Should or Ought

Should or Ought


Should and ought to are basically the same, although ‘should’ is much more widely used than ‘ought to’ which was used to indicate both negative and interrogative sentences. Both ‘should’ and ‘ought to’ are used to talk about obligation and duty and to give advice.

Should is used to show a tentative obligation, to express probability, and a way of evaluation.

E.g. You should attend the party tomorrow as it is given by your supervisor.

Or, The Smiths should have reached Udaipur by now.

Ought to can be used in a weaker, gentler or less direct way than should.

E.g. You ought to attend the party tomorrow as it is given by your supervisor.

Or, The Smiths ought to have reached Udaipur by now.

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

1.
a. You should have gone to the doctor immediately after the stomach ache continued for two days.
b. You ought to have gone to the doctor immediately after the stomach ache continued for two days.

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ANSWER: a. You should have gone to the doctor immediately after the stomach ache continued for two days.




2.
a. The dentist told him that he ought to 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. You should have given up your assignment when the teacher asked for it. Now you will not get any marks.
b. You ought to have given up your assignment when the teacher asked for it. Now you will not get any marks.

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ANSWER: a. You should have given up your assignment when the teacher asked for it. Now you will not get any marks.



4.
a. To help the plant grow, you ought to nurture it with gentle hands, water and sunlight.
b. To help the plant grow, you should nurture it with gentle hands, water and sunlight.

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ANSWER: a. To help the plant grow, you ought to nurture it with gentle hands, water and sunlight.



5.
a. As the only son, you should look after your parents when they become old and feeble.
b. As the only son, you ought to look after your parents when they become old and feeble.

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ANSWER: b. As the only son, you ought to look after your parents when they become old and feeble.


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