What is the difference, if any, between the following:

  1. the building materials should be stored on pallets

  2. the building materials will be stored on pallets

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  • Thanks for your reply, that really makes it clear now. – Andy Warren Apr 17 at 18:47

There is an important difference. "Should" implies necessity or expression of an opinion. The building materials need to be stored there at some point in the future and there may be bad consequences if they are not.

"Will" implies that in the future the building materials are going to be stored there as part of a plan.

Please see the following as a reference, which I quote below

In this case, "Should" here is being used

to give an opinion, to make a suggestion, express a preference or an idea.

and "Will" here is being used

to show the future

  • I would say that "should" is milder than necessity. To me it implies a recommendation: it is not essential to store them on pallets but it would be better if you did. Standards documents generally use "shall" for mandatory requirements to avoid ambiguity. – James Random Apr 17 at 21:27
  • @JamesRandom Neither should nor will implies necessity: should refers to what ought to be done (in the speaker's opinion), and will refers to what is required to be done - but neither relates specifically to necessity. – TrevorD Apr 17 at 22:40
  • 1
    @JamesRandom There is a third version, which really does imply necessity or compulsion. It is "Building materials must be stored on pallets". This is either a practical necessity in that non-compliance will result in damage of some sort or a legal or contractural obligation possibly resulting in someone losing their job in the event of non-compliance. – BoldBen Apr 18 at 6:10
  • @JamesRandom I tried to edit my explanation as to incorporate both ideas because "Should" could have multiple meanings in the context. – Karlomanio Apr 18 at 15:00

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