0

A: I'm sorry I didn't attend the meeting yesterday.
B: You _______ have told me you weren't coming for the meeting.

a. might
b. should
c. both a and b

1
  • 1
    Hi Kirollos. Welcome to ELL! Feb 10, 2022 at 10:57

3 Answers 3

0

We would usually say, "coming to the meeting", not "coming for the meeting".

Yes - you can use either word.

Using might suggests that the speaker feels a little hurt.
Using should suggests the speaker is a little angry.

2
  • @Lambie: I'm not sure what you're saying, but If it changes anything, I was answering the question as it was before it was edited. Feb 17, 2022 at 0:05
  • @Lambie: Good point. I've scrapped that line. Feb 17, 2022 at 1:57
0

Either option can be used, but they have quite different tones.

"You should have told me" is clearly an admonition, a reproach. The person did not tell you, but you think they ought to have told you. You are upset that they did not.
When spoken, no word in this sentence would be given any particular emphasis.

"You might have told me" is, in a strictly literal interpretation, not an admonition. It is a simple statement: It is possible that you could have told me. It is also possible that you could have not told me. Either one could be true.
But in actual usage, this sentence is also an admonition. When spoken we often emphasize the word "told:" You might have TOLD me. It would not be emphasized or set off in any way if the sentence was written down, but when reading the sentence it would be understood that the person was saying it in a huffy or offended manner.

Despite the literal interpretation of the two sentences, usually a person saying "might" is more upset/frustrated/offended than if they used "should." It is a more passive-aggressive thing to say. But if the person is very upset then they might use "should" again! It all depends on the context, and in particular the tone and volume the speaker uses.

3
  • In British English, "You might've told me!" is synonymous with "should have", but actually expresses more annoyance than "should have". Feb 17, 2022 at 3:17
  • @Darth, it is the same in American English. That's what I meant in my last paragraph.
    – randomhead
    Feb 17, 2022 at 3:31
  • I've never heard it used in the US, but I acknowledge that I don't live everywhere in the US all at once. And yeah, I didn't read thoroughly before responding. I misread what you said as "might is strictly literal" and went "no!" Feb 17, 2022 at 3:33
0

This depends entirely on what kind of english you're using and what you mean.

In the USA, "You might have told me" would only be used to acknowledge that B is possibly in the wrong, that B may have been informed but don't remember it if they were.

In the UK, "You might have told me!" can be used to mean the same thing as "you should have told me", except with more frustration that you failed to do it.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .