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Should vs When - What's the difference?

should | when |

As nouns the difference between should and when

is that should is a statement of what should be the case as opposed to what is the case while when is the time.

As a verb should

is (auxiliary).

As an adverb when is

(interrogative) (used to introduce questions about time).

As a conjunction when is

at what time.

As a pronoun when is

(interrogative) what time; which time.

As an interjection when is

that's enough,.



Alternative forms

* (obsolete)


  • (auxiliary)
  • If I should be late, go without me.
    Should you need extra blankets, you will find them in the closet.
  • * 1922 , (Margery Williams), (The Velveteen Rabbit)
  • It was a long weary time, for the Boy was too ill to play, and the little Rabbit found it rather dull with nothing to do all day long. But he snuggled down patiently, and looked forward to the time when the Boy should be well again, and they would go out in the garden amongst the flowers and the butterflies and play splendid games in the raspberry thicket like they used to.
  • (auxiliary) Be obliged to; have an obligation to; ought to;
  • You should brush your teeth every day.
    What do I think? What should I think?
  • * {{quote-news
  • , date = 21 August 2012 , first = Ed , last = Pilkington , title = Death penalty on trial: should Reggie Clemons live or die? , newspaper = The Guardian , url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/21/death-penalty-trial-reggie-clemons?newsfeed=true , page = , passage = Next month, Clemons will be brought before a court presided over by a "special master", who will review the case one last time. The hearing will be unprecedented in its remit, but at its core will be a simple issue: should Reggie Clemons live or die? }}
  • * '>citation
  • (auxiliary) Will likely (become or do something);
  • You should be warm enough with that coat.
  • (modern) A variant of would.
  • * 1817 , Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey?
  • I should like to dine with him. I dare say he gives famous dinners.
  • * 1900 , , (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
  • "If our friends, the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, were only with us," said the Lion, "I should be quite happy."
  • * 1900 , L. Frank Baum , The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Chapter 23
  • "Your Silver Shoes will carry you over the desert," replied Glinda. "If you had known their power you could have gone back to your Aunt Em the very first day you came to this country." "But then I should not have had my wonderful brains!" cried the Scarecrow. "I might have passed my whole life in the farmer's cornfield."

    Usage notes

    * Should'' has, as its most common meaning in modern English, the sense ''ought'' as in ''I should go, but I don't see how I can''. However, the older sense as the subjunctive of the future indicative auxiliary, ''shall'', is often used with ''I'' or ''we'' to indicate a more polite form than ''would'': ''I should like to go, but I can't''. In much speech and writing, ''should'' has been replaced by ''would'' In contexts of this kind, but it remains in conditional subjunctives: ''should'' (never ''would'') ''I go, I should wear my new dress . * (obligation) Contrast with stronger auxiliary verb (must), which indicates that the subject is required to execute the predicate. * (likely) Contrast with stronger auxiliary verb (must), which indicates that the subject certainly will execute the predicate. * See the usage notes at (shall).


    * (obligation) ought


    * (obligation) shouldn't


    (en noun)
  • A statement of what should be the case as opposed to what is the case.
  • * {{quote-book, year=2003, title=Overcoming Resistance in Cognitive Therapy, author=Robert L. Leahy
  • , passage=However, we can address maladaptive shoulds by examining the differences between prior events, causes, proximate causes, and moral responsibility. citation

    See also

    * precatory * * (projectlink) * (projectlink) * (projectlink)



    (wikipedia when)


  • (interrogative) (Used to introduce questions about time).
  • When will they arrive ?
  • (Used to introduce indirect questions about time).
  • Do you know when they arrived?
    Do you know when they will arrive?
    Do you know when they arrive?
  • At an earlier and less prosperous time.
  • He's mister high and mighty now, but I remember him when .


    (missing senses) (English Conjunctions)
  • At what time.
  • :
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=4 , passage=The Celebrity, by arts unknown, induced Mrs. Judge Short and two other ladies to call at Mohair on an afternoon when Mr. Cooke was trying a trotter on the track.
  • *
  • *:Turning back, then, toward the basement staircase, she began to grope her way through blinding darkness, but had taken only a few uncertain steps when , of a sudden, she stopped short and for a little stood like a stricken thing, quite motionless save that she quaked to her very marrow in the grasp of a great and enervating fear.
  • At such time as.
  • :
  • *{{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=July-August, author=(Henry Petroski)
  • , title= Geothermal Energy , volume=101, issue=4, magazine=(American Scientist) , passage=Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame. With more settled people, animals were harnessed to capstans or caged in treadmills to turn grist into meal.}}
  • As soon as.
  • :
  • At a time in the past.
  • :
  • *{{quote-news, year=2012, date=April 22, author=Sam Sheringham, work=BBC Sport
  • , title= Liverpool 0-1 West Brom , passage=The Baggies had offered little threat until the 28th minute, but when their first chance came it was a clear one.}}

    Derived terms

    * whenwe


    (English Pronouns)
  • (interrogative) What time; which time
  • Since when do I need your permission?


    (en noun)
  • The time.
  • A good article will cover the who, the what, the when , the where, the why and the how .

    See also

    * since when


    (en interjection)
  • That's enough,
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Derived terms

    * whenever