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When to use could, would, and should?

Learn to use these words and become confident with spoken and written English –

Could, would, and should.. They definitely rhyme but don’t let that make you think that they are similar. The most proficient of English speakers make mistakes when it comes to using these words. Each of these words is related to a certain set of circumstances and should be used in a particular context. Many English learning students ask, why stress has to be placed on their usage? Can’t I just use one instead of the other?

The answer to that question is: you should know how to use them as you would regret after a crucial interview if you couldn’t use them correctly to express yourself.

Then how does one figure out which word is to be used in a particular context? Well, it isn’t rocket science! Read on and learn..

When to use could?

Could is an interesting word in English. It finds its uses in various situations.

It is used when we want to convey that an action is possible, or an action can happen. It is also used to talk about a past possibility. In English, could is also used to make polite requests or to give suggestions.

It can be used in the following manner: 

To show that you are/ were able to do something:

I could play badminton by the time I was 7 years old.

To talk about  possibility:

You had promised we could go for the movie if I scored well in my exams.

To make requests:

Could you please tell me where I will find a hardware shop here?

To ask for permission:

Could I have a glass of water, please?

To indicate a possibility:

You could have won the tournament.

To make suggestions:

Why don’t we go on the bike?

When to use would?

This word is used in English to talk about something in an imaginary scenario. It is also suggestive of a willingness to do something. When one has to state an event that may occur in the future, with a relation to the past, would is also utilized in the sentences.

It can be used in the following ways:

To express an imaginary scenario:

It would have been great to meet you in the class reunion.

To suggest a willingness:

She said she would help me out with the project, in case I needed any help.

To make an offer:

Would you like some extra cheese on your pizza?

To ask for permission:

Would you mind if I leave the door?

When to use should?

A modal verb that finds frequent space in our sentences is should. It can be used in different contexts. Mostly used for stating recommendations and giving advice, it is also used to express an obligation or an expectation.

It’s uses can be:

To talk of a strong possibility:

She should be at the station by noon.

To offer an advice:

You should exercise every day to lose weight.

To state a recommendation:

We should try the new Italian restaurant in the city.

To express an obligation:

We should return their car by evening. 

To ask a question:

Should I submit my assignment on Friday?

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