Should, shouldn’t


The same form for all persons

The form of should is the same for all persons:

  • I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they should see a specialist. 

+ infinitive

Should is a modal verb, and all modal verbs are followed by an infinitive (without to).

  • You should listen to me. (NOT You should to listen.)

should not= shouldn’t

The negative form of should is should not or shouldn’t.

  • You should not be here./You shouldn’t be here. 


To make questions, we use should + subject + infinitive. We don’t use the verb do to make questions.

  • Should we call him?

should, shouldn’t – use

Giving advice

We use should or shouldn’t to give somebody advice and to say what is or isn’t the right thing to do.

  • You look tired. You should have some rest. 
  • He shouldn’t drive so fast. He’ll have an accident one day. 

I think you should …

We often say I think … should  to give somebody advice.

  • I think you should buy a new pair of shoes for the party. 
  • I think we should go home; it’s very late. 

Note that in a negative sentence, we often say I don’t think … should … (NOT I think … shouldn’t …)

  • I don’t think you should call her now; she’s very upset. (NOT I think you shouldn’t call her)

We often say Do you think … should … to ask for advice.

  • Do you think I should look for another apartment?

ought to, ought not to

We can also use ought to instead of should, and ought not to instead of shouldn’t.

  • You ought to have some rest.
  • He ought not to drive so fast. 

Exercises on the theme:

Rate article