Would and should

July 28, 2011pdf

Would is the past tense of will in indirect speech.

  • He said, ‘I will come.’
  • He said that he would come.

Should is the past tense of shall in indirect speech.

With second and third person pronouns, would is used to express a wish or preference.

  • He would rather stay at home than work.
  • She would rather have tea than coffee.

Should can be used with first person pronouns to express a wish or preference.

  • I should like to go to the pictures tonight.

Would can be used with 2nd person pronouns to make a polite request.

  • Would you mind opening the window?
  • Would you mind moving a bit?

Should can be used with nouns and pronouns of all persons to express an obligation or an assumption.

  • You should be more punctual.
  • They should be more considerate.
  • It should be possible to do it.
  • They should reach home anytime now.

Should have + past participle can be used to talk about past events which did not happen.

  • I should have phoned John this morning, but I forgot.

Would can be used to talk about past habits and typical characteristics.

  • Sometimes he would bring us little presents without saying why.

Stressed would can be used to criticize people’s behavior.

  • She was a good girl, but she WOULD talk about herself all the time.
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