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  1. #1
    nyugaton is offline Junior Member
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    The meaning of "should"

    I do not seek your death, God knows; I should be sorry to see you suffer in the least."

    What does this "should" mean?

  2. #2
    Dany's Avatar
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    Re: The meaning of "should"

    He knows that it would be better to feel sorry about it, but he doesn't feel sorry about it.

  3. #3
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    Re: The meaning of "should"

    Sorry, Dany,
    IMHO it's just a conditional :
    If you suffered, I shold (=would) be sorry.
    If you suffer, I will be sorry.
    Rgs

  4. #4
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    Re: The meaning of "should"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dany View Post
    He knows that it would be better to feel sorry about it, but he doesn't feel sorry about it.
    It could certainly mean exactly this, but from the very short context I think that perhaps it is a slightly old-fashioned alternative to would which was common in some types of literature, and has exactly the same meaning as the modern use of would. If I am correct (and who knows ) then the meaning is exactly the opposite - he is sorry about it.
    Last edited by DavyBCN; 01-Sep-2006 at 09:05. Reason: typing again

  5. #5
    Dany's Avatar
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    Re: The meaning of "should"

    That's to complicated to me. Why do they write "should" when they mean "would"

  6. #6
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    Re: The meaning of "should"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dany View Post
    That's to complicated to me. Why do they write "should" when they mean "would"
    In many cases should has a different meaning to would of course. Perhaps the reason that using should in the way your example does is not common now is that we all agree with you.

  7. #7
    Dany's Avatar
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    Re: The meaning of "should"

    Thanks

  8. #8
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Re: The meaning of "should"

    Quote Originally Posted by nyugaton View Post
    I do not seek your death, God knows; I should be sorry to see you suffer in the least."
    What does this "should" mean?
    I think it could hold both a deontic and epistemic meaning and in this case they are so similar.

    should [deontic] = it's commonly accepted by good people that feeling this way is a good thing.

    OR

    should [epistemic] = it's highly probable/there's a strong likelihood that I would be sorry to see you suffer. I think this use of 'should' shows a weaker epistemic meaning than 'would'; would carries a 100% meaning but 'should is, in this case, a bit weaker.

  9. #9
    nyugaton is offline Junior Member
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    Re: The meaning of "should"

    Thank you, I found it interesting!
    I really didn't know that the certainty of "should" is weaker than "would."

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