Should have usage I've had some problems using 3rd conditional I know how to use it with "would have" "could have" and "might have" but is it possible to have an if clause with should have? Are these sentences correct? E.g. If I had gone to the store, I should have bought some ships. E.g. If I had been to Canada, I should have visited Niagara falls. Thanks for answering my questions!
Jul 23, 2019 2:54 AM
Answers · 3
In American English, we don’t use “should have” this way. However, I think that British English used to, and maybe still does, use “should have” in ways that we don’t in America. Maybe this is one of those ways, but I will let a BrEng speaker answer that.
July 23, 2019
No, you can't use 'should' or 'should have' in an 'If...' conditional in modern English. In modern English, 'should' used in this way indicates advisability. If you say 'I should have visited Niagara Falls', this means that you wish that you had visited this place. If you say 'I shouldn't have done that', this means that you were sorry that you did it. It's a statement of regret - not a condition. The only place where you will encounter 'should have + pp' in the 'then' clause of a conditional is in language dating from before the middle of the twentieth century. For example, if you read novel or play written a hundred years ago, or you watch a film shot in the 1940s where people are speaking formally, you may come across 'I should have...' in third conditonals. This is because people used to follow the rule of always using 'shall' (rather than 'will') as the unemphatic first person future modal, and the past form 'should' followed this pattern. This construction is never used any more.
July 23, 2019
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