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Hi, dear members. I have been locked in an argument with a Chinese teacher about the use of "should have thought".
The sentence in question is seemingly from a reference book for preparation of an English test:

Aren't you tired? I should have thought you had done enough today.

I think in this case "should have thought" equals "would have thought", which indicates the speaker is surprised at another guy, who is supposed to be tired but is still vigorous, when he sees the guy is still working. The speaker expected the other guy to be tired but it turns out otherwise. It also indicates the other guy is doing the work of his own volition, not being forced.

But the Chinese teacher insist that "should have thought" means "the speaker should have thought he was tired but actually the speaker didn't", indicating the speaker regrets having been inconsiderate towards the other guy by pushing the guy to do some work although the the guy was already tired.
And he he thinks "would have thought" expresses speculation of the past or subjunctive mood, which is different from "should have thought".

But I have read many threads here and know that "should have thought" is just another way of saying "would have thought", so I disagree with him.

So who is right? Please shed light on this.

Thank you.

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Comments  (Page 4) 

Hi, GPY. Just as an afterthought: when it comes to "contrary to expectations" sense, is there any difference between "somebody would have thought" and "somebody had thought"? Thank you.

For example,

3. They spoke of a one-eyed man and another who wore a yellow cloak . . . and a woman, cloaked and hooded.”
“A woman?” He would have thought/had thought that the White Fawn would have taught Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.

zuotengdazuo3. They spoke of a one-eyed man and another who wore a yellow cloak . . . and a woman, cloaked and hooded.”“A woman?” He would have thought/had thought that the White Fawn would have taught Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.

"He had thought ..." means that he previously did actually think that. "He would have thought ..." means that it was a reasonable thing for him to have thought, consistent with his view of this matter, not necessarily that he actually had thought it.

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Thank you, GPY.

But I'm wondering if the following versions are also OK in the context?

3a. He thought that the White Fawn would have taught Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.

3b. He thought that the White Fawn would teach Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.

3c. He would have thought that the White Fawn would teach Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.

3d. He had thought that the White Fawn would have taught Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.

3e. He had thought that the White Fawn would teach Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.

And do "He thought ..." and "He had thought ..." mean the same thing?

"would teach" does not work there, or not in the same way. The speaker is referring to something that he thinks should already have been taught, i.e. in the past relative to the point that the narrative has reached. "would teach" does not convey that, or not as clearly anyway.

zuotengdazuoAnd do "He thought ..." and "He had thought ..." mean the same thing?

The usual difference between simple past and past perfect applies. In particular, in this case, "he had thought" conveys the idea that that past thought may need to be reconsidered in the light of new evidence.

GPY"would teach" does not work there, or not in the same way.

Thank you. I see. But my 3a and 3d fit in the original context, right?

And "would teach" in this kind of sentence only refers to a present event (the "now" in the story), which is not fulfilled yet or unlikely to be fulfilled, right?

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zuotengdazuoThank you. I see. But my 3a and 3d fit in the original context, right?

3a. He thought that the White Fawn would have taught Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.
3d. He had thought that the White Fawn would have taught Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.

In your context, 3d could be deemed preferable on account of its better expressing the contrast between what he previously thought and what the evidence may now show. On the other hand, the double past perfect could be seen as more burdensome than beneficial. Opinions may vary.

zuotengdazuoAnd "would teach" in this kind of sentence only refers to a present event (the "now" in the story), which is not fulfilled yet or unlikely to be fulfilled, right?

3b. He thought that the White Fawn would teach Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.
This refers to future teaching relative to the time of "thought".

3c. He would have thought that the White Fawn would teach Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.
To me this one seems mismatched since "would have thought" suggests that his expectation was not fulfilled, yet "would teach" is in the future, so it is presently unknown whether it will be fulfilled or not.

3d. He had thought that the White Fawn would teach Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.
Refers to future teaching relative to the time of "had thought", which is itself prior to the "now" of the narrative. This teaching may or may not still be in the future.

Thank you for your detailed explanation. But I don't quite understand your comment on 3c:

GPY3c. He would have thought that the White Fawn would teach Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.To me this one seems mismatched since "would have thought" suggests that his expectation was not fulfilled, yet "would teach" is in the future, so it is presently unknown whether it will be fulfilled or not.

I think the tense combination in 3c works if it is direct speech, just like this sentence

4. He smiled as he poured. “As to Grand Maester Pycelle... if my sweet sister is so concerned for him, I would have thought she’d come herself. Instead she sends you. What am I to make of that?”

If it is direct speech, then we know "would teach" is a present event which hasn't been fulfilled, right?

zuotengdazuoWhat am I to make of that?

You will find many variations in the combinations of tenses used in these kinds of sentences. My feeling is that even native speakers are not sure about, or at least not consistent in, the combinations that they choose. It is a grey area of language. Almost any "reasonable" combination can probably be cited.

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Thank you. I see. But I still think there might be some rule underlying the choice of tense combinations.

4. He smiled as he poured. “As to Grand Maester Pycelle... if my sweet sister is so concerned for him, I would have thought she’d come herself. Instead she sends you. What am I to make of that?”

Sentence 4 is direct speech, rather than narrative, so I just want to know if I make the same changes to it as I have done to sentence 3, will the variations work in the context of 4?

4a. I would have thought she would have come herself. Instead she sends you. What am I to make of that?

4b. I thought she’d come herself. Instead she sends you.

4c. I had thought she’d come herself. Instead she sends you.

4d. I thought she would have come herself. Instead she sends you.

4e. I had thought she would have come herself. Instead she sends you.

Sorry if this question seems repetitive.

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