previous next


VERBS, AUXILIARY. Should = "ought;" "was to"

Should is sometimes used as though it were the past tense of a verb "shall," meaning "is to," not quite "ought." Compare the German "sollen."

“About his son that should (was to) have married a shepherd's
daughter.

“The Senate heard them and received them curteously, and the
people the next day should (were to) assemble in counsell to give
them audience.” N. P. Alcibiades, 170.

In the following, should is half-way between the meaning of "ought" and "was to." The present, shall, or "am to," might be expected; but there is perhaps an implied past tense, "I (you said) was to knock you."

Petruchio. And rap me well, or I'll knock your knave's pate.
Grumio. My master is grown quarrelsome: I should knock you,
And then I know after who comes by the worse.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: