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  1. #1

    English Modals

    When expressing the idea of advisability, what are the differences in connotation among should, ought to and had better?

    In what situations would we use one and not the others?

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    #2

    Re: English Modals

    All the three verbs indicate obligation or duty. They look the same to me.
    I think they could be used interchangeably. No?

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    #3

    Re: English Modals

    Not always:

    You'd better not do that again! - Here, it's a threat and shouldn't/ought not wouldn't carry the same meaning or force.

  2. rewboss's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: English Modals

    "Should" and "ought to" are very similar in meaning; both can express either a suggestion or a moral obligation, although "should" is better for a suggestion and "ought to" for an obligation.

    In the negative, "oughtn't" is not often used; native speakers prefer "shouldn't" or "mustn't".

  3. sheena55ro
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    #5

    Re: English Modals

    Please tell me what is the question tag used for the sentence containg "ought to"?
    ex.: You ought to see a doctor,.....oughtn`t you? or..."don`t you [think so]"?
    Thank you

  4. sheena55ro
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    #6

    Re: English Modals

    Please tell me what is the question tag used for the sentence containg "ought to"?
    ex.: You ought to see a doctor,.....oughtn`t you? or..."don`t you [think so]"?
    Thank you


    and another question:
    What are the rules of using "it is high time[it is time]" in the English sentence?

  5. #7

    Smile Re: English Modals

    It is not related to question tag.
    Reply to sheena55ro:
    It is high time + gerund

    From rewboss:
    "Should" and "ought to" are very similar in meaning; both can express either a suggestion or a moral obligation, although "should" is better for a suggestion and "ought to" for an obligation.

    Would rewboss give some examples? What is an obligation? How is it diffferent from suggestion?

    Thank you!

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    #8

    Re: English Modals

    Quote Originally Posted by sheena55ro
    Please tell me what is the question tag used for the sentence containg "ought to"?
    ex.: You ought to see a doctor,.....oughtn`t you? or..."don`t you [think so]"?
    Thank you
    Oughtn't you?
    ought you not?

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    #9

    Re: English Modals

    Quote Originally Posted by sheena55ro
    What are the rules of using "it is high time[it is time]" in the English sentence?
    It is time + infinitive
    It's time to go
    It's (high) time + subject + past tense
    It's time we left
    It's high time he grew up.
    (Note that high time can't take an infinitive form)

  6. #10

    Question Re: English Modals

    To sum up the opinions:

    "Should" and "ought to" have similar meaning to express either a suggestion or a moral obligation.

    But "should" is better for a suggestion and "ought to" for an obligation.

    We seldom use "ought" in negative sides and questions.

    "had better" shows a threat.

    Are the followings right or wrong?
    1. had better > ought to > should
    2. "ought" to is less common than "should" in written and spoken English
    3. "should" is often used in instructions
    4. "had better" is especially used in spoken English

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