Wednesday 9 May 2007

AAE Q54: 'should, could or would'


I´d ask you, that i have problem when is best to use should and when could or would.

Thank you very much


Hi Tom,

To answer you question specifically I need to know in what context you want to use these modal verbs. However for now here is a list of these three verbs and their usages (with example sentences)


  1. Ability (past tense of can): He could run fast when he was a boy.
  2. Polite request: Could I borrow your pen?
  3. Suggestion: Maybe you could get a tutor to help you
  4. Possibility/less than 50% certainty: Where's John? He could be home.
  5. Impossibility (with negative only) : That couldn't be true!
  1. Polite request: Would you please pass the salt?
  2. Preference: I would rather stay home tonight
  3. Repeated action in the past: As a child he would always obey his parents.
  4. Polite for "want": I would like you to send me a brochure.
  5. Unfulfilled wish: I would have liked a cookie, but there weren't any in the kitchen.
  1. Recommendation/advisability: People with high cholesterol should eat low fat foods
  2. Obligation: We should return the video before the video rental store closes.
  3. Assumption/expectation/probability: Susan should be in New York by now.

If you have any further questions please ask.


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