Should and Could - English Grammar Tutorials - Misused Words in English

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Should and Could.

In this lesson we will learn the correct use of 'should' and 'could'.


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In this lesson we will learn the correct use of ‘should’ and ‘could’.


Liza: Hello, guys! Today we’ll learn the different functions of ‘should’ and ‘could’. ‘Should’ is used when somebody wants to give advice or a recommendation.

Tony: Hi, Liza. That’s it. If you visit Paris, you should go to the Louvre. That’s my advice to you. We use ‘should’ to talk about the present and the future, right?

Liza: Yes! And there’s another way to use ‘should’.

Tony: You’re right. We also use ‘should’ when we want to express the idea of ‘expectation’.

Liza: Yeah! For example, all the restaurants I know accept credit cards, so, Vinnie’s Pizzeria should accept credit cards, too.

Tony: You’re telling us that you expect Vinnie’s Pizzeria to accept credit cards because it’s logical, all the other restaurants do.

Liza: Exactly! But let’s talk about ‘could’ now. Do you know how to use it?

Tony: Yes, Liza. ‘Could’ is used when we want to say that there’s a remote possibility for something to happen. This also refers to present and future situations.

Liza: Yes. Tomorrow is Saturday, so I don’t work. I could go to the beach. Or I could go to the movies.

Tony: Yes, there are many options, and you don’t know what you’ll do.

Liza: But do we use ‘could’ only to talk about present and future?

Tony: No, Liza. ‘Could’ also refers to a past ability. When I was a child, I could watch cartoons all afternoon. Not now. I have to work all day long! Oh! And one more thing. Don’t forget that we use ‘could’ to request things. For example: ‘Could you get me a glass of water’?

Liza: Good thing you remembered. Now let’s listen to some conversations.

No Smoking.

Jeff: People shouldn’t smoke here. There are no windows.

Merlyn: Well, you could ask them to put out their cigarette.

Jeff: But they should know that it’s wrong.

Merlyn: Jeff, I think you should tell them if it upsets you.

Jeff: Yes, you’re right. But I am a little shy. Could you ask them?

Merlyn: Ok, Jeff. I’ll do it. But you should really try to be more outgoing! You’re studying to be a journalist!

Going to Paris.

Liza: Could you bring me a nice jacket when you go to Paris?

Tony: Oh sure! You should remind me before I travel. I could forget. There are many things I have to do before I go.

Liza: That’s fine. I’ll remind you. You should make a list, if you have so many things to remember…it could help.

Tony: Right. I made a list and forgot where I put it.

Liza: Maybe you should take me with you. I could help you remember everything.

Tony: Nice try, Liza. It’s a short trip. And I’ll be busy all the time. We could go together at the end of the year, when I’m on vacation. It should be more fun for both of us.

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