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  1. #1
    miladb is offline Newbie
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    Should have done

    When do we use the structure "should have done"? and particularly in conditional sentences?
    for example is it correct to say: "If he were a hard-working student, he should have passed the exam"? (we know that he's not and didn't)

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: Should have done

    Structurally possible, but unnatural, since 'should' in practice rarely occurs in counterfactual conditionals (we would expect 'would' here as a simple statement of hypothetical consequence).

    On the other hand, a nonpredictive conditional such as

    If he really is as conscientious as you say, then he should have passed the exam.

    would be quite acceptable.

  3. #3
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: Should have done

    Just for accuracy, I should add that an epistemic 'should' (of the type under discussion here, denoting an assumption) rarely if ever occurs in counterfactual conditionals. However a deontic (i.e. ethical) 'should' is quite possible, e.g.

    If there were a fire, you should immediately leave the building.

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