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What is the difference between "should" and "ought"?

3 years ago

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Ilmarien
Ilmarien
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I use them interchangeably, though according to this article, there's a slight difference in meaning. Though I think it's been lost in the US at least. I'm not sure about elsewhere. Just remember to use "ought to" instead of just "ought," and I wouldn't worry about the rest.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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This is a good link, but I am always scared when people set up a blind link like that. "Must, Should or Ought?" from the Oxford Word Blog of the Oxford English Dictionary should be cited as the source.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ilmarien
Ilmarien
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Scared? If I were going to Rick Roll you, I'd have done it with or without the citation. =)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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Nice to know.

That is why I give the address to people: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2014/03/must-should-ought/

That way they can see where they are going.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thraenthraen
thraenthraen
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It's quite easy to fake it even that way though: http://www.youtube.com

If you're worried, hover your cursor over the link and look at the bottom of your browser—it should show the URL. If you're on mobile (iOS; I expect other mobile devices are similar), tap and hold until the menu pops up, and it'll show the URL.

And re the original topic: I use them mostly interchangeably, I suppose. I ought to start paying attention to my own use of English more and see if there any patterns.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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The grey gives it away as a button to a url address and a button can be labeled in any way you want. That would be awful to fake things like that. The blue url address makes me feel safer, but I will use your method to check the buttons from now on. Thank you!

There are times when they can be interchangeable and other times where "should" is the one to use. "should" is the mildest form and "must" is the strongest form which can only sometimes be exchanged for "should" and "ought". The link is quite excellent. Check it out.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jgstcd
jgstcd
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They're usually interchangeable, but sometimes I do see subtle differences in meaning, and they don't always correspond to what's described in the link. I'm more likely to use "ought", for example, where reality doesn't meet my expectations. For example "there ought to be a comma there" when there isn't a comma, but I think one is required. By contrast, I would be more likely to say "there should be a comma there" if there is one and I believe it's correct, but someone has queried it. But I don't know how widespread that distinction is, or indeed whether anyone else uses the words that way.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/no.name.42
no.name.42
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I'm from the North East US and they have basically the same meaning to me. "Ought" sounds a little old fashioned, though.

3 years ago