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Use "should" to express an obligation, a necessity, or a prediction; use "would" to express a wish or a customary action. Use "should" to express something that is probable, ask a question, or show an obligation or give a recommendation. To express something that is probable, you might say, "Joe should be here soon.

Use "would" to make a polite request, ask questions, or express something about hypothetical situations.

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So, to make a polite request using "would," you could say, " Would you please pass the jelly? In this example, "should" expresses something that "we" the subject of the sentence ought to do. The term, "would," by contrast, often is used to express a customary action, as in this example:. In this sentence, "would" expresses a habit or custom that Joe practiced when he was young: that he "often took the long way home.

The first example expresses a definite degree of certainty: The bank closes in 15 minutes and, therefore, "we" need to go right now and get there before closing time. The second sentence expresses a lower degree of certainty: Joe "should" go to get cash only if needs cash. In other words, if Joe does not need cash, he "should not " go to the bank. Use "should" to say that something is the right thing to do; use "would" to talk about a situation that is possible or imagined. So, add another modal, such as "could," to the sentence to see if it still makes sense.

For example, you could say:. This means that Joe ought to call his mom; it's the right thing to do. An individual may create a word though very few such words catch on , but a word becomes disused because nobody uses it. Sorry, I disagree with all of that outside the brackets. Everything to do with human language IS caused by human agency, whether by omission or commission.

It is the removal or abandonment of those specific distinctions of meaning that effectively destroys the usefulness of one or other of the words. That word does then, automatically, become redundant and is effectively lost. Loss is the opposite of gain. It is a negative value. I imagine there are people who would delight in perversely arguing about that also. Doing so might be fun. It could be entertaining, but would not be useful and certainly not educational.

It worries me that any dictionary or professed educator would actually choose to argue against the removal of confusion about word meanings. To do so seems wilfully perverse.


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What can possibly be wrong with the removal of confusing ambiguity? What can possibly be right about stubbornly maintaining it?

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Surely a primary function of education is to remove or reduce ignorance and confusion? It is beyond logical comprehension that an intelligent organization or person would actively choose to perpetuate divisive disagreement such as this.

It helps no one and hinders many. Please tell us the educational value of ensuring that ambiguity and argument continues. It seems to me that single, specific words which possess a single, agreed, meaning have far higher value and utility than the morass of descriptive context and argumentative discussion that is otherwise so often necessary to try to ensure clarity of intent.

2. Nothing can separate the two of you.

Could this be improved?. The block of three examples above supports this interpretation. Admittedly, uninterested can carry that implication too, but it can also be used more widely to refer to mental states or to situations where no physical manifestation of uninterest is implied.

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From the BNC: — The levy probably survived because Margaret Thatcher — unlike the 19th-century Earl of Rosebery, who said he would rather win the Derby he did that twice than be prime minister once, briefly — was uninterested in racing. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Language tip of the week: saying something again. As soon as dictionaries permit ambiguity, they have lost their reason for existence.

If one relies on context which is often grossly misinterpreted , rather than an agreed and authoritative definition to decide on the meaning of a word, then we might as well abandon dictionaries altogether. In addition Of course, it is true to say that many English words have more than one meaning. However, this situation is very obviously a bad one. Language authorities should be making best efforts to eliminate such misleading ambiguities, NOT using their existence as a very poor excuse for accepting or even approving the addition of even more ambiguous words.

I find this site quite entertaining for an occasional visit. But it is of less than zero educational value. Its value as an educational aid is negative. Language pundits such as Simon Heffer a UK journalist who also writes prescriptive usage books take a similar view, and they deplore dictionaries which rely on the evidence of usage.

But in reality, this is exactly what all dictionaries do even if many users are unaware of this : they follow the principles outlined years ago in a famous lecture to the Philological Society in London. Virtually all dictionaries take the same approach. The alternative position, where certain people or institutions set themselves up as authorities who hand down rules, can to some extent be found in those countries which have official language academies such as Spain and France.

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But it raises the obvious question of where these people derive their authority from. Or to put it more crudely: what gives them the right to tell other people what is good or bad in language? At Macmillan, everything we say in the dictionary is supported by corpus evidence — not the odd usage that occurs just once or twice, but solid evidence of widespread use across a range of text-types and writers or speakers. My bad. On the other hand, I also see how language is like a living, breathing organism and will inevitably evolve.

I mentioned H. Linka on Can I get a coffee? Thanks to everyone for their Comments! But removing the distinction between existing words that have very specific and useful meanings is clearly not an improvement. It is the very opposite. New, useful words are to be welcomed.

A sound knowledge of the past is not only useful, but is absolutely essential to making a better future, no matter what the subject. Tropi: You speak as if words were removed or destroyed by conscious human agency, but it is not so.