Can you say a sentence where ought to is correct but not should, and vice versa.

Examples where "should" can be used, but not "ought to":

- After an adjective like "strange", "surprised", etc., e.g.
"It's strange that he should be late."
"I was surprised that he should say such a thing."

- If something should happen, e.g.
"If Tom should phone while I'm out, tell him I'll call him back later."

- Giving advice, e.g.
"Shall I leave now?" "No, I should wait a bit longer."
"I shouldn't stay up too late. You'll be tired tomorrow."

(See 'English Grammar in Use' by R. Murphy; unit 34)
Hi Annvan

does it mean that should is "more" than ought to?

That we do not need ought to, because we have should?

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Yes, I think should covers more situations and those mentioned by AnnVan are unique to it.

However in terms of obligations, ought still has a role to play, being, IMO, softer than should (in many situations, it means "it would be good (not mandatory) to do this or that."

Try some searches at this site on:
should ought
and you'll have much more stuff, including CJ in this:
"Ought to" vs. "Should."

Also, see:
When should you use “should” or “ought to”?
You may want to read what Professor Lawler said elsewhere:
>"I should go." "I ought to go."
>Is there any difference ?
>(Needless to say I'm not a native English speaker.)

There isn't much difference. "Ought" is the old past participle of "to
owe", which shows the 'moral bookkeeping' involved in deontic modals.

( See George Lakoff's book "Moral Politics". A Google search on 'Lakoff
moral' gives some interesting URLs, including a Christian Science
Monitor review: http://home1.gte.net/rad/reviews/moralpol.htm )

"Ought to" is a paraphrase of "should", but, since it's already
morphologically restricted as a past participle (instead of being a real
verb, like "have to" for "must" and "want to" for "will", or as a real
predicative adjective, like "able to" for "can"), it doesn't really have a
whole lot more flexibility than the modal auxiliary it's paraphrasing.

For further discussion of modal auxiliary verbs (e.g, 'must' and 'should')
and their paraphrases (respectively, 'have to' and 'ought to'), see


-John Lawler http://www.umich.edu/~jlawler U of Michigan Linguistics Dept
Emotion: smile
thanks Marius
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Can you say a sentence where ought to is correct but not should, and vice versa.


Personally, I feel that “ought to” has the advisory tone whereas “should” has more of a directing tone. As far as what I can see, both can be used in the same context, though the listening party may react slightly differently. In the I don’t hear [ought to] too much.

You really [ought to] consider your children before filing a devoice. This may come from a friend.

You [should] be preparing for you college entrance test instead of hanging out with your friends. – This may come from the parents.
I agree with what Goodman says ...
Hi Inchoateknowledge,
As Marius mentioned, the examples I gave are unique to "should" - "ought to" cannot be used.
Greetings from Holland!
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