Chapter 9. Mood and Modal Verbs (Cont'd...)
9.2 Modal verbs (cont'd..)
Should is the past form of shall. Its uses are summarized below:
- Implication of duty: We should obey our parents.
- Expression of moral obligation: Our children should be looked after well.
- Expression of hypothetical meaning: “Should the worst come to the worst if the worst which can happen should happen”.
Would is the past form of will. Would expresses:
- past irregular, occasional action or habit: He would often come here.
- strenuous desire: Would that the doctor had arrived before my brother became unconscious.
- uncertainty: The invention would bring a new era in the field of science and technology.
- request: Would you kindly open the window pane?
Ought is the regular past tense of owe. It does not have any past form but by
joining perfect infinitive to it, the past time is expressed.
- Ought followed by to, to express advice: The students ought to (should) read good books.
- Ought to with the continuous infinitive is used to express foolish, rash or imprudent actions:
The passengers ought to be wearing seat belt before the plane would fly.
- Ought with the perfect infinitive expresses unfulfilled past obligation:
Everybody ought to have observed the movements of the traffic minutely before crossing the road.
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