The Real Definition of “should”

Over the years, I have heard many people use the word “should”.  Using the word does not guarantee anything, but others might be misled.  As a public service, here is the real definition of “should”:

present tense:

When you wish to make a statement that is not backed up by proof, but rather you feel there is an obligation for the statement to be true for whatever reason (such as ignorance, righteous indignation, or expediency), use the present tense of “should”.  Examples:

  • “This should work.”
  • “This new program should solve all of our problems.”
  • “How difficult could it be?  I should not have any problems.”

past tense:

When the unknown or unconsidered factors sneak up behind you and boot you hard in the ass as a result of ignoring them, adopt a mournful expression and use the past tense: “It should have worked!”

Rumour has it that “should” is occasionally used in another way.