Confused Words : Could, Would and Should

Confused Words Could, Would and Should in English

Common Mistakes using Could, Would & Should

Misunderstood words : Could, Would and Should

Some English words like : Could, Would and Should are often confused, misused, or used with the wrong preposition while speaking or writing English sentences. We have discussed here correct version and explanation that will help you to avoid making the same mistakes while speaking or writing English.

Confuse words Could, Would and Should

The words 'Could' ‘Would’ and ‘Should’ are auxiliary verbs, meaning that their function is to assist main verbs. They can be defined as the past tenses respectively of will, shall and can, but each has many uses that sometimes even express the present tense.

We use 'could' to talk about an ability or something that was generally possible in the past. We use 'would' to talk about imaginary or hypothetical situations. These are situations that are not possible or likely to ever happen. We mainly use 'should' to give and request advice.

It is important to be able to differentiate between the three so as not to use them incorrectly.

Meaning of Could, Would and Should:

: used to denote permission or to ask questions or to express tentativeness or politeness.
: used to make polite requests or to explain an outcome to a hypothetical situation.
: used to show obligation or to express a hypothetical situation.

Note: 'Could' ‘Would’ and ‘Should’ are auxiliary verbs.

Uses of Could, Would and Should:
‘Could’ describes something that can happen or be done in the present or future. In the past tense, it denotes an ability or skill.
Examples using Could:
  • To ask questions:
  • Could I leave now?
  • Could I submit my project now?
  • To make a polite request:
  • Could you please pass that paper?
  • Could I speak to Mr. John, please?
  • To show possibility:
  • You could do a lot better.
  • You could study harder than you do.
  • I could run a mile without breaking a sweat.
‘Would’ describes something that could happen under certain circumstances, or when spoken in the past tense, it describes an action that took place in the past.
Examples using Would:
  • To ask questions:
  • What would he do?
  • How would she go there?
  • Would you like to see the doctor?
  • To make polite requests:
  • Would you like anything else?
  • I would like more ice-cream, please.
  • To show a different response:
  • I would phone Alisha if I had her number.
  • I would have done something if I had known you were in trouble.
  • To explain an outcome to a hypothetical situation:
  • I would love to buy a new car one day.
  • If I had a lot of money I would like to own a farm one day.
  • Were I to win a million dollars, I would go on a world tour.
  • To show habitual past action:
  • We would always argue. We could never agree.
  • The dog would howl whenever its master would leave it alone at home.
  • To show preference between two choices:
  • I would rather accept my mistake than lie and escape it.
  • To show intention:
  • Smit said he would do it.
  • He said he would always love her.
‘Should’ describe something that should happen. It refers to an obligation, a necessity, or probability of happening.
Examples using Should:
  • To ask questions:
  • Should I submit my project now?
  • Should we turn right at this street?
  • To show obligation:
  • You should stop eating fast food.
  • You should brush your teeth twice a day.
  • To express a hypothetical situation:
  • Should you wish to do so, you may have hot tea and biscuits.
  • To express what is likely:
  • He should be bringing Simran with him.
  • With an early start, they should be here by afternoon.
  • If you take the right path, you should be there in two hours.

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