Not sure who’s working but this should be resolved.

Does that should be resolved part mean (1) that it has already been resolved in the past, or (2) that he is expecting or needing it to be resolved now in the present, or (3) that he is asking for it to be resolved at some point in the future?

Was its resolution completed in the past, or is it still happening now in the present, or will it happen the future?

Is it the done case, the doing now, or the yet to do case?

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  • 5
    It can mean all of those things. The sentence is ambiguous without any context. – Jason Bassford Mar 21 at 5:25

It can mean multiple things, and you have to judge it from context.

It can mean that the person thinks it has been resolved:

You're still having problems logging in? That should be resolved, I just deployed the new build.

It can mean they think that someone ought to fix it:

You're still having problems logging in? That should be resolved, we can't have people unable to log in.

It can mean that there is a specific point in time they expect it to be resolved by:

You're still having problems logging in? That should be resolved by about 5pm, we're working on it now.


It simply means that the person wants it to be resolved, either in the present or near future.

  • It can also mean that they thought it had already been resolved, but are expressing doubt. – SamBC Mar 22 at 12:06
  • @SamBC the he would have used "should have been resolved" – Bella Swan Mar 22 at 12:16
  • That is not my experience. They are effectively using resolved as an adjective in such cases, not as a verb. – SamBC Mar 22 at 12:24

To mean:

  • past: ...this should have been resolved

  • present: ...this is being resolved

  • future: ...this should be resolved

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