what does it mean when I use "should" with adjectives like (strange, odd, funny, typical, or interesting)?

here are some examples:

it's strange that he should be late. He is usually on time.

I was surprised that he should say such a thing.

1 Answer 1


Should - Definition:

Used as an auxiliary verb, to express a conditional or contingent act or state, or as a supposition of an actual fact; also, to express moral obligation (see shall); e. g.: they should have come last week; if I should go; I should think you could go. v. Used to form the future tense of the subjunctive mood, usually in the first person.

Should can be used in many ways, but in the examples you provided, "should" means that the speaker had expectations based on the past that were subverted by present actions. For further context, I've modified your examples to include what "should" implies in parentheses: "It's strange that he should be late (because he usually isn't.)" and "I was surprised that he should say such a thing (because he's normally kind)."

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