Thursday, 13 September 2012

Should and Ought to


Modal verbs: Should and Ought

There is hardly any difference in meaning between should and ought. Both express duty, obligation, advice. It must be remembered that ought is always followed by to + infinitive.

Patterns. Read and memorize!
  1. John should study English hard. 
  2. John should read English books loudly. 
  3. John should work on his pronunciation. 
  4. John should write dictations regularly. 
  5. John ought to practise oral drills.
  6. John ought to drill the patterns.
  7. John ought to recite English poems. 
  8. John ought to listen to good records.


Should and ought in interrogative sentences. 
Key examples:
  1. Should John read English books loudly? 
  2. Should John read the patterns? 
  3. Ought John to listen to English records? 
  4. Ought John to recite English poems?

Should and ought in negative sentences. 
Key examples:
  1. John should not talk at the lessons. 
  2. John should not give up studying French. 
  3. John ought not to (1) prompt at the lessons.
  4. John ought not to neglect his spelling.
(1) In negative sentences, not comes before to.
 E. g. : You ought not to go. You oughtn’t to go.

Should, ought + Perfect Infinitive express an unfulfilled action considered desirable.
Key examples:
  1. You should have learned the words last night. Now it is too late. You wrote the test badly. 
  2. You should have been studying hard the whole term. Now it is difficult for you to catch up with the group. 
  3. Jack should have come to see us but he didn’t come. He was at the cinema. 
  4. Jack ought to have telephoned, but he didn’t call up. 
  5. Jack ought to have warned us about his decision. We didn’t know anything.


Should and ought to: difference in meanings. 
In general modal verbs should and ought to are used to say what we think it is right or good for people to do. In most cases, both should and ought to can be used with the same meaning. There is, however, a very slight difference. When we use should, we give our own subjective opinion; ought to has a rather more objective force, and is used when we are talking about laws, duties and regulations.