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Should vs. Should Be: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on November 22, 2023
"Should" implies obligation or advisability, while "should be" suggests an expected or ideal state or condition.

Key Differences

"Should" is used to express obligation, advisability, or probability, typically referring to actions or decisions. "Should be," however, is a form of passive voice suggesting how things ideally would be or are expected to be, often beyond the control of the subject.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023
"Should" often precedes a verb in its base form and is used to give advice or make recommendations. For instance, "You should see a doctor." In contrast, "should be" is followed by a noun or an adjective, as in "The room should be clean."
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023
In usage, "should" is active, focusing on the action that needs to be taken, while "should be" implies a state or condition that is desired or expected to exist. "You should study more" (action) versus "You should be more prepared" (state).
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023
The difference also extends to the degree of subjectivity: "should" often reflects the speaker's opinion, while "should be" can imply a more general or widely accepted expectation. "You should try harder" (personal advice) versus "There should be equality" (general expectation).
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023
While "should" can suggest a course of action that may or may not be followed, "should be" often conveys a sense of something that is lacking or not as it ought to be. "You should apologize" (action not yet taken) versus "You should be sorry" (implied deficiency in feeling).
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Grammatical Form

Modal verb + base verb
Modal verb + "be" + adjective/noun
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Usage

Suggests advisability or obligation
Indicates an expected or ideal state
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Focus

On actions to be taken
On a state or condition
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Sentence Structure

Active voice
Passive voice
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Subjectivity

Reflects speaker’s opinion or recommendation
Implies a general expectation or norm
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023
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Should and Should Be Definitions

Should

Indicates a recommendation or advice.
You should drink more water for better health.
Janet White
Nov 10, 2023

Should Be

Used to express what is considered appropriate or necessary.
The temperature should be set at a comfortable level.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 10, 2023

Should

Suggests something is probable or expected.
It should rain tomorrow according to the forecast.
Janet White
Nov 10, 2023

Should Be

Suggests a condition that is desired or is likely to occur.
He should be arriving any minute now.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 10, 2023

Should

Implies an obligation or duty.
Students should complete their assignments on time.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Should Be

Expresses a normative or standard expectation.
Children should be seen and not heard.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 10, 2023

Should

Used to express a conditional mood.
If you want to succeed, you should work hard.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 10, 2023

Should Be

Indicates an expected or ideal state.
The room should be clean before guests arrive.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Should

Refers to a desirable or preferable action.
You should always tell the truth.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 10, 2023

Should Be

Refers to a theoretical or hypothetical situation.
There should be more parks in the city.
Janet White
Nov 10, 2023

Should

(auxiliary) Ought to; indicating opinion, advice, or instruction, about what is required or desirable.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 02, 2023

Should

Used to issue an instruction (traditionally seen as carrying less force of authority than alternatives such as 'shall' or 'must').
You should never drink and drive.
The law is clear that you should always wear a seat belt.
The manual says that this switch should be in the 'off' position.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 02, 2023

Should

Used to give advice or opinion that an action is, or would have been, beneficial or desirable.
You should go and see that film. I think you'll enjoy it.
I should exercise more often, but I’m too lazy.
She should not have been so rude.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 02, 2023

FAQs

How is "should be" used?

"Should be" is used to indicate an expected or ideal state or condition.
Huma Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Does "should be" reflect certainty?

No, "should be" suggests expectation but not certainty.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Is "should" a strong command?

"Should" is less commanding and more suggestive or advisory.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Does "should be" imply something is lacking?

Often, "should be" can imply that something is not as it ideally should be.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Can "should" indicate a recommendation?

Yes, "should" is commonly used to indicate recommendations.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

What does "should" imply?

"Should" implies obligation, advisability, or likelihood.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Is "should be" used in passive constructions?

Yes, "should be" is typically used in passive voice constructions.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Is "should" used for hypothetical situations?

"Should" can be used for hypothetical or conditional situations.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Can "should" be used for giving advice?

Yes, "should" is often used to give advice or suggestions.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Can "should" be used in giving personal opinions?

Yes, "should" is often used to express personal opinions.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Does "should" always require an action?

Generally, "should" is followed by a verb, implying action.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Can "should be" suggest improvements?

"Should be" is often used to suggest how things could be improved.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Can "should" be used in formal recommendations?

Yes, "should" is appropriate in formal advice or recommendations.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Does "should" convey a sense of urgency?

"Should" conveys urgency less than "must" but more than "could."
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Does "should be" imply a universal standard?

"Should be" can imply a standard or expectation generally accepted.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Does "should be" require additional context?

"Should be" often requires context to understand the expected state.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Is "should be" more about state than action?

Yes, "should be" is more about a state or condition than a specific action.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Is "should be" indicative of societal expectations?

"Should be" can reflect societal or cultural expectations.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Can "should be" indicate conformity to norms?

Yes, "should be" often indicates conformity to social or moral norms.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Can "should" express probability?

"Should" can express what is likely or expected to happen.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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