Lesson 33 different meanings of “should”

Choose the correct answers:

What do the underlined verbs mean, advice or speculation?

  1. Your sister’s birthday is coming. You should buy her a present. (advice or speculation?)
  2. How about an Amazon gift card?  It should be the best and most “flexible” present because of all the products Amazon sells. (advice or speculation?)
  3. She should be very appreciative when you give the gift card to her. (advice or speculation?)


The modal “should” can mean:

  1. advice
  2. speculation/possibility/guessing

Both meanings refer to present or future. The best approach is to examine and understand the contexts.

  • In Sentence #1, giving advice about buying a gift.
  • In Sentence #2, speculating that an Amazon gift card is the best.
  • In Sentence #3, speculating that the sister will appreciate the gift card.



What do the underlined verbs mean, advice or speculation?

When we have a tight budget, we should always spend money on the most important necessities like food and housing.  Even so, an occasional indulgence such as going to a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert should make everyone happy. When our finances improve, we should gradually spend more on nonessential things such as entertainment and vacations.




advice; speculation; speculation

advice; speculation; advice