I had an English teacher a long time ago who liked using ought to instead of should.
Do you think there is a large difference between these two words?
Is ought to more polite than should?
Is should more commanding?

What is your interpretation of the difference between these two words?
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Comments  (Page 4) 
Hi Guys

As far as i know look at the following
I have to do it ( in plain or simply you need to do it) showing clearly you want to to di it.
I should do it little bit more emphasis on the verb to do it.
I ought to do it means some how or at any cost i should do it!

I think "Ought to" is stronger than "Should". It expresses the commanding.
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AnonymousI think "Ought to" is stronger than "Should". It expresses the commanding.
Have you any evidence to support this?
IMO, there should not be a difference - but there ought to be.
Which is to say; for clarity, I prefer to use OUGHT TO for statements of obligation, and SHOULD for statements of probability.
"There should be a law against it." = "Consulting my memory, I think such a law exists."
"There ought to be a law against it." = "Regardless of whether such a law exists, I want it to."
This comment worries me. I teach that the 'to,' most certainly does remain in the negative and interrogative.

You oughtn't to go out today.

Oughtn't we to do something special for her birthday?
Anonymous Remember that "ought to" loses the "to" in the negative. Instead of "ought not to," we say "ought not." "Ought not" is more commonly used in British English. Americans prefer "should not."
I fully accept that people don't always say this but only in the same way that I accept that people say 'Gonna,'

I have not seen an example of two sentences that have tangibly different meanings using either 'Should,' or 'Ought to,' when the meaning is to have a duty/ obligation to (Had Better). Hence, I have to carry on teaching that they are interchangeable for that meaning of 'Should;'
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I do agree with you. I've always supported this difference between "should" and "ought to".
I usually teach my students the following: "should", you may or may not do something, it's up to you. "ought to", you're evenly free to decide doing or not. But not doing may imply in any sort of consequence. It's use is less frequent though.
I can't believe this is still going on eight years after CJ gave a clear and accurate response. I have pasted it below, with one important sentence highlighted:

Palmer (The English Verb) distinguishes three uses of should.

1. to lay a tentative obligation You should come to the party tomorrow.
2. to express a probability They should be at their destination by now.
3. 'evaluative' should It's strange that he should say such a thing.

He makes the following observations:

In the first meaning, ought to and should are completely interchangeable:
You ought to come to the party tomorrow.

In the second, ought to is theoretically possible, but is rarely used with this meanig.
? They ought to be at their destination by now.

In the third, ought to is not used.
* It's strange that he ought to say such a thing.

From what I have observed informally, in the U.S. ought to is much less used than should, even in the cases where the two are equivalent. Sometimes, to some people, it has the air of being somewhat scholarly. Sometimes, to some people, it seems to be weaker, gentler, or less direct than should.
I am studding English as a foreign language and I like to write and speak (if possible) CORRECTLY , not what is USUALLY in use. So for me this is the most EXACT and CLEAR explanation of the difference. You do not have to make short things long when you have an answer like this.
Thank you
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