Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 30
  1. beachboy's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 844
    #1

    ought(n't) to

    Should we leave now?
    Shouldn't he be here earlier?
    How common is it to use ought to and oughtn't to in questions in everyday English? When can I drop the "to"?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Jul 2010
    • Posts: 5,098
    #2

    Re: ought(n't) to

    "Oughtn't to" is rare, "oughtn't", without "to", even rarer. At least, I've always believed so. But now, I read that "oughtn't to" doesn't exist. I have never heard "ought" without "to" in an indicative sentence.

    PS: I mean this sentence,
    Remember that "ought to" loses the "to" in the negative. Instead of "ought not to," we say "ought not." "Ought not" is more commonly used in British English. Americans prefer "should not.
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 18-Nov-2010 at 22:03.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #3

    Re: ought(n't) to

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    Should we leave now?
    Shouldn't he be here earlier?
    How common is it to use ought to and oughtn't to in questions in everyday English? When can I drop the "to"?
    Should, with about 1000 occurrences per million words of conversation is much more common than ought to with under 200 occurrences. (Biber et al, 1999)

    Older educated people tend to use modal inversion: ought we to go?, sometimes with omission of to; most people use DO, always with to: did we ought to go?

    The use of a negative question with ought is rare. Some people avoid it with a construction such as: Don't you think we ought to...?

    To avoid unnatural-sounding utterances, always use should.

    ref: Biber, Douglas et al (1999) Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, Harlow: Longman.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Ukrainian
      • Home Country:
      • Ukraine
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Sep 2010
    • Posts: 3,469
    #4

    Re: ought(n't) to

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Should, with about 1000 occurrences per million words of conversation is much more common than ought to with under 200 occurrences. (Biber et al, 1999)

    Older educated people tend to use modal inversion: ought we to go?, sometimes with omission of to; most people use DO, always with to: did we ought to go?

    The use of a negative question with ought is rare. Some people avoid it with a construction such as: Don't you think we ought to...?

    To avoid unnatural-sounding utterances, always use should.

    ref: Biber, Douglas et al (1999) Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, Harlow: Longman.
    1)"Did I ought to come to a party?"

    OR

    2)"Should I have come to a party?"

    Guess the first sentence would be shorter and easier to say? Would they have the same meaning?

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #5

    Re: ought(n't) to

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    1)"Did I ought to come to a party?"

    OR

    2)"Should I have come to a party?"

    Guess the first sentence would be shorter and easier to say? Would they have the same meaning? NO. The first is asking about future time, the second about past hypothetical time.
    1= ought I (to) come?, should I come?.
    2= ought I to have come?, did I ought to have come?

    The one I have underlined is horrible. I don't think anybody would ever say that, though it is theoretically possible.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,221
    #6

    Re: ought(n't) to

    I'm sure I've heard -- and maybe even said -- things like "Oughtn't we be going now?"

    How would that fly in the UK?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Ukrainian
      • Home Country:
      • Ukraine
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Sep 2010
    • Posts: 3,469
    #7

    Re: ought(n't) to

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    1= ought I (to) come?, should I come?.
    2= ought I to have come?, did I ought to have come?

    The one I have underlined is horrible. I don't think anybody would ever say that, though it is theoretically possible.
    What would be the difference between 1)"Do I ought to come to a party?" or 2)"Did I ought to come to a party?"?

  5. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #8

    Re: ought(n't) to

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    What would be the difference between 1)"Do I ought to come to a party?" Unacceptable
    or 2)"Did I ought to come to a party?" = ought I? = should I?
    Your difficulty here is caused by the illogicality of did I ought? It is past form tense in appearance, but present/future in reference, There is no do I ought? form.

    Historically, ought is a past-tense form which, over the years, has lost its past-time meanings. The same is true of could, would, should and might in some of thir uses. However, as we do not use the auxiliary DO with these core modals, the problem is less apparent.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Ukrainian
      • Home Country:
      • Ukraine
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Sep 2010
    • Posts: 3,469
    #9

    Re: ought(n't) to

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Your difficulty here is caused by the illogicality of did I ought? It is past form tense in appearance, but present/future in reference, There is no do I ought? form.

    Historically, ought is a past-tense form which, over the years, has lost its past-time meanings. The same is true of could, would, should and might in some of thir uses. However, as we do not use the auxiliary DO with these core modals, the problem is less apparent.
    Would anyone say somethimg like "Did I ought to go ther?" in the US? Is it mainly British? The negation sentence would be "I oughtn't go there." not "I didn't ought to go there."?

  6. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #10

    Re: ought(n't) to

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I'm sure I've heard -- and maybe even said -- things like "Oughtn't we be going now?"

    How would that fly in the UK?
    Fine, though it would sound a little stilted to most younger people - if they noticed it.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Use of -n't - auxiliary verbs and so on
    By arcticmonkey in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 16-May-2007, 20:31

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •