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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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Your interpretation is the correct one.

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Thank you.p, Mr. GPY. On second thoughts, I think that Chinese teacher also has a point. Can "should have" here alternatively indicate the speaker didn't think of the fact that the other guy is tired at that time and forced him to continue to do the work?

zuotengdazuoCan "should have" here alternatively indicate the speaker didn't think of the fact that the other guy is tired at that time and forced him to continue to do the work?

I don't think that interpretation is likely. The feel of the wording goes against it.

GPYI don't think that interpretation is likely. The feel of the wording goes against it.

It did just occur to me, though, that you may want to check separately with an AmE speaker (any looking at this thread?). I know that in certain senses "shall/should" is not used as much in AmE, or is used a bit differently, and I cannot say with 100% certainty that the "I should have thought" = "I would have thought" meaning is known in AmE. (I am a BrE speaker.)

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GPY
GPYI don't think that interpretation is likely. The feel of the wording goes against it.

It did just occur to me, though, that you may want to check separately with an AmE speaker (any looking at this thread?). I know that in certain senses "shall/should" is not used as much in AmE, or is used a bit differently, and I cannot say with 100% certainty that the "I should have thought" = "I would have thought" meaning is known in AmE. (I am a BrE speaker.)

Thank you for your reply. I have brought this same question up to an American English teacher, who says my interpretation makes good sense to her except that she doesn't think the sentence in question has anything to do with "volition".

zuotengdazuoThank you for your reply. I have brought this same question up to an American English teacher, who says my interpretation makes good sense to her except that she doesn't think the sentence in question has anything to do with "volition".

Yes, I agree. It does not particularly convey the idea that "the other guy is doing the work of his own volition, not being forced". I overlooked that in my original reply.

Hi. GPY. Can we continue with this thread? I knew for the example in the op "would have pp=should have pp" and "would have thought" means the fact was different from what the speaker had thought/expect . But in my example in the op, "would have thought" is used with "the first person/the second person". I have come across these following sentences. I just want to know if the meaning still stands when "would have thought" is used with "the third person" (as the subject)?

1. Years before, he had so insulted her that now Miss Pitty never spoke of him except in guarded whispers and with so great reticence that a stranger would have thought the honest old lawyer a murderer, at the least.

2. Brienne caught him before he could fall. Her arm was all gooseflesh, clammy and chilled, but she was strong, and gentler than he would have thought.

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 that the White Fawn would have taught Merrett to stay clear of outlaw wenches.

I think if the subject is the third person, the meaning of "would have thought" changes. It is just past form of "would think", used to soften the speaker's assertion in order that the assertion is not too blunt. The purpose is to save face in case the assertion proves to be incorrect.

What do you think?

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(1) is the author imagining a stranger's reaction. I see (2) and (3) as the "contrary to expectations" usage.

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