I am confused between

I should have a place to live


I should need a place to live

Can anyone explain difference between these sentences.

  • "I need a place to live" means approximately the same as "I should have a place to live." With 'should' in it, the second sentence makes no sense.
    – Kate Bunting
    Mar 30, 2019 at 20:23
  • TBH I can imagine using the second sentence meaning 'In the hypothetical scenario that you described, you would need to provide me with a place to live'. shall would probably work better in this case, though; as it is, the sentence sounds archaic and barely understandable
    – crizzis
    Apr 2, 2019 at 20:05
  • Some more detail about what you think these sentences mean. Where did you find them? Why the difference between have and need is hard for you. Is there any more context.
    – James K
    Apr 3, 2019 at 16:07

1 Answer 1


Simplifying the sentences:

I have a pen (indicates possession)

I need a pen (implies that I don't have a pen, but I strongly want one)

The word "should" has a range of meanings, so your sentences are a little ambiguous, but "I should have a place to live" could express the speaker's opinion that "having a place to live" is a good thing, or desirable. This is a common meaning of "should".

"I should need a place to live" is harder to interpret with the common meaning of should, since "not having but strongly wanting" is not desirable. So it could be understood in one of the rarer meanings of "should". Perhaps this indicates a subjunctive, as in "I should need a place to live, if I were to move to Yorkshire." That is rather dated and formal, and the context may suggest a different interpretation of "should".

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