0

Because of heavy snow, my car should have gotten stuck.

What does this sentence mean? When I looked for should have pp, I found this:

Should have + past participle 1: Should have + past participle can mean something that would have been a good idea, but that you didn't do it. It's like giving advice about the past when you say it to someone else, or regretting what you did or didn't do when you're talking about yourself.

We can also use should have + past participle to talk about something that, if everything is normal and okay, we think has already happened. But we're not certain that everything is fine, so we use 'should have' and not the present perfect or past simple. It's often used with 'by now'. Should Have PP

But I am still not sure what the sentence means. Please help me.

1

In the context of this sentence 'should have' means that you expected something to happen, but it didn't. 'Heavy snow' does not refer to the actual weight of the snow but the amount of snow that fell. So:

Because of heavy snow, my car should have gotten stuck.

means

So much snow fell that I expected my car to be stuck, but it wasn't.

  • Thanks. Then how about "They should have had hard time."? Does it mean I expected they had a hard time but they did not? – Mango Gummy Jun 19 '18 at 2:09
  • @Mango Gummy Taken by itself, without any other text to give it context, this sentence could possibly mean at least three different things, depending on the voice inflection of the speaker. 1. I thought that they were going to have a hard time, but they didn't. 2. "I was hoping they would have a hard time, but they didn't." 3. "They had a hard time and it was what they deserved." English is a fun language. – James Jun 19 '18 at 2:34
  • Thanks again. Could you please explain more the 3rd meaning(They had a hard time and it was what they deserved)? I did not know that should have past particle can mean it. Is it related to the above explanation in my question, "something that, if everything is normal and okay, we think has already happened."? – Mango Gummy Jun 19 '18 at 4:06
  • Sometimes the meaning of an English sentence is derived not just from the words that are spoken, but also from the emphasis or stress that is placed upon a word within that sentence, e.g. I tell some people not to go to a particular location because it has a bad reputation, but they ignore me and go there anyway. Later I am told that they had a hard time when they went there. It is quite possible that I might respond, "They should have had a hard time", with an emphasis on the word 'should'. This effectively means, "They deserved to have had a hard time because they ignored my warning." – James Jun 19 '18 at 10:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.