Student or Learner
This question is easy. You ____ (should, could) answer it.
We're discussing how to make the choice. Others said the answer was 'should' while I prefer 'could', and my reason is 'could' here is used to make a polite suggestion. Am I right?
Might I ask native English teachers to help me? A thousand thanks.
But 'should' sounds to me like the speaker is offering a piece of advice rather than an assumption. As a kind of certainty, I thought we should use 'should be able to answer it'. Well, I'm not sure. What do you think? Perhaps you're right. Let's expect native English teaches to clarify this problem.
If the preceding sentece read like this, You need to score one more point to pass the test, then I'd go for should once again. But this time the sentence, You should answer it (and NOT You should be able to answer it) indicates a strong suggestion (or a piece of strong advice, if you like).
That's what I think. Let's hope and wait for some natives to share their opinions about it.
Very quick answer is that the use of could suggests that you have a choice-you can answer if you want to. The use of should indicates that this is something you ought to do.
In my opinion both could be used depending on the intonation used. They would however have different meanings.
This question is easy. You could answer it. With heavy stress on 'you' this could mean something like 'Even you could answer it and you are no expert.'
This question is easy. You should answer it. This is advice and is probably the intended answer.
This question is easy. You should be able to answer it.
Without this addition, I can't see any way that this could be glossed as anything but a deontic 'should' an advice 'should', though I must allow that that doesn't mean that there couldn't be one.
What is it that excludes either deontic or epistemic and yet sometimes allows either reading?
Oh, you're already in town! So you should get here any moment now. Great! (expectation of an event to happen)
Oh, you're already in town! So you should be able to get here any moment now. Great! (expectation that somebody can do something)
So let me make some changes to the sentences, like these:
Bob, we both know how good you are at history. So far you haven't failed any single test in it, so I think there's nothing to be worrying about. I mean it, just look at your grades - they're speaking for themselves! You should pass the next week's history test. No doubt about it!
Isn't it an example of the so-called epistemic use? I do think it is.