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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 7) 
zuotengdazuoif a finished or decided event requires perfect modal construction (modal +have) in the subordinate clause, then why can we say "I would have thought she would come" since the event "she comes" is finished?

If this is said while the meeting that she might/should have come to is ongoing, then the matter isn't properly "finished". If it is said about a past meeting then our contextual knowledge overrides the "would come" / "would have come" issue. As I may have mentioned before, in practice these patterns are subject to some degree of arbitrary variation, and my feeling is that not even native speakers are always sure whether they should be saying "would have ~" or "would ~".

zuotengdazuo1. Three days ago, I would never have thought I would be able to read Kant's work now.
2. Three days ago, I would never have thought I would have been able to read Kant's work now.
I write this example myself, which seems to resemble the dwarf's pennies example since I'm still reading it. But I'm told #2 is not OK. Would you please tell me why?

In my view, (2) is within the bounds of what you might encounter from native speakers. However, the "would have ... would have" repetition seems unnecessary, so, of those two, (1) would be my choice.

Thanks a lot. But you missed a question. Generally speaking, is there any difference between the usage of "would have thought" and that of "would never have thought"?

I mean, with all other things being equal, the choice of tenses/modal patterns after "would have thought/had thought/thought" has nothing to do with whether "would have thought/had thought/thought" is negative or affirmative, right?

For example,

version one:

A: Can you believe that? Your friend Fred just quit his job and went to Africa.

B: Oh. I would never have thought he could have done/could do such a thing.

version two:

A: Can you believe that? Your friend Fred just quit his job and went to Africa.

B: Oh. I would have thought he could have stayed and kept his job/could stay and keep his job.

Thanks a lot.

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zuotengdazuoI mean, with all other things being equal, the choice of tenses/modal patterns after "would have thought/had thought/thought" has nothing to do with whether "would have thought/had thought/thought" is negative or affirmative, right?

It doesn't seem likely to me that there would be a difference in this respect.

Thank you, GPY. I see.

Regarding this in your previous post:

GPYNo, I don't think so. Where the context suggests a "contrary to expectation" meaning, then that is what would be understood from these narrative sentences. Some people might prefer "had thought" though.

Do both the narrative "The lady thought Tyrion might want/might have wanted to tend to it himself" and "I thought you might want/might have wanted to tend to it himself" suggests the lady's belief has not changed despite the previous exchange?

I have the same question for the "the Queen would come" and the White Fawn example.

Or generally, when the sentence "someone thought ..." is uttered or written, it always suggests the speaker's belief has not changed despite the previous exchange?

zuotengdazuoDo both the narrative "The lady thought Tyrion might want/might have wanted to tend to it himself" and "I thought you might want/might have wanted to tend to it himself" suggests the lady's belief has not changed despite the previous exchange?

Any belief that he has been collecting the pennies up to now is clearly dispelled by "I leave the collecting to others". As far as the future is concerned, "might want" may suggest more strongly than "might have wanted" that she still hopes/believes he might tend to it himself in future. However, this is not a black-and-white difference.

In the case of the narrative sentence, do you have in mind that the indirect version of "I thought ..." ought to be "The lady had thought ...", and if we say "The lady thought ..." then the meaning ought to change? Is that what's underlying your question?

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Thanks a lot.

GPYIn the case of the narrative sentence, do you have in mind that the indirect version of "I thought ..." ought to be "The lady had thought ...", and if we say "The lady thought ..." then the meaning ought to change? Is that what's underlying your question?

Yes, I think so. In my mind, the direct speech "I thought ..." suggest she changes her mind. The narrative "The lady had thought ..." suggests she previously believed he tended to it himself but she no longer believes it now. While "The lady thought ..." means she previously believed he wanted to tend to it himself and despite the previous exchange she still believes so now. But "The lady thought ..." can also mean "The lady had thought ...", as you told me in a previous post.

Is my thinking right?

Emotion: sleep
zuotengdazuoIn my mind, the direct speech "I thought ..." suggest she changes her mind.

Not necessarily; it is very much dependent on the rest of the context. In the kinds of sentences we have been talking about, "I thought ..." need not refer, or at least not exclusively refer, to an action that occurred in the past and is now completed. It can imply that the speaker still thinks so, and can sometimes, in effect, be just a softer or more questioning way of expressing what the speaker thinks now. (There is also a "proved right" use, e.g. "I thought it was going to rain today (and, lo and behold, it is raining)", but this is a bit different from the sentences that we have been looking at.)

When we come to reporting this kind of thought in narrative, it may not be obligatory to use "had thought", which might normally be expected. This is because it may not be necessary to show that "thought" happened entirely before the "now" of the narrative, and was a completed action at that time. I would say that the more the context suggests that the person's belief has changed, the more "had thought" would be preferred.

Thanks a lot.

GPY I would say that the more the context suggests that the person's belief has changed, the more "had thought" would be preferred.

So in narrative, the more the context suggests that the person's belief hasn't changed, the more "thought" would be preferred?

This following question is underlying all my other questions on "would have thought". Do you have a rule for it? Or is there no rule but it is only subject to one's arbitrary choice?

I noticed that in the subordinate clause, we can always use modal +have to replace plain modal construction where the latter is used, but not vice versa.

So I'm wondering in what condition the perfect modal construction (modal +have) is mandatory after "would (never) have thought/had (never) thought/(never) thought"?

Example,

“Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.” (not OK to say "you might sail"?)

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zuotengdazuoSo I'm wondering in what condition the perfect modal construction (modal +have) is mandatory after "would (never) have thought/had (never) thought/(never) thought"?

If the speaker is referring to a past action, and there is no suggestion that it could be carried out now or in the future, then perfect modal may be preferred. However, plain modal might be used too, and then we must understand from the context that it is referring only to a past action.

Edit: the above is assuming that the expected action did not happen. Perfect modal is less likely to be used when it did. In that case we would say, e.g., "I thought you would go (and, indeed, you did go)".

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