Should or Could or Would

Should or Could or Would


Would, should and could are auxiliary verbs that are past tenses of will, shall, and can.

Would is used to ask questions, to make polite requests, to tone down controversial statements and to show habitual actions.

E.g. Would you like some milk in your tea? (ask questions)

Or, Would you pass me the sugar please? (polite request)

Or, With you not attending the meetings regularly, the teacher would say that you are being
irresponsible. (to tone down a controversial statement)

Or, My mother would cry whenever Dad left for the war.(showing repetitive past action)

Would is also used to the preference between two alternatives, to show desire, to show intention, to express doubt etc

E.g.

I would rather eat bread and butter than sausages today. (to show preference between two alternatives)

Or, The directors wished that he would leave without creating a scene.(to show desire)

Or, If I could, I would have put off taking the test.( to show intention)

Or, I thought this answer would be correct. (to show doubt).

Should

Technically, should is the past tense of shall, but there are other uses, which do not indicate the past tense. It is used to ask questions, to show obligation, to show a possible future action, and to express what is likely.

E.g. Should I hand over the assignment to the teacher now?(ask question)

Or, You should wash your hand properly after coming into the house.(show obligation)

Or, If I should find your wallet, I will surely call you. (to show a possible future action)

Or, By starting early, they should reach Jaipur within 4 hours. (express what is likely)
Could
Could is the past tense of can, but it can be used in other ways which do indicate the past tense. It is used to show possibility, to express politeness.

E.g. You could have studied harder than you do to obtain better marks. (to show possibility)

Or, Could you pass me the sugar, please?(to express politeness)

Test your understanding - Choose the correct sentence from the pair of sentences given below

1.
a. He really thought he would be getting wonderful marks but was disappointed.
b. He really thought he could be getting wonderful marks but was disappointed.

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ANSWER: a. He really thought he would be getting wonderful marks but was disappointed.



2.
a. The dentist told him that he could brush his teeth twice every day or the cavities will continue to occur.
b. The dentist told him that he should brush his teeth twice every day or the cavities will continue to occur.

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ANSWER: b. The dentist told him that he should brush his teeth twice every day or the cavities will continue to occur.



3.
a. If I should locate your appointment diary, I will surely give you a call.
b. If I would locate your appointment diary, I will surely give you a call.

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ANSWER: a. If I should locate your appointment diary, I will surely give you a call.



4.
a. In the earlier days, all the people could do was find caves to take shelter in as they did not know how to build houses.
b. In the earlier days, all the people should do was find caves to take shelter in as they did not know how to build houses

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ANSWER: a. In the earlier days, all the people could do was find caves to take shelter in as they did not know how to build houses.



5.
a. You should submit your assignment by tomorrow positively.
b. You would submit your assignment by tomorrow positively.

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ANSWER: a. You should submit your assignment by tomorrow positively.


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