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    #1

    Wink Structure: If + should

    Hi guys,

    I come across this sentence in an article:"I would faint in shock if the cashier should flash me a smile". I am not so sure of the use of 'should' here. It doesn't really mean obligations/decisions-making as in I should do this...

    I've seen this kind of structure several times and I'd really like to know what the modal verb 'should' is doing there.

    thx

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Structure: If + should

    In BrE, we sometimes use 'should' with no real difference in meaning. In the following sequence, the possibility of the smile is (perhaps) slightly less likely as we proceed through the series:

    ... if the cashier flashes me a smile.
    ... if the cashier should flash me a smile.
    ... if the cashier should happen to flash me a smile.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Structure: If + should

    I'd like to add:
    "... if the cashier flashed me a smile."

    Again, I think that "flashed" (past tense form for a hypothetical action) is subjunctive, and "should flash" is an equivalent.
    "I'd be surprised if he came." = "I'd be surprised if he should come."

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    #4

    Re: Structure: If + should

    Thanks a lot!

    But, why isn't 'would' more natural? Doesn't should sound a bit either archaic or unduly formal?

    Thanks again

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Structure: If + should

    If the cashier would (only) smile at me, it would make my day.

    'Would' is not more or less natural; it conveys a different meaning.

    'Should' is moderately formal, but it is not archaic.

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