It was a case in which I paid money and I got more change than I should have. (For example I gave him a banknote of 50 Euro while I have to pay 41 euros and he gave me 10 instead 9 euros). Then what is the difference between the following sentences:

"I should be given 9 euros but you gave me 10 euros."

"I had to get 9 euros but you gave me 10 euros."

What are the difference between these two sentences?


2 Answers 2


Why are you saying I should be given etc.? Most people would use an active voice:

You should have given me 9 euros instead of 10.

"I should be given" is not contextually right here. Maybe you should be given a pay raise [rise, in BrE], but not "I should be given some amount in change" said to an actual person.

Get means many things, including receive. So, here, in the passive voice and in the past, it would be:

- "I should have got [AmE: gotten] 9 euros [from you] but you gave me 10".

Active voice, present: "I should get 9 euros from you, not 10".

"I had to get" is the past of "I must get" and but does not sound right here. In all honesty, were this said in the present, it would be "I must get [receive] 9 euros from you" which is odd. We would use should here.

There are contexts where you might say: I must get 1,000 pounds from you now. The past would then be: I had to get 1,000 pounds from you yesterday.

[please note: I am passing on giving the technical names for these usages].


Should X means the correct thing to do or happen is X, even though the reality may not match.

Has/have/had to X means that X is required to do Y in the sense of obligation - however, Y might not necessarily be the correct thing to do.

I should walk to the store to get exercise (walking is a correct way to get exercise)

I have to walk to the store because my car is broken (I have no other choice but to walk, notion of correctness is not entering the conversation)

Since you were given the wrong amount of Euros, you want to use should as "correctness" is part of its meaning, whereas this is not true with has/have/hd to.

If you are required to get money from this person, like if it's part of a job or legal requirement, then had to get would be OK. It's correct that you get the money, but you also must get the money.

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