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Thread: should have

  1. #1
    wowenglish1 is offline Senior Member
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    should have

    I would like to know the difference between "1" and "2".
    1. He should be home by now.
    2. He should have been home by now.

  2. #2
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Re: should have

    The first is when we don't know if he is home.

    The second is when we are there, and don't know why he isn't home.

  3. #3
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: should have

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    The first is when we don't know if he is home.

    The second is when we are there, and don't know why he isn't home.
    That's true, but this would also work:

    "He should be home by now," his mother said fretfully.
    "He should have been home by now," his mother said fretfully.

    But:

    "Let's call Joey. He should be home by now. I daresay he is home by now."
    ("should have been home" doesn't fit this context.)

    "Why isn't Joey answering? He should be home by now."
    "Why isn't Joey answering? He should have been home by now."


    I think you can make #1 mean the same thing as 2 by the tone of voice.

    So I think #1 means BOTH
    - a simple fact statement predicting his whereabouts
    (I daresay, I imagine, I expect, I anticipate that he's home by now)
    AND
    - a suggestion that he is overdue

    but #2 means ONLY that he is overdue

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
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    Re: should have

    I don't think I'd use 'should have been' in this context. 'He should be home by now' and 'He should have got/reached/arrived...' would both work, but I'd use 'he should have been' in a context like this: [I phoned ten minutes ago, and his wife said he'd be back from church in five minutes.] 'I think I'll try again; he should have been to church by now.' (Maybe this is an intuition about Br Eng, and maybe it's just me. )

    b

  5. #5
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: should have

    I phoned ten minutes ago, and his wife said, "He should have been home by now." I'll try again; he should be home by now.

    "He should have been home by now" = he is overdue

    "He should be home by now" = He is theoretically home as we speak

    The problem is that "He should be home by now" has two meanings

    1) I imagine, expect, anticipate, assume he is home at this time
    > "I'll call again; he should be home by now."

    2) He was expected to be home by this time.
    > "Where's your brother? He should be home by now."

    This second meaning circles around to mean the same thing as "he should have been home by this time."

  6. #6
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    Re: should have

    I agree about the second meaning circling around, in some speakers. But as in my 'should have been to church' example, the past perfect of got/reached/etc works (for me) better than 'been', except where 'been' means 'gone to and returned from another place'.

    b

  7. #7
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Re: should have

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I agree about the second meaning circling around, in some speakers. But as in my 'should have been to church' example, the past perfect of got/reached/etc works (for me) better than 'been', except where 'been' means 'gone to and returned from another place'.

    b
    That's the way it sounds to me, too.

  8. #8
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: should have

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I agree about the second meaning circling around, in some speakers. But as in my 'should have been to church' example, the past perfect of got/reached/etc works (for me) better than 'been', except where 'been' means 'gone to and returned from another place'.

    b
    Would you elaborate on this a little when you have a chance?

    I think this is not a distinction I make, so if you had the time to draw it out a little, I would be a most attentive audience.


  9. #9
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    Re: should have

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    Would you elaborate on this a little when you have a chance?

    I think this is not a distinction I make, so if you had the time to draw it out a little, I would be a most attentive audience.

    This all revolves around the difference between 'have been' (about be-ing) and 'have been' (about having gone and come back):

    Q May I speak to Mr Smith?
    A I'm sorry, he's gone to America.

    versus

    Q Does anybody have any views about the best carrier to fly with to America?
    A Ask Jane - she's been to America loads of times... And here she is now, right on cue!

    'Been' - in the geographical sense - means more than 'gone'; a person who has 'been' somewhere has 'gone' and come back. (Sorry if I'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here Ann (), but other people may be reading this; besides, I only became conscious of this distinction a few years ago.)

    Now, returning to 'he should be/have been here', in this sort of case the use of the present perfect makes me understand (by default) the geographical sense of 'have been' - which implies that the go-er has returned. If that sense doesn't fit, then I can override the default interpretation. But that 'default-override' is required less often when I'm dealing with a speaker of Br English.

    b

  10. #10
    albeit is offline Banned
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    Re: should have

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    I phoned ten minutes ago, and his wife said, "He should have been home by now." I'll try again; he should be home by now.

    "He should have been home by now" = he is overdue

    "He should be home by now" = He is theoretically home as we speak

    The problem is that "He should be home by now" has two meanings

    I agree, Ann. Isn't 2) deontic, an admonishment of sorts; if the "where's your brother?" mother had the chance to speak to the errant son on the phone she could only use a deontic, [house rules] "You should be home".


    And the other, 1), is epistemic, a "should" that falls short of a "must".



    1) I imagine, expect, anticipate, assume he is home at this time
    > "I'll call again; he should be home by now."

    2) He was expected to be home by this time.
    > "Where's your brother? He should be home by now."

    This second meaning circles around to mean the same thing as "he should have been home by this time."
    abc
    Last edited by albeit; 24-Sep-2009 at 20:01.

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