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    #1

    come, should,ought to

    "It's important that she ought to come in time.''

    Is it OK to use "ought to" instead of "should"?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: come, should,ought to

    I don't think so.

    If her coming is what I think is important, then we have a choice between:

    1. It is important that she comes
    2. It is important that she should come.

    (I have a feeling that Americans might say, as an alternative to [2]: It is important that she come. Can any Americans among you confirm (or reject) my feeling that you use a subjunctive?).

    I don't feel a great difference between [1] and [2]. In [2] should has no more suggestion of obligation than it does in [3]:

    3. If I should die, think only this of me ... in neither [2] nor [3] is ought to appropriate

    I tell my students that whenever we use ought to we can use should, but the reverse is not true. This is because, ought to, unlike should, always has some idea of obligation/duty/necessity. This idea can be a logical necessity as in:

    4. He left 3 hours ago, so he ought to be there by now.

    In [2] and [3] there is no sense of obligation, and therefore ought to is not possible, as we noted above. The same is true of your example ([5], below).

    5. It's important that she ought to come in time.

    If you said that, it would appear to suggest that what is important is the necessity for her to come on time.

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    #3

    Re: come, should,ought to

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I don't think so.

    If her coming is what I think is important, then we have a choice between:

    1. It is important that she comes
    2. It is important that she should come.

    (I have a feeling that Americans might say, as an alternative to [2]: It is important that she come. Can any Americans among you confirm (or reject) my feeling that you use a subjunctive?).

    I don't feel a great difference between [1] and [2]. In [2] should has no more suggestion of obligation than it does in [3]:

    3. If I should die, think only this of me ... in neither [2] nor [3] is ought to appropriate
    This is because, ought to, unlike should, always has some idea of obligation/duty/necessity. This idea can be a logical necessity as in:

    4. He left 3 hours ago, so he ought to be there by now.

    In [2] and [3] there is no sense of obligation, and therefore ought to is not possible, as we noted above. The same is true of your example ([5], below).

    5. It's important that she ought to come in time.

    If you said that, it would appear to suggest that what is important is the necessity for her to come on time.

    "I tell my students that whenever we use ought to we can use should, but the reverse is not true."

    Than how about this?

    "You should have moved to a new house years ago. Why didn't you?"

    OR

    "You ought to have moved to a new house years ago. Why didn't you?"

    In these two sentences should and ought to are interchangeable, aren't they?

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    #4

    Re: come, should,ought to

    Ok. Sorry. I should have written:
    "I tell my students that whenever we use ought to we can use should, but the reverse is not always true."

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