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I am seeking some clarity on the usage of "should" as a conditional verb. I saw the following sentence online and could not figure out what exactly the person was saying.

scenario: a user posted this sentence online

"My apology if I should change the default setting without consulting the forum admin"

  1. as the user was indicating a past event, the sentence should be a past hypothetical. Thus, the correct sentence should be "My apology if I should have changed the default setting without consulting the forum admin" since the user had changed something without consulting anyone. Is this correct ?

  2. if the user intended to use "should" as an auxiliary verb for emphasis, the user could have and should have used "did" as in "My apology if I did change the default setting without consulting the forum admin" "should" is not the correct auxiliary verb for emphasis. Is this correct ?

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"My apology if I should change the default setting without consulting the forum admin"

That is basically a British form which means:

"My apology if I were to change the default setting without consulting the forum admin".

I would want My apologies, but the should change is another way of saying:If I were to change.

If I should try to leave too early, please say something to me.

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If I were to try to leave too early, please say something to me.

Should expresses volition or prediction in British English.

should in British English

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It's hard to know what you're trying to say.

If you're trying to say you should have changed the setting first and then consulted the admin, then these are good ways to say that:

My apologies if I should have changed the default setting before consulting the forum admin.

My apologies if I should have tried changing the default setting first.

If you're trying to say you should have consulted first and then changed the default setting, then this is the way to write it:

My apologies if I did change the default setting before consulting a forum admin.

My apologies if I changed the default setting before consulting a forum admin.

In any of these sentences, you could replace My apologies with I apologize.

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  • indeed, I also could not understand exactly what the original poster was trying to say (my question has been edited to reflect this). On the usage of "should", can you please clarify if it is correct that "should" cannot be used as an "emphasis auxiliary verb" for the second scenario in your answer. "do & did" are the only ones that are appropriate. Thank you.
    – B Chen
    Dec 28 '18 at 3:42

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