Joseph puts a gun to the man's head, and looks to Angelo.

Joseph: Should I shoot him?

Joseph is basically asking: Do you want me to kill him? - Is that conveyed through "Should I shoot him?"? or does it more translate to "Do you think I should shoot him?"?

  • You are writing this story - it's up to you to decide what the characters mean by what they say! Feb 24, 2021 at 9:31
  • [Does it translate more to x]
    – Lambie
    May 2, 2021 at 22:44

2 Answers 2


This really depends on how he emphasizes his question. If he sounds confused/uncertain with emphasis on "should", then he is pondering whether he should indeed do this and asking for the other's opinion. If he sounds direct/controlled, then it is like you say, "Do you want me to kill him?"

So, if you want that distinction without ambiguity, I'd use the examples that you came up with.


I think it depends on how Joseph conveys it. If you say:

Joseph shouted: SHOULD I SHOOT HIM?

Then it basically means: Do you want me to kill him?

but you can also say:

Joseph asked: Should/shall I shoot him

it gives another impression

  • Can you expand on what the impression is that the second conveys?
    – mdewey
    Mar 31, 2021 at 15:04
  • @mdewey I think not a very different impression than the first, but a bit softer. Apr 1, 2021 at 8:24

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