’t had time.
I should have listened to you.
He should have called her.

– ‘shouldn’t + perfect infinitive’ expresses regret or disapproval regarding an action in the past

They shouldn’t have come so late.
I shouldn’t have spoken to him like that.
He shouldn’t have drive so fast.
You shouldn’t have eaten so much.

– ‘should + continuous infinitive’ shows that the subject is not fulfilling his duty/ obligation

He should be studying for his exams.
We should be wearing seat belts.
I shouldn’t be doing this.
They shouldn’t be playing cards.

– to express expectations

She should be there.
Jerry should arrive here at 12.00.
The answer should be ‘A’, not ‘B’.
You should find this guidebook helpful.

Equivalent expressions:

– be supposed to

I should be at work before 8.30.
I am supposed to be at work before 8.30.

– ought to

You should tell the truth.
You ought to tell the truth.

Some set phrases with ‘should’:

– somebody should be shot = someone’s actions are unreasonable, outrageous

They should be shot for selling cigarettes to minors.

– How should I know?

– you should have seen/heard something/somebody

You should have seen him. He was hilarious.

– I should think not/so (too). = We suggest that something is correct or incorrect.

“He bought her flowers to apologise for his mistake.”
“I should think so too!’


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That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.


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